Picks and Plays for Saturday Stakes at Laurel Park

Late Night Pow Wow winning the Charles Town Oaks (gr. III) - Coady Photography The fields might be a bit on the small side, but four interesting stakes races are among the highlights of an action-packed day of racing scheduled for January 12th at Laurel Park. The card kicks off at 12:30 p.m. Eastern, with the first stakes race following an hour later. I’ve handicapped the four main attractions, and while finding value in small fields is challenging, [...]

2018-19 Road to the Kentucky Derby Year-End Review

The field rounds the first turn of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography With the running of the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun in Japan on December 19th, the final Kentucky Derby prep race of 2018 entered the history books, giving us an opportunity to look back on the season before the calendar turns over and we continue headlong toward the 2019 Derby. During the course of the primary Road to the Kentucky [...]

Talented 2yos Take Center Stage at Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs Scenic (SV Photography) With the 2019 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) looming on the distant horizon, Tampa Bay Downs will kick off their annual schedule of stakes races for young Derby and Oaks contenders with the Inaugural Stakes and Sandpiper Stakes on December 15th. These six-furlong sprints, one for colts and one for fillies, serve as stepping stones toward more significant two-turn tests at the Florida track in 2019, including as [...]

Seven Maiden Winners Face Off in Demoiselle Stakes

Aqueduct (Coglianese Photo) Looking for a wide-open race to handicap this weekend? Well, considering that none of the seven entrants in Saturday’s $250,000 Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct have won more than a maiden race, it could take a bit of skill to determine which of these lightly-raced fillies is most likely to prevail. And it’s important to get a feel for these fillies as soon as possible since the Demoiselle Stakes is a “Road to the Kentucky [...]

Filly Make Happy Earns Derby Qualification Points in Cattleya Sho

Tokyo Racecourse (Photo Courtesy of the JRA) If you haven’t already placed a bet on the “All Other Three-Year-Old Fillies” option in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1, maybe you need to open your wallet and reconsider, because against the odds a filly has already won a Kentucky Derby prep race. That victory came courtesy of Make Happy, who posted a convincing win in the November 24th Cattleya Sho at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan, earning 10 qualifications points on [...]

Early Impressions on the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Derby

The field rounds the first turn of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography With less than six months remaining until the 2019 Kentucky Derby, we’re about to enter what I like to consider the second stage of the qualification process. The first stage included the major Breeders’ Cup prep races such as the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) and American Pharoah Stakes (gr. I) and culminated with the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. [...]

Winx Bids for Historic Fourth Straight Cox Plate Victory

Winx - Photo: Australia Turf Club/Sky Racing. Twenty-eight consecutive victories. Most top-class horses don’t even run in that many races, let alone win that many races. To prevail in 28 consecutive races is an extraordinary feat, bordering on the unbelievable, which is why the seven-year-old Australian super mare Winx has gained an international reputation as one of the greatest racehorses of all time. All told, Winx has won 32 of her 38 starts, but she might never face a [...]

La Pelosa Ships In, Runs Away With Natalma Stakes

La Pelosa winning the Natalma Stakes (gr. I) at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo) La Pelosa has talent—that much has been clear since she won her debut back in May. And following a series of frustrating defeats in Great Britain, Godolphin Racing and trainer Charlie Appleby pulled off a major coup when they shipped La Pelosa to contest the Natalma Stakes (gr. I) at Woodbine and came away with a top-level prize. Not even breaking from post eleven in [...]

World Approval, Ribchester head Breeders’ Cup Mile

World Approval shows his class at a mile by winning the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga. Photo: Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher The Breeders’ Cup Mile history is full of classic trans-Atlantic battles, and it should be more of the same again at Del Mar on November 4th. Leading American horse World Approval, who has been revitalized since being switched to a mile, faces seven European-trained horses, including two with consistent group one form: Ribchester and Roly Poly. Godolphin’s Ribchester would [...]

Juvenile Turf a wide-open contest

Untamed Domain beats Hemp Hemp Hurray (obscured) in the Summer Stakes at Woodbine. Photo: Michael Burns   If you correctly pick the trifecta or superfecta for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, chances are you’ll get a very good payout. You’ll probably get good money just for the winner, for that matter, if the morning line is at all accurate. A very even 14-horse field is entered for the one-mile event, and the morning-line has eight of them at [...]