Godolphin Holds Strong Hand on Super Saturday at Meydan

Thunder Snow winning the 2018 Dubai World Cup - Coady Photography High-class racing action will kick off earlier than usual on Saturday thanks to a stakes-packed card at Meydan in Dubai that includes two Group 1 events. Billed as “Super Saturday,” these races serve as major steppingstones toward the March 30 Dubai World Cup program, and several prominent runners aiming for big races three weeks from now will be in action. First and foremost is Thunder Snow, who [...]

Is Knicks Go Vulnerable in the Sam F. Davis?

Knicks Go winning the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) - Keeneland Photo I don’t think anyone will deny that #3 Knicks Go was among the best two-year-olds of 2018, but that doesn’t mean that he’ll be unbeatable in Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs. Knicks Go will surely be favored in the 1 1/16-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race, but he’ll be making his first start in 2 ½ months [...]

Dubai Carnival Update: Walking Thunder Carries Derby Dreams for Dubai

Thunder Snow winning the 2018 Dubai World Cup - Coady Photography From the deserts of the Middle East to the bluegrass of Kentucky, who’s coming to Churchill Downs by way of Dubai? With 170 Kentucky Derby qualification points on the line in the March 30 UAE Derby (UAE-II) at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, we're bound to see one or two horses use the desert challenge as a springboard to Churchill Downs. Although no UAE Derby starter has ever [...]

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 [...]