How is Keeler Johnson Playing the 2019 Kentucky Derby?

Omaha Beach (right) holds off Game Winner (left) in the Rebel Stakes (G2) - Coady Photography While I’m still plotting out my wagering strategy for the 2019 Kentucky Derby, I’ve essentially nailed down my overall opinions of each horse and have determined whether I’ll be using them on my tickets. The Tuesday morning post position draw helped clarify my position on a few bubble contenders, including War of Will and Spinoff. I’ve sorted the 20 horses into four [...]

Who is Running in the 2019 Kentucky Derby?

Morning line favorite Omaha Beach drew post #12 in the 2019 Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography Omaha Beach was shaping up to be the favorite for the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1), even beforethe Tuesday morning post position draw at Churchill Downs, but when the talented colt drew favorably in post position #12, his status as favorite was most assuredly cemented. Omaha Beach was the penultimate horse to be assigned a post position, and there was a 50-50 chance [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Jockey Assignments, Facts and Trends

Jockey Mike Smith aboard Kentucky Derby winner Justify - Coady Photography It is often said that jockeys are unable to make horses run beyond their abilities, but the difference between victory and defeat can come down to the skills of a rider in saving ground, timing moves correctly and riding hard to the finish line. That’s why the 20 jockeys who will compete in the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) include the most talented riders in North America. Leading [...]

Which Horses Should You Avoid Betting in the Kentucky Derby?

Plus Que Parfait wins the UAE Derby (DRC/Neville Hopwood) When it comes to handicapping the Kentucky Derby and playing complex wagers like the trifecta and superfecta, eliminating horses from consideration is often just as helpful as identifying the horses you like. Simply qualifying to the Derby is an accomplishment in and of itself, so it goes without saying that the 20 horses who will line up in the Churchill Downs starting gate are all talented individuals. But in [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Contender Birth Dates and Historical Trends

Omaha Beach wins the Arkansas Derby (Coady Photo/Oaklawn) Based on their birth dates, it appears that the 2019 Kentucky Derby contenders are skewing a bit younger than usual this year. You can usually count on there being a handful of January-born contenders, along with a few born in May, while the majority will have been born during the February/March/April window. But 2019 is shaping up to be a bit different. Not a single top 25 Derby contender was [...]

During Kentucky Derby Prep Season, Less is Often More

Possible Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach will have to break the "Smarty Jones Curse" in order to win the roses. Photo by Coady Photography While it used to be common for horses to employ busy prep schedules in advance of the Kentucky Derby, in recent years, Derby winners have been taking a “less is more” approach to their winter/spring racing action. Gone are the days when a Derby winner might run seven times as a 3-year-old prior to [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Who’s on the Bubble?

Anothertwistafate winning the El Camino Real Derby - © Vassar Photography/Shane Micheli How many qualification points will be required to run in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, and which horses will secure the last few slots in the starting gate? That’s the question everyone is asking now that the 2018-19 Road to the Kentucky Derby is complete, and the field of 20 horses is pretty much set. It would be set in stone ,except that there are still 19 [...]

Tacitus Prevails in Roughly-Run Wood Memorial

Tacitus winning the Wood Memorial (gr. II) at Aqueduct - © NYRA/Coglianese Photography In one of the roughest races seen on the Road to the Kentucky Derby this winter, favored Tacitus emerged from a battle-weary field to win the $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct in hard-fought fashion. Chaos reigned during the run to the first turn, and even Tacitus did not emerge unscathed. A generally ragged start was made worse when Tax, breaking from the rail, [...]

How to Bet the 2019 Wood Memorial

Tacitus winning the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) - Photo by SV Photography There are plenty of promising and accomplished runners to consider in Saturday’s $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct, 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race that has attracted eleven entrants. I’ve taken a look at the five morning line favorites and have divided them into two categories—“For,” containing the horses that I like best, and “Against,” featuring the short-priced runners that [...]

Three Takeaways from the Gotham Stakes

Haikal winning the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) - © Adam Coglianese Photography/Chelsea Durand The old phrase “pace makes the race” was demonstrated clearly in the $300,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) on March 3 at Aqueduct, won by the late-running Haikal in a driving finish. Indeed, it’s not a stretch to conclude that the outcome of the race was determined almost solely by the extraordinary pace of the one-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep event. On a day [...]