2019 Kentucky Derby: Keeler Johnson’s Morning Line Projection

Churchill Downs - Coady Photography In recent years post-time favorites in the Kentucky Derby have been starting at relatively short prices, especially when you consider the uncommonly large size of the annual Derby field. This has coincided with a historic streak of six consecutive winning favorites. Orb, who prevailed in the 2013 Derby at odds of 5.40-1, has been the only member of the current streak to start above 5-1. He’s been followed into the Derby winner’s circle [...]

Pick 4 Plays for Charles Town Classic Day

Lake Ponchatrain winning the Pink Ribbon Stakes at Charles Town - Coady Photography If you’re planning to watch and wager on the $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2) Saturday at Charles Town, I strongly recommend you tune in early to catch the numerous stakes races earlier on the card. Eight stakes races (the first at 2:17 p.m. ET) are scheduled for the afternoon, and they’re arranged in consecutively, without a single allowance or claiming race stuck in between. The [...]

Alwaysmining Stands Out in Federico Tesio Stakes

When six horses line up to contest the $125,000 Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park, it’s hard to imagine any outcome other than a resounding victory for #2 Alwaysmining. On paper the son of Stay Thirsty towers over the field and will be an overwhelming favorite to claim victory in the 1 1/8-mile race, which serves as a prep for the Preakness Stakes (G1) four weeks from now. Speed figures? Alwaysmining has fired off four straight 91+ BRIS speed ratings, [...]

How to Bet the 2019 Charles Town Classic

War Story - Photo by Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) The $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2) at Charles Town will be contested for the 11th time Saturday, and the previous ten renewals have produced some clear-cut clues to help us identify the most likely winner. Favorites have not been very successful in the Charles Town Classic, probably because the 1 1/8-mile race features three turns over a six-furlong bullring racetrack, which tends to produce a wild race from [...]

Mike Maker-Trained Runners Loom Large in Elkhorn Stakes

Zulu Alpha winning the Sycamore Stakes (G3) - Keeneland Photo Is it possible trainer Mike Maker could sweep the trifecta in Saturday’s $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes (G2) going 1 1/2 miles at Keeneland? I don’t think it’s a far-fetched notion. Certainly a victory would come as no surprise. Maker’s former claimer #10 Zulu Alpha seems to have forgotten how to lose, with four wins from his last five starts, including graded stakes triumphs in the Sycamore Stakes (G3), [...]

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 [...]

How to Bet Keeneland’s Lexington Day All-Stakes Pick 4

Rushing Fall winning the Jessamine Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland. Photo: Keeneland/Coady Photography The second Saturday of the 2019 Keeneland spring meet features another action-packed afternoon of high-class racing, including the Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) and the Lexington Stakes (G3). Those much-anticipated events comprise the last two legs of an all-stakes Pick 4 that has the potential to yield a nice payoff, but only if you can identify the winners of the Ben Ali Stakes (G3) and the [...]

Will Escape Clause Upset the Apple Blossom Handicap?

Midnight Bisou (far right) edging Elate (far left) in the Azeri Stakes - Coady Phototgraphy There are only six fillies and mares entered in Sunday’s $750,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at Oaklawn Park, but I’d argue that you won’t find a higher-quality field anywhere in the country this weekend. Five graded stakes winners, two grade 1 winners, and a two-time Canadian classic winner are among the entrants, which is why—despite what the tote board might try to tell [...]

Top Contenders Tough to Split in Arkansas Derby

Omaha Beach winning the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography The tricky part of handicapping the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on Saturday at Oaklawn Park isn’t identifying the top contenders. That part is easy. The challenging aspect is splitting them, so your wagers will yield a reasonable return on investment. #1 Improbable, #3 Omaha Beach and #11 Long Range Toddy are the obvious favorites in this 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep [...]

Why I’m Betting Anothertwistafate in the Lexington Stakes

Anothertwistafate winning the El Camino Real Derby - © Vassar Photography/Shane Micheli When ten horses line up to contest Saturday’s $200,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, the one sure bet is that I’ll be all-in with my support of #4 Anothertwistafate. The 1 1/16-mile race serves as a final, desperate qualifier for the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1), and offers 20 qualifications points to the winner. Those points alone are unlikely to yield a spot in the starting gate, but [...]