2018 Kentucky Derby: A Horse-By-Horse Recap

Justify winning the Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography The results of the 144th Kentucky Derby are in the history books, and it was a day for records to broken. Record rainfall. Record wagering. The demise of the fabled “Apollo Curse.” Throw in the fact that favored Justify delivered with a huge victory, and you have an unforgettable Kentucky Derby. But the Preakness and Belmont Stakes are still to come, so Triple Crown season is far from over. With an [...]

Analyzing the Late Pick 4 on Santa Anita Derby Day

The big day in thoroughbred racing spans from coast to coast on Saturday and that includes a 13-race card in Southern California headlined by the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. The final race is an Arabian event, so the late Pick 4 commences with the Santa Anita Derby in Race 9, includes the Grade 2 Royal Heroine and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks and ends with an optional claimer at a mile and an eighth over the lawn in [...]

Experience Versus Potential in the Santa Anita Derby

Bolt d'Oro (left) and McKinzie battle to the wire in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) - © Benoit Photo We’ve already seen some memorable showdowns on the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby, but arguably the best of all is still to come in Saturday’s $1 million Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park. Although the race drew seven starters, all eyes will be on #6 Justify and #3 Bolt d’Oro, who are currently ranked first and [...]

Bravazo Finishes Fast in Risen Star Upset

Bravazo winning the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) at Fair Grounds - Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir Let’s face it—it’s just doesn’t feel like Kentucky Derby prep season if the Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas doesn’t have a horse in the mix, which is why you have to be pleased by the results of Saturday’s $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) at Fair Grounds. The 8.5-furlong race offered 50 Kentucky Derby qualification points to the [...]

Horizontal Plays on Risen Star Stakes Day at Fair Grounds

Principe Guilherme winning an allowance race at Fair Grounds (Hodges Photography) Fair Grounds takes center stage on Saturday afternoon as the stakes laden card in Louisiana is headlined by the $400,000 Risen Star. The mile and a sixteenth event is the first prep race that offers competitors 50 qualifying points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” leaderboard. The stakes action over the twelve-race slate gets started in Race 4 with the $50,000 Colonial Power and concludes with [...]

Keying Instilled Regard in the Risen Star Stakes

Instilled Regard winning the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds - Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir With 50 Kentucky Derby qualification points on the line, you can bet that the race for victory in Saturday’s $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) at Fair Grounds will be competitive and exciting. Ten horses have turned out to contest the 8.5-furlong event, which has been won in recent years by the future Breeders’ Cup Classic winners Gun Runner and [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 2/12/18

Mourinho (right) leads Combatant (white and black silks) into the homestretch of the Smarty Jones Stakes - Coady Photography Last Saturday, two horses listed in my weekly Kentucky Derby Top 10 competed in graded stakes races. One—Catholic Boy—was beaten a half-length in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III), an official prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The other—Nero—was beaten 3 ¼ lengths in the seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes (gr. II). While it would be [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 2/6/18

Audible winning the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park - Photo by Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photography It was a very busy weekend on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, with three official prep races and a seemingly endless number of maiden and allowance races giving fans plenty to analyze and consider. Most eyes were focused on the stakes races, which saw Audible score a convincing win in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II), Avery Island rebound with [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 1/30/18

Bolt d'Oro - © Benoit Photo. In what could be considered the calm before the storm, very little happened last weekend on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, but with three major prep races scheduled for February 3rd, there’s no doubt that the action is about to heat up quickly. The upcoming races are the $250,000 Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, the $350,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, and the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 1/22/18

Good Magic winning the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Photo by Carson Denis/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) On a quiet weekend without any official Kentucky Derby prep races, the biggest news came from Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, where the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Good Magic made his much-anticipated return to the work tab. The son of Curlin went three furlongs in a bullet :36.95 as he prepares for an undetermined seasonal debut expected to come in early [...]