How to Bet the Stephen Foster Handicap

Backyard Heaven winning the Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) - Coady Photography An excellent 11-race card is on tap on Saturday for the second “Downs After Dark” this spring at legendary Churchill Downs.  Five graded stakes events are slated over the course of the evening headlined by the Grade 1 Stephen Foster. The mile and an eighth race for three year olds and upward is #6 Backyard Heaven’s race to lose. The son of Tizway got off to a [...]

Backyard Heaven Looks Tough in Stephen Foster Handicap

Backyard Heaven winning the Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) - Coady Photography It’s certainly possible that someone could upset #6 Backyard Heaven in Saturday’s $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) going nine furlongs at Churchill Downs. But just because it’s possible doesn’t mean that it’s likely, and indeed, Backyard Heaven looks so good on paper that he’s been installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite despite the fact that he’s facing a quality field of eight rivals. With just [...]

Triple Crown Veterans Face Off in Pimlico Special

Irish War Cry winning the Wood Memorial - Photo by Viola Jasko/Coglianese Photography One day prior to hosting the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Pimlico Racecourse will put on a stakes-packed Friday card that includes the $300,000 Pimlico Special (gr. III), a 9.5-furlong race that will pit veterans of the 2017 Triple Crown trail against a few accomplished older rivals. In terms of overall achievements, no horse in the race can boast quite the same level of form as [...]

Is Irish War Cry Vulnerable in the Hal’s Hope Stakes?

Irish War Cry winning the Wood Memorial - Photo by Viola Jasko/Coglianese Photography On a quiet weekend of racing, the $100,000 Hal’s Hope Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park promises to provide handicappers with an intriguing challenge and an opportunity to make a big score. Held at one mile around one turn, the Hal’s Hope has attracted a blend of sprinters stretching out in distance and two-turn runners cutting back from route races. Throw in a successful turf [...]

Handicapping 101: Playing Pedigrees on Muddy Tracks

Always Dreaming winning the 2017 Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography When handicapping major races like the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of data available to help you make your selections. Fractional times? Workouts? Running styles? Pedigrees? Jockey assignments? Post positions? Obscure statistics? It can be hard to weigh all of these factors and come up with confident bets. With so much information available, it can seem counter-intuitive to toss most of [...]