Formidable Challengers stand between Enable and Arc three-peat

Can a talented challenger take down Enable in her bid for a third win in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe? We'll find out October 6.

Royal Ascot: Spot plays for Day 4

Racing at Royal Ascot - Photo by Horsephotos.com The penultimate day of racing at the 2019 Royal Ascot meet features four more group stakes races, including a high-quality renewal of the Coronation Stakes (G1). Favorites have struggled during the first three days of the meet, perhaps in part because of the soft ground, but with the course drying out, the action might be a bit more predictable Friday. Let’s dig in and come up with a few spot [...]

Can Japan challenge in the Belmont Derby and Belmont Oaks?

Master Fencer galloping at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography The New York Racing Association announced Wednesday the Japan-based 3-year-olds Master Fencer and Jodie will compete in the $1 million Belmont Derby (G1) and the $750,000 Belmont Oaks (G1), respectively. The Derby and the Oaks, a pair of 1 1/4-mile turf tests scheduled for July 6 at Belmont Park, have quickly risen in prominence since their creation in 2014. The races have attracted high-quality challengers from Europe, but Master [...]

Looking for longshots in the 2019 Epsom Derby

They call it the Derby for a reason—it’s the father of all Derbys, the race that started it all way back in 1780. Officially called the Investec Derby (G1) and held over 1 1/2 miles at Epsom, the great race has been dominated in recent years by Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has conditioned six winners since 2001. In his quest to secure a record-equaling seventh win in the Derby, Aidan O’Brien will send out seven of the 13 entrants [...]

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 Profile: Master Fencer

The recent confirmation that Japan’s Master Fencer will contest the 2019 Kentucky Derby has added a bit of international intrigue to the Run for the Roses. Master Fencer will be just the third Japan-based runner to compete in the Derby, and he’ll be making history as the first Derby starter bred in Japan. His participation will naturally provide a challenge for handicappers, since it’s difficult to determine how his form compares to that of the more clearly established Derby contenders [...]

Der Flug Wins Final Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby Prep Race

The Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby reached its conclusion with the Fukuryu Stakes at Nakayama Racecourse on March 31, though it remains to be seen whether the four-race series will produce a starter for the 2019 Kentucky Derby. Eight horses lined up to contest the 1,800-meter race, though with the well-regarded Derma Louvre on the road for the UAE Derby (UAE-II) and last month’s Hyacinth Stakes winner Oval Ace absent from the action, the Fukuryu field was a bit [...]

Kentucky Derby, Oaks Candidates Face Off in Japan’s Hyacinth Stakes

Tokyo Racecourse (Photo courtesy of the Japan Racing Association) If you’re a forward-looking handicapper already anticipating major spring races like the UAE Derby, Kentucky Derby, and Kentucky Oaks, then I encourage you to stay up late on Saturday night and check out the Hyacinth Stakes in Japan. Held over a metric mile at Tokyo Racecourse, the Hyacinth (which technically takes place at 12:25 a.m. Eastern on Sunday Morning) serves as the third leg of the Japan Road to [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]