Rating the 2019 Kentucky Derby Prep Races

Omaha Beach winning the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography As we head into the final round of Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races, now seems like a good time to look back at the 17 North American prep races already run this year and assign a rating to each one. My ratings—based on a scale of 1 to 5—attempt to blend the apparent strength of each race on paper with its potential [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: Mind Control

Mind Control winning the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga - Photo by Adam Coglianese Photography We’ve long known that Mind Control is a very talented colt over short distances, but on New Year’s Day he took an important step toward the 2019 Kentucky Derby by demonstrating that he can handle a mile and isn’t purely a sprinter. That was a bit of a question mark prior to Mind Control’s front-running victory in the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct, [...]

Mind Control Rebounds in Jerome Stakes

Mind Control winning the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct - Photo by Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography As usual, class prevailed in the $150,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct, with the 3-2 favorite Mind Control seizing the lead at the start and leading his five rivals on a merry chase for the remainder of the one-mile race. With Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in the saddle, Mind Control ran exactly as expected by the majority of bettors. The son of [...]

Why I’m Betting Mind Control in the Jerome Stakes

Mind Control winning the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga - Photo by Adam Coglianese Photography Judging from recent history, it takes a very specific type of horse to win the $150,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct, the first of four Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races being held at the New York track this year. Since the race was moved from April to January in 2013, favorites have dominated, winning five of six renewals while the lone [...]

Slow Track Affected Firenze Fire’s Final Time in Jerome Stakes

Firenze Fire winning the Jerome Stakes (NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Chelsea Durand It’s not every day that you see stakes-caliber horses record a time as slow as 1:42.88 for a mile, but that’s what happened in the $150,000 Jerome Stakes on Saturday, the first of Aqueduct’s 2018 prep races for the Kentucky Derby. On paper, the Jerome should not have been run that slow. After all, the odds-on favorite was Firenze Fire, a two-time graded stakes winner that won the prestigious [...]

Coltandmississippi Might Have an Edge in Jerome Stakes

Firenze Fire winning the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) - Photo courtesy of NYRA/Coglianese Photography In handicapping the $150,000 Jerome Stakes (gr. III) this Saturday at Aqueduct, the key to identifying the winner might not be finding the best horse, but the fittest horse. The one-mile Kentucky Derby prep race was originally scheduled to be run on January 1st, but was postponed due to cold weather and rescheduled for January 13th. This by itself could be enough to throw [...]

Will Firenze Fire Rebound in the Jerome Stakes?

Firenze Fire winning the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) - Photo courtesy of NYRA/Coglianese Photography Happy New Year! Aqueduct racetrack in New York isn’t wasting any time getting underway with their winter prep races for the 2018 Kentucky Derby—their series will kick off on January 1st with the $150,000 Jerome Stakes going a mile. The horse to beat is undoubtedly #5 Firenze Fire, who is by far the most accomplished horse in the field with wins in the Champagne Stakes [...]