2019 Kentucky Derby Jockey Assignments, Facts and Trends

Jockey Mike Smith aboard Kentucky Derby winner Justify - Coady Photography It is often said that jockeys are unable to make horses run beyond their abilities, but the difference between victory and defeat can come down to the skills of a rider in saving ground, timing moves correctly and riding hard to the finish line. That’s why the 20 jockeys who will compete in the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) include the most talented riders in North America. Leading [...]

Three Takeaways from the 2019 Santa Anita Derby

Roadster winning the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo In a much-anticipated showdown between two of trainer Bob Baffert’s top Kentucky Derby hopefuls, the lightly-raced Roadster got the better of his favored stablemate Game Winner in a thrilling battle to the finish line of the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park. After taking some time to analyze the results and study the replay, here are my three main takeaways from [...]

Sparky Ville Wears Down Dessman in San Vicente Stakes

Sparky Ville winning the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) - © Benoit Photo Over a wet-fast, sealed racetrack at Santa Anita that was slower and significantly less speed-favoring than usual, Sparky Ville became a graded stakes winner by out-dueling two heavily-bet Bob Baffert trainees in the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes (gr. II). Sparky Ville’s chances were aided when the 7-10 favorite Coliseum and his stablemate Dessman broke slowly at the start of the seven-furlong sprint and subsequently rushed [...]

Year in Review: Who Was the Top Jockey in 2018?

Jockey Mike Smith aboard Kentucky Derby winner Justify - Coady Photography It seems like a simple question: Who was the top jockey in North America in 2018? By basic metrics such as overall wins and earnings, the answer is similarly simple: Irad Ortiz, Jr. As of December 17th, the 26-year-old rider leads all jockeys by wins (336) and by purse earnings ($27,291,607), making him the favorite to be awarded the 2018 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey. However, looking [...]

2yos Take to the Turf in Aqueduct’s Atlantic Beach Stakes

Aqueduct (Coglianese Photo) As the saying goes, a Kentucky Derby winner can come from anyone, so as we head into winter with roughly six months remaining until the first Saturday in May, it could pay to keep an eye on every stakes race of significance open to the three-year-olds of 2019—even stakes races on turf. One example is Saturday’s $100,000 Atlantic Beach Stakes at Aqueduct, a six-furlong sprint scheduled to be run over the outer turf course. Chances [...]

Top 10 Highlights of the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships

Enable winning the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. I) - Coady Photography No matter how you slice it, the 2018 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs was a clear-cut success. Total wagering may have been down slightly from 2017, but the figures were still strong overall, and the racing was nothing less than top-notch. A decision to move all of the juvenile races to Friday (while transferring the historic Distaff back to Saturday) was an inspired idea, giving the two-year-olds [...]

Accelerate Completes Sensational Season with Breeders’ Cup Classic Victory

Accelerate winning the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) - Coady Photography Long ago, there was some doubt about Accelerate’s ability to handle 1 ¼ miles in top company. He was more of a miler, or so the thinking went; a talented horse no doubt, but not exactly a superstar. But Accelerate has proven to be a classic example of a horse who requires time to mature and reach his peak, and now that he's reached his peak, his [...]

Game Winner Gamely Wins the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

Game Winner winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) - Coady Photography He came, he ran, he conquered. When the dust settled after the running of the November 2nd Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, no one could deny that the unbeaten Game Winner was the best horse on the day, and indeed, the most accomplished two-year-old seen in North America this year. A stoutly-bred son of Candy Ride out of an A.P. Indy mare, Game Winner’s [...]

Jaywalk Cruises to Victory in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies

Jaywalk winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) - Coady Photography Once upon a time, an increasingly long time ago, a filly named Jaywalk demonstrated that she is indeed mortal by finishing second in her debut at Monmouth Park. But since that day in June, Jaywalk has looked less and less like a typical racehorse and more and more like a top-notch talent in the making. And on November 2nd at Churchill Downs, Jaywalk brought her game to [...]

Game Winner vs. Mind Control: Who’s More Likely to Win the Kentucky Derby?

Mind Control winning the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga - Photo by Adam Coglianese Photography On Labor Day, the summer race meets at Del Mar and Saratoga came to a climax with the running of the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) and the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I), the first two Grade 1 events of the year for two-year-old males. As a result, Game Winner (who prevailed in the Del Mar Futurity) and Mind Control (a determined winner [...]