Halfway through Saratoga, which jockeys are riding strongest?

With four weeks down and four still to come at the 2019 Saratoga summer meet, a handful of jockeys have reaped most of the victories.

Jockeys to watch (and wager on) at Saratoga

Jockey Mike Smith aboard Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Justify - Coady Photography Summer may have officially started June 21, but in the world of Thoroughbred racing, it doesn’t truly begin until Saratoga opens. The much-anticipated, high-class meet will open July 11, a week earlier than usual, which will delight racing fans and bettors who can’t get enough of the action at the Spa. Some of the top jockeys in North America will ride at the Saratoga meet, so [...]

Elate rebounds in Fleur de Lis Handicap

Elate winning the Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) - Coady Photography Very good horses are able to overcome adversity to win major races, and it’s safe to say Elate is a very good horse. The 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro had every excuse to lose the $250,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) on June 15 at Churchill Downs. She broke sluggishly from the gate, then wound up boxed in behind horses, unable to shift out for a clear run [...]

What has the last decade taught us about racing at Belmont Park?

Turf racing at Belmont Park - Photo by Coglianese Photography Recently I was thinking back on the unforgettable 3-year-old campaign of super filly Rachel Alexandra, and I had to shake my head at the thought that 10 years have passed since her sensational 2009 season. It seems like yesterday Rachel Alexandra was obliterating eventual grade 1 winners Malibu Prayer and Flashing by 19 1/4 lengths and 31 1/2 lengths, respectively, in the 2009 Mother Goose Stakes (G1) at [...]

Frontrunning Tactics Pays Off for Serengeti Empress in Kentucky Oaks

Serengeti Empress winning the Kentucky Oaks (G1) - Coady Photography A bold, frontrunning gambit paid off for Serengeti Empress in the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 3 at Churchill Downs, surprising many handicappers who were expecting anything but a gate-to-wire winner. A full field of 14 3-year-old fillies, many of them speedy frontrunners or pace-pressers, lined up to contest 145th running of the Kentucky Oaks, so a fast and contested pace was widely expected. But when [...]

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 [...]

Four Takeaways from the Arkansas Derby

Omaha Beach turns back Improbable in the Arkansas Derby (G1) - Coady Photography The final prep race for the 2019 Kentucky Derby produced a thrilling finish, as Omaha Beach and Improbable battled to the wire in a strong renewal of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park. Wet weather may have produced a sloppy, sealed track, but it did little to dampen the quality of the race. There’s a lot to digest, but my primary takeaways [...]

Tacitus Prevails in Roughly-Run Wood Memorial

Tacitus winning the Wood Memorial (gr. II) at Aqueduct - © NYRA/Coglianese Photography In one of the roughest races seen on the Road to the Kentucky Derby this winter, favored Tacitus emerged from a battle-weary field to win the $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct in hard-fought fashion. Chaos reigned during the run to the first turn, and even Tacitus did not emerge unscathed. A generally ragged start was made worse when Tax, breaking from the rail, [...]

Plus Que Parfait Rebounds in UAE Derby

Plus Que Parfait winning the UAE Derby - © Dubai Racing Club/Mathea Kelley After being soundly defeated in two Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races at Fair Grounds this winter, it seemed as though the Derby trail had come to an end for Plus Que Parfait. But his undaunted connections persevered and set their sights on another target—the $2 million UAE Derby (UAE-II) at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, offering 100 Kentucky Derby qualification points to the winner. And [...]