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 [...]

Kentucky Derby Make the Case: Vekoma and Tax

Vekoma winning the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) - Keeneland Photo Not a lot of love is flowing towards Bluegrass Stakes winner Vekoma and Wood Memorial runner-up Tax. Nobody’s talking about either horse having a shot to win the May 4 Kentucky Derby. That might be an issue because both appear well-suited for decent Derby runs. First up? Vekoma. After making the case for and against Vekoma to win the Run for the Roses, we’ll turn our attention [...]

Pros and Cons of the Weekend Derby Prep Winners

Mucho Gusto winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) - © Benoit Photo Last weekend was a big one on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with three major prep races being held across the country, but if we’re perfectly honest, the results—while intriguing—came up a little disappointing. A sloppy, sealed track led to the scratch of highly-regarded Nolo Contesto from the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita, which allowed Mucho Gusto to romp [...]

Tax Rallies Inside to Win Rough Running of Withers Stakes

Tax winning the Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography/Joe Labozzetta It was a messy race from start to finish, but when the dust settled it was the 2-1 favorite Tax who emerged victorious in the $250,000 Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, gamely rallying up the rail to prevail in a three-way photo finish. It all began when the gates opened and the seven starters were dispatched to a rather ragged start. [...]

Saratoga 2yos Analysis: Chad Brown On the Rise

The fourth weekend of the Saratoga meet featured a couple more graded stakes races for juveniles, including one that was essentially the definition of a closer-favoring race. The action kicked off on Saturday with the $200,000 Adirondack Stakes (gr. II), a 6 ½-furlong sprint for fillies contested over a drying-out main track labeled “good.” The track was a bit tiresome as a result, so you can imagine what happened when race favorite Lyrical Lady and longshot Mucho Amor wound up [...]