Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Top 5: Never Too Early

Hop Kat winning his debut at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography The 2019 Triple Crown season isn’t over yet, but surely it isn’t too early to be thinking about 2-year-olds and the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, right? Forgive me if I’m jumping the gun, but the juvenile racing action will be heating up before we know it, and I already have my eyes on a few promising colts who could make some noise during the summer and fall. [...]

How is Keeler Johnson Playing the 2019 Kentucky Derby?

Omaha Beach (right) holds off Game Winner (left) in the Rebel Stakes (G2) - Coady Photography While I’m still plotting out my wagering strategy for the 2019 Kentucky Derby, I’ve essentially nailed down my overall opinions of each horse and have determined whether I’ll be using them on my tickets. The Tuesday morning post position draw helped clarify my position on a few bubble contenders, including War of Will and Spinoff. I’ve sorted the 20 horses into four [...]

Which Horses Should You Bet in the 2019 Kentucky Derby?

The field rounds the first turn of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography We’re less than 24 hours away from the 2019 Kentucky Derby post position draw, but with the field essentially set, it isn’t too early to start pondering betting strategies. But which horses should you bet on the first Saturday in May? That depends on what you’re looking for. Are you searching for the most likely winner? The most likely [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: The Final Rankings

Omaha Beach winning the Arkansas Derby (G1) - Coady Photography The major workouts are complete, most of the contenders have arrived at Churchill Downs and just five days remain until the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby. I’ve been sharing my Kentucky Derby Top 10 rankings every week since the beginning of November, when Game Winner, Improbable, Code of Honor and Roadster, comprised four of my top five horses. Six months later they still rank among the main names in [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Omaha Beach Stays on Top

Code of Honor wins Fountain of Youth Stakes (Coglianese Photos/Leslie Martin) Now that the Kentucky Derby prep races are complete, it’s safe to say morning training sessions have moved to the forefront of everyone’s attention as the Derby draws nearer. I haven’t seen anything in the various workouts and gallops to strongly shift my opinions of the top contenders, but that could change over the next week or so, as the 20 Derby candidates wrap up their serious [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Contender Birth Dates and Historical Trends

Omaha Beach wins the Arkansas Derby (Coady Photo/Oaklawn) Based on their birth dates, it appears that the 2019 Kentucky Derby contenders are skewing a bit younger than usual this year. You can usually count on there being a handful of January-born contenders, along with a few born in May, while the majority will have been born during the February/March/April window. But 2019 is shaping up to be a bit different. Not a single top 25 Derby contender was [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Game Winner Remains On Top

Omaha Beach (right) holds off Game Winner (left) in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) - Coady Photography Although he suffered the first defeat of his career last Saturday, the performance of Game Winner in the Rebel Stakes was sufficient for the champion colt to retain the top spot in my Kentucky Derby Top 10. Not surprisingly, Omaha Beach—the colt who gallantly conquered Game Winner—has secured a high ranking as well in his first week on my list. Game [...]

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: Omaha Beach

Omaha Beach (right) holds off Game Winner (left) in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) - Coady Photography It’s been a big year for War Front on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The 17-year-old Claiborne Farm stallion has already made headlines as the sire of two-time graded stakes winner War of Will, and on Saturday, War Front was back in the spotlight again when his son Omaha Beach fought to a valiant victory in the second division of [...]

Six Horses That Could Take Bill Mott Back to the Derby

Hidden Scroll winning his debut at Gulfstream Park - Photo by Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography During a career that began in 1973, trainer Bill Mott has won a staggering 4,893 races, the seventh-highest total in the history of North American racing. Those victories include a Belmont Stakes, ten Breeders’ Cup events, and 448 other graded stakes races. It’s obvious why Mott is in the Hall of Fame. Yet for all his success, Mott has never won the Kentucky [...]