Kentucky Derby, Oaks Candidates Face Off in Japan’s Hyacinth Stakes

Tokyo Racecourse (Photo courtesy of the Japan Racing Association) If you’re a forward-looking handicapper already anticipating major spring races like the UAE Derby, Kentucky Derby, and Kentucky Oaks, then I encourage you to stay up late on Saturday night and check out the Hyacinth Stakes in Japan. Held over a metric mile at Tokyo Racecourse, the Hyacinth (which technically takes place at 12:25 a.m. Eastern on Sunday Morning) serves as the third leg of the Japan Road to [...]

Spot Plays for Risen Star Day at Fair Grounds

Synchrony winning the 2018 Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. III) - Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr. Planning to watch and wager on the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) this Saturday at Fair Grounds? Don’t forget to check out the other appealing races on the card! I’ve already shared my thoughts on the Risen Star, but that’s just one of the dozen races on the agenda. After going over the rest of the card, I’ve found four other spot plays throughout [...]

Derby, Oaks Contenders Face Off on Saturday at Fair Grounds

Serengeti Empress winning the Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders will shine at Fair Grounds on February 16, a busy day of racing that includes four graded stakes races at the New Orleans racetrack. The highlight of the day is unquestionably the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), which offers 50 Kentucky Derby qualification points to the winner as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship [...]

How to Bet the Las Virgenes Stakes

Bellafina winning the Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO In my opinion, the only way to make a meaningful profit playing Saturday’s $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita is to play the exotics straight and hope that your selections are absolutely perfect. Just five three-year-old fillies have been entered in this one-mile Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep race, and on paper, the four-time graded stakes winner #3 Bellafina towers [...]

Picks and Plays for Saturday Stakes Races at Fair Grounds

Great Wide Open winning the Buddy Diliberto Memorial at Fair Grounds - Photo by Hodges Photography Fair Grounds racetrack in New Orleans certainly knows how to put together a fun day of racing! The upcoming Saturday card features six stakes races worth a combined $700,000, and the best part is that they’re arranged in consecutive fashion without any maiden, allowance, or claiming races to interrupt the action. That makes the card very appealing from the standpoint of multi-race [...]

Derby, Oaks Contenders Star on Stakes-Packed Saturday at Fair Grounds

Hog Creek Hustle winning an allowance race at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Up-and-coming two-year-olds with an eye on the 2019 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks are among the many talented horses entered in the six stakes races scheduled for December 22nd at Fair Grounds. It’s yet another action-packed Saturday of high-class racing at the New Orleans track, which opened its annual winter meet on December 1st. In chronological order, the highlights on this massive 14-race card include…. Race [...]

Talented 2yos Take Center Stage at Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs Scenic (SV Photography) With the 2019 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) looming on the distant horizon, Tampa Bay Downs will kick off their annual schedule of stakes races for young Derby and Oaks contenders with the Inaugural Stakes and Sandpiper Stakes on December 15th. These six-furlong sprints, one for colts and one for fillies, serve as stepping stones toward more significant two-turn tests at the Florida track in 2019, including as [...]

Keying Mother Mother in the Starlet Stakes

Mother Mother winning the Rags to Riches Stakes - Coady Photography At first glance, the December 8th $300,000 Starlet Stakes (gr. I) at Los Alamitos isn’t the most appealing race from a betting perspective—with just six starters, payoffs could be on the small side. But then again, the 1 1/16-mile Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep race is packed with quality, so it’s not like there’s an overwhelming favorite towering over the field. And if we can beat the [...]

Six Juvenile Stakes Races Scheduled for December 8th at Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park (Coglianese Photos) As part of an action-packed afternoon of racing on December 8th, Gulfstream Park will host not only the Clasico Internacional del Caribe series (showcasing some of the best horses from Latin America and the Caribbean), but also a half-dozen stakes races for two-year-olds. Those juvenile races comprise the first six events on the massive card, which kicks off at 11:50 p.m. Eastern. And since you never know where the next Kentucky Derby (gr. I) [...]

Seven Maiden Winners Face Off in Demoiselle Stakes

Aqueduct (Coglianese Photo) Looking for a wide-open race to handicap this weekend? Well, considering that none of the seven entrants in Saturday’s $250,000 Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct have won more than a maiden race, it could take a bit of skill to determine which of these lightly-raced fillies is most likely to prevail. And it’s important to get a feel for these fillies as soon as possible since the Demoiselle Stakes is a “Road to the Kentucky [...]