Reflections on My Up-and-Down Derby Week Handicapping

Maximum Security and Country House battle to the wire in the Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography From a handicapping and wagering perspective, Kentucky Derby week at Churchill Downs was a mixed bag for me. If I’m being honest, the week got off on the wrong foot when my confident top choice for the Derby—Omaha Beach­­—scratched from the race with an entrapped epiglottis, which sent me scurrying to regroup and rethink my plays. Overall, the week was filled with [...]

Instilled Regard Demonstrates California’s Strength in Lecomte Stakes

Instilled Regard winning the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds - Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir In recent years, California-based three-year-olds have proven dominant in the Triple Crown races and the prep races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Certainly the West Coast held a clear edge in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016, when horses like I’ll Have Another, California Chrome, American Pharoah, Nyquist, Exaggerator, and Bodemeister rose to prominence, and early evidence suggests that [...]

Champagne Stakes an Intriguing Puzzle for Punters

The Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park is one of the best juvenile races in the country, and its winner earns direct entry into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series. But trying to select a winner when there is so little exposed form can be a difficult task. Despite its grade one status, only Firenze Fire among the 12 Champagne Stakes entries has run in a graded stakes race, winning the Sanford [...]