How to bet the 2019 Arlington Matron Stakes

La Force training at Churchill Downs - © Evers/ESW/Breeders Cup /Breeders' Cup In terms of proven class and overall accomplishments, #3 La Force is clearly the mare to beat in Saturday’s $100,000 Arlington Matron Stakes (G3) at Arlington Park. Last year, the German-bred daughter of Power placed second in three straight grade 1 races on the California circuit, and she returned as good as ever in her 2019 debut, when she finished second in the Santa Margarita Stakes [...]

Betting Against the Proven Class in the Santa Margarita Stakes

Santa Anita - © Breeders' Cup/Todd Buchanan 2014 There might be a couple of established grade 1 performers entered in Saturday’s $200,000 Santa Margarita Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park, but for various reasons I’m inclined to oppose both in this 1 1/8-mile test. #8 Paradise Woods is by far the most accomplished mare in this eight-horse field, but the two-time grade 1 winner hasn’t won a race since September 2017, and she seems to have lost the [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff Top 10: Setbacks for the Favorites

Monomoy Girl winning the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) - Coady Photography The disqualification of Monomoy Girl. The no-show effort from Abel Tasman. The season-ending injury to Elate. Suffice to say, the top contenders for the November 3rd Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Churchill Downs have had some setbacks in recent weeks, with the loss of Elate from the prospective field being a particularly unfortunate blow. But from a betting perspective, at least the race is shaping up to [...]

Abel Tasman Stands Out in Zenyatta Stakes

Abel Tasman edging Elate in the Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) - Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Viola Jasko In this day and age, with an increasing number of top-class horses skipping the final round of Breeders’ Cup prep races in favor of training up to the championship, it’s encouraging to see the highly accomplished Abel Tasman among the six fillies and mares entered in Sunday’s $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita. Abel Tasman certainly could have trained [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff Top 10: Abel Tasman Stays On Top

Abel Tasman edging Elate in the Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) - Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Viola Jasko Since posting my first Top 10 list of contenders for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I), the complexion of the race has changed significantly. The retirement of Unique Bella was certainly a blow, as was the injury that knocked the promising three-year-old Red Ruby out of Distaff contention. But since then, a few other promising runners have emerged on the [...]

Unique Bella Overcomes Adversity in Clement L. Hirsch Stakes

Unique Bella winning the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo It’s beginning to seem as though the fantastic filly Unique Bella has a shadow named “drama” that follows her whenever and wherever she runs. Win or lose, there always seems to be something unusual or unexpected about her performances, and Saturday’s $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I) at Del Mar was no exception. The race was supposed to be a mere workout for [...]

Unique Bella Stands Out in Clement L. Hirsch Stakes

Unique Bella - © Benoit Photo. She’s been almost unstoppable, winning eight of her eleven starts. Her rare defeats have come under extenuating circumstances. She’s got blazing early speed and can carry it around two turns, and she’s already won twice at the Grade 1 level. That’s why it’s not surprising to see a small field turn out to face #2 Unique Bella in Sunday’s $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I) at Del Mar. Even with a [...]