2019 Racing Preview: 5 Wishes for the New Year

Le Vent Se Leve winning the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun at Kawasaki Racecourse (Photo courtesy Akihiro Takeda/Churchill Downs) Happy New Year, racing fans! Maybe my greeting is a tad premature—2019 is still a few hours away—but I can’t help myself. I’m already thinking ahead to the new year and pondering an interesting question: If I could make five racing-related wishes, all guaranteed to come true in 2019, what would they be? Well, first I decided to put some limitations [...]

2019 Racing Preview: 5 Races You Won’t Want to Miss

Winx - Photo: Australia Turf Club/Sky Racing. With 2019 on the horizon, I’m already looking forward to another sensational year of racing and anticipating some of the exciting showdowns and matchups that we’ll witness across the globe. Five races in particular are already on my radar as intriguing events that I’m excited to watch unfold. In chronological order, they are…. The Pegasus World Cup Invitational (gr. I) When: January 26 Where: Gulfstream Park, Florida The first two editions [...]

Is Japan’s Sumahama a Kentucky Derby Contender?

Tokyo Race Course (Photo Courtesy of the JRA) The Road to the Kentucky Derby might just be getting serious in North America, but across the globe in Japan the action reached its peak on Sunday with Hyacinth Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse, the final and most important race in the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby series. Sixteen horses faced the starter in the 1,600-meter (about one mile) event, with the favorite in the Japanese wagering being Sumahama, who [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 1/17/18

Instilled Regard winning the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds - Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir Following a busy week that featured three Kentucky Derby prep races and a full slate of competitive maiden and allowance events, there’s plenty to digest on the road to the Derby! Needless to say, my Kentucky Derby Top 10 underwent some significant changes over the weekend. Newcomers to the list include Instilled Regard, a decisive winner of the Lecomte Stakes [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 – 1/9/18

Mask winning the Mucho Macho Man Stakes - Photo by Kenny Martin/Coglianese Photography It’s not every day that you see a horse win a stakes races as easily as Mask won the Mucho Macho Man Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Chad Brown, the son of Tapit entered the one-mile race with just one run under his belt, that being an impressive maiden win at Belmont Park in which he overcame a slow start to win [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 – 1/2/18

Principe Guilherme winning an allowance race at Fair Grounds (Hodges Photography) Well, 2018 has arrived, the juvenile stars of last year are officially three years old, and it’s time for things to get serious on the road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Actually, the road would already be underway if cold weather hadn’t led to the cancellation of the Jerome Stakes (gr. III) on New Year’s Day at Aqueduct. The race is expected to be rescheduled and held [...]

A Look Ahead at the 2018 Triple Crown

Good Magic winning the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Photo by Carson Denis/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) Happy New Year! The arrival of 2018 means the arrival of a fresh year filled with opportunity and potential, and for fans of Thoroughbred horse racing, it also means a new Kentucky Derby prep season is underway with a chance at seeing a future Triple Crown winner in action. Let’s kick off the year with a list of four things to look forward to [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 – 12/27/17

Always Dreaming winning the 2017 Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography Much has been made through the years about trainer Todd Pletcher’s perceived lack of success in the Triple Crown races, primarily the Kentucky Derby. An oft-quoted statistic from years ago spoke of Pletcher’s early disappointments in the Derby, in which his starters went 0-for-24 before Pletcher scored a victory with Super Saver in 2010. But much like the Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who lost with [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 – 12/19/17

Principe Guilherme winning an allowance race at Fair Grounds (Hodges Photography) “He’s like a young Gun Runner.” That’s the thought that crosses my mind when I think about the exciting two-year-old Principe Guilherme, who brought his record to a perfect 2-for-2 with an eye-catching allowance win at Fair Grounds on December 16th. Some of the similarities are obvious. Principe Guilherme, like Gun Runner, is from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Both colts opened their [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 – 12/13/17

Le Vent Se Leve winning the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun at Kawasaki Racecourse (Photo courtesy Akihiro Takeda/Churchill Downs) As a general rule, I try not to get too excited about horses that prep for the Kentucky Derby outside of North America. We’ve seen some very good horses come to the Derby by way of Dubai—Desert Party, Mubtaahij, and Lani all come to mind from recent years—but all have inevitably faltered at Churchill Downs, and you have to go back to 1971 [...]