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 [...]

BARN Podcast 1/21/19

It's Monday so we're discussing all the racing action from the weekend including the Lecomte Stakes card from Fair Grounds, Roy H. dominating again out west, and a bad favorite runs bad at Aqueduct! Plus Jason recounts his weekend trip to Calgary and calling the races at Century Downs.

2019 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: War of Will

War of Will winning the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds - Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir As the old saying goes, a good horse can come from anywhere, so by extension a Kentucky Derby contender must be able to come from anywhere… even if he’s a turf-bred youngster back from a foray in Europe. That, in essence, is the journey of War of Will, who joined the Road to the Kentucky Derby with a decisive [...]

War of Will Conquers Opposition in Lecomte Stakes

War of Will winning the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds - Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr. Saturday’s Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds was billed as a wide-open race that just about any of the dozen starters could potentially win. But when the dust settled, it was favored War of Will who raced to a resounding victory, crushing the field in the manner of a horse who was clearly superior on the day. Certainly War of [...]

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 [...]

How to Bet the Lecomte Stakes

War of Will breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Following a two-week break, the Road to the Kentucky Derby will resume on Saturday with the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (gr. III), the first of three Kentucky Derby prep races being held at Fair Grounds this winter. The race attracted 15 entrants, though at least two runners are expected to scratch, and with heavy rain in the forecast for Saturday, there’s no telling what might happen in [...]

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 [...]

Silverbulletday, Other Fair Grounds Stakes Drawn Deep Fields

Wonder Gadot winning the Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography If you’re planning to play the races this Saturday, you won’t want to miss the fantastic card at Fair Grounds that includes large fields and six stakes races. Among the highlights are the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) and the Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap (click either race name to read a more detailed preview), but the other four stakes races also warrant [...]

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 [...]

Four stakes kick off Fair Grounds 2017-18 meet

Breeders' Cup Classic winner Gun Runner first emerged as a possible star at the 2015-16 Fair Grounds meet. The important Fair Grounds winter meeting kicks off Nov. 18, the beginning of five months of racing that includes major preps for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. It’s a meeting to watch current stars, and future stars; the most notable in the last two years being this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Gun Runner, who took out two [...]