Using Trainer Angles in Handicapping, Part 5

Bob Baffert at Saratoga - Photo by Courtney Heeney/Coglianese Photography You’ve probably heard the talk—the talk of how trainer Bob Baffert has become essentially unbeatable with his two-year-olds. Maybe “unbeatable” is a bit of a stretch, but it isn’t far from the truth either. In 2018, Baffert’s two-year-olds compiled an otherworldly 32-for-62 record—that’s 52% wins—and when you consider that Baffert frequently runs two horses against each other, his record for the year was nothing short of jaw-dropping. So [...]

Award Winner Looks Prize-Worthy in Gulfstream Maiden Race

Gulfstream Park (Coglianese Photos) It’s well known that Todd Pletcher is tough to beat at Gulfstream Park, where he has been the leading trainer at the winter/spring Championship Meet on fifteen occasions. Pletcher is particularly tough with his two-year-olds and three-year-olds, which is why it comes as no surprise to see Pletcher with two entrants in Saturday’s seventh race at Gulfstream, a one-mile maiden special weight for two-year-olds. But does this mean that handicappers should simply concede that [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Post-Breeders’ Cup Santa Anita Spot Plays

Santa Anita - Photo by © Breeders' Cup/Todd Buchanan 2014 If the Breeders’ Cup has you in the mood for playing the races and you find that you’re not ready to call it quits at the end of the Saturday card, never fear—there’s plenty more memorable racing on Sunday, including a nice card at Santa Anita that features two graded stakes races. After looking over the day’s events, I’ve come up with a few spot plays to consider, [...]

Del Mar and Saratoga 2yos Analysis: Grade 1s Close Out the Meets

Instagrand winning the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO Although we’re nearing the conclusions of the 2018 summer meets at Del Mar and Saratoga, there’s still plenty of top-notch juvenile racing still to come. In fact, the meets are going to end with a bang in that respect! Saturday will see fillies take the stage in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) at Del Mar and the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) at [...]

Del Mar 2yos Analysis: Instagrand Wins Like a Future Superstar

Instagrand winning the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO Budding superstar? Beast in the making? Future Kentucky Derby winner? Perhaps it’s too early to bestow such lofty praise upon Instagrand, but this two-year-old son of Into Mischief was nothing less than breathtaking while winning Saturday’s $200,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar in a dominant manner strikingly reminiscent of his maiden victory at Los Alamitos. With Drayden Van Dyke in [...]

Saratoga 2yos Analysis: Chad Brown On the Rise

The fourth weekend of the Saratoga meet featured a couple more graded stakes races for juveniles, including one that was essentially the definition of a closer-favoring race. The action kicked off on Saturday with the $200,000 Adirondack Stakes (gr. II), a 6 ½-furlong sprint for fillies contested over a drying-out main track labeled “good.” The track was a bit tiresome as a result, so you can imagine what happened when race favorite Lyrical Lady and longshot Mucho Amor wound up [...]

Del Mar 2yos Analysis: Bellafina Impresses, Instagrand Steps Up

Bellafina winning the Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO Bellafina didn’t really look like a star in the making when she finished second in her debut at Los Alamitos last month. But boy, she presented an entirely different appearance in the $200,000 Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) on Sunday at Del Mar! The Sorrento, an early prep race on the road to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), was the top juvenile race [...]

Saratoga 2yos Analysis: Steve Asmussen Keeps On Winning

Trainer Steve Asmussen (Photo by © Breeders' Cup/Ben Van Hook 2014) Just how deep is Steve Asmussen’s roster of talented young two-year-olds? No one can say for certain, because seemingly every week—or at times, every day—Asmussen unleashes another promising young runner. Last week at Saratoga, Asmussen won three juvenile races in the span of two days, and he would have won four over three days if not for a disqualification on Thursday. The disqualified runner was Super Simple, [...]

Del Mar 2yos Analysis: Baffert Set to Debut Chasing Yesterday, Roadster

Bob Baffert at Saratoga - Photo by Courtney Heeney/Coglianese Photography The first week of summer racing at Del Mar is complete, and suffice to say there was lots of noteworthy action on the juvenile racing front, with plenty more to come this week. With the main juvenile stakes races coming a bit later in the meet, the most significant events on opening week were the high-class maiden special weights that drew large fields of promising young runners. On [...]

Saratoga 2yos Analysis: Pletcher Off to Fast Start, Loaded for Week Two

Saratoga certainly knows how to open with a bang! For racing fans and bettors, one of the main highlights of Saratoga is the numerous races for two-year-olds held throughout the summer, so it was delightful to see a large number of these races contested during the first few days of the meet. In terms of class, the $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) on Friday and the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (gr. III) on Saturday were the best juvenile races on opening [...]