Pros and Cons of the Weekend Derby Prep Winners

Mucho Gusto winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) - © Benoit Photo Last weekend was a big one on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with three major prep races being held across the country, but if we’re perfectly honest, the results—while intriguing—came up a little disappointing. A sloppy, sealed track led to the scratch of highly-regarded Nolo Contesto from the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita, which allowed Mucho Gusto to romp [...]

Harvey Wallbanger Posts 29-1 Upset in Holy Bull Stakes

Harvey Wallbanger winning the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) - Photo by Adam Coglianese Photography/Leslie Martin Harvey Wallbanger spent much of Saturday’s Fasig-Tipon Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park racing in last place, but the 29-1 shot made the last move and ultimately had the last laugh as he rallied to post a stunning upset victory. The early pace of the 8.5-furlong Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race wound up more contested than expected as Epic [...]

Is Maximus Mischief Vulnerable in the Holy Bull Stakes?

Maximus Mischief winning the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography/Chelsea Durand When ten horses line up to face the starter in Saturday’s $350,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, all eyes will be on the heavy favorite #8 Maximus Mischief. On paper, this 8.5-furlong Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race should be a walk in the park for Maximus Mischief. The son of Into Mischief compiled a perfect 3-for-3 [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Where Does Hidden Scroll Rank?

Hidden Scroll winning his debut at Gulfstream Park - Photo by Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography When Triple Crown winner Justify won the 2018 Kentucky Derby, he broke the much-hyped “Apollo Curse” and became the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old. Now that the “curse” has been broken, will the floodgates open with more and more unraced juveniles finding success on the first Saturday in May? That remains to [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: A “Win-Win-Win” Situation

Win Win Win winning the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs - Photo by SV Photography In the two weeks since my last update, two new names have joined my Kentucky Derby Top 10, including an exciting stakes winner from Tampa Bay Downs who looks like a potential beast in the making. How do they all stack up? Let’s take a look…. Game Winner He’s come back firing in his workouts, throwing down three furlongs in a bullet [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Major Changes to Kick Off 2019

Gunmetal Gray winning the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita - © Benoit Photo For the first time in more than a month, there’s been a major shake-up in my Kentucky Derby Top 10. Following disappointing efforts in Saturday Derby preps from Code of Honor (previously ranked #6) and Coliseum (ranked #8), I have elected to remove both colts from my list for the time being. I have also dropped Roadster (ranked #5), who hasn’t turned in a timed [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: The Calm Before the Storm

Instagrand winning the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO Just as we’re on the verge of entering 2019, we’re also on the verge of entering a new stage on the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Derby. Things have been quiet over the last couple of weeks, but that will change when the two-year-olds of today turn three years old on January 1st. The Derby prep races will kick off immediately thereafter with [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Thoughts, Insights, and Fun Facts

Signalman winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) - Coady Photography Merry Christmas, racing fans! Today might be Christmas Eve, with the holiday itself just a day away, but it’s also Monday, which means it’s time to share my latest Kentucky Derby Top 10 rankings. For the second straight week, I don’t have any changes—understandable at this quiet time of year—but I do have some thoughts, insights, and fun facts to share about each horse. So if [...]

2018-19 Road to the Kentucky Derby Year-End Review

The field rounds the first turn of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography With the running of the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun in Japan on December 19th, the final Kentucky Derby prep race of 2018 entered the history books, giving us an opportunity to look back on the season before the calendar turns over and we continue headlong toward the 2019 Derby. During the course of the primary Road to the Kentucky [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: No Changes (For Now)

Improbable winning the Los Alamitos Futurity (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo As the racing year winds down, the final Kentucky Derby prep races of the season are wrapping up. On Sunday, Long Range Toddy forged to a narrow victory in the Remington Springboard Mile, earning 10 qualification points toward the 2019 Derby. Still to come on Wednesday is the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun, the second leg of the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby, in which the California-bred [...]