Three Takeaways from the Gotham Stakes

Haikal winning the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) - © Adam Coglianese Photography/Chelsea Durand The old phrase “pace makes the race” was demonstrated clearly in the $300,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) on March 3 at Aqueduct, won by the late-running Haikal in a driving finish. Indeed, it’s not a stretch to conclude that the outcome of the race was determined almost solely by the extraordinary pace of the one-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep event. On a day [...]

Why I’m Betting Haikal in the Gotham Stakes

Instagrand winning the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO There is an abundance of early speed entered in Saturday’s $300,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, so it’s hard not to envision the one-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race unfolding at a rapid pace. For example, #6 Instagrand led gate-to-wire in his two impressive victories last year. #7 Not That Brady has set the pace in his last four starts. [...]

Analyzing the Strength of the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Field

Game Winner winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) - Coady Photography Just over two months have elapsed since thirteen young Kentucky Derby contenders vied for supremacy in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, giving us time to formulate clearer opinions on the overall strength of the Juvenile field. https://youtu.be/czkxQKL7gI8 So far, eight of the thirteen Juvenile starters have come back to run again, with a mixture of success and disappointment. Let’s take a [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: Mind Control

Mind Control winning the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga - Photo by Adam Coglianese Photography We’ve long known that Mind Control is a very talented colt over short distances, but on New Year’s Day he took an important step toward the 2019 Kentucky Derby by demonstrating that he can handle a mile and isn’t purely a sprinter. That was a bit of a question mark prior to Mind Control’s front-running victory in the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct, [...]

Mind Control Rebounds in Jerome Stakes

Mind Control winning the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct - Photo by Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography As usual, class prevailed in the $150,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct, with the 3-2 favorite Mind Control seizing the lead at the start and leading his five rivals on a merry chase for the remainder of the one-mile race. With Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in the saddle, Mind Control ran exactly as expected by the majority of bettors. The son of [...]

Why I’m Betting Mind Control in the Jerome Stakes

Mind Control winning the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga - Photo by Adam Coglianese Photography Judging from recent history, it takes a very specific type of horse to win the $150,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct, the first of four Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races being held at the New York track this year. Since the race was moved from April to January in 2013, favorites have dominated, winning five of six renewals while the lone [...]

Rating the First Round of 2019 Kentucky Derby Preps

Game Winner winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) - Coady Photography With the running of Sunday's Remington Springboard Mile, the last North American Kentucky Derby prep race of the year entered the history books, bringing to a close the first stage of qualification for the 2019 “Run for the Roses.” From September through December, nine Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races were conducted across the country, and while the majority offered the same number of qualification [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Top 10: Game Winner Leads the Way

Game Winner winning the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo Now that the final major prep races for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) have been run, we can start analyzing the prospective field and rank the top contenders with significantly greater knowledge and information than we would have possessed even a week ago. So I’ll kick off the new week by sharing my Top 10 contenders for the much-anticipated Churchill Downs championship…. Game [...]

Betting Longshot Signalman in the Breeders’ Futurity

Keeneland Photo What do you do when faced with handicapping a full field of fourteen lightly-raced two-year-olds, the majority of them stretching out around two turns for the first time? Well, pretty much the best you can do is analyze the field, pick a few horses you like, and hope for the best. That’s what I’ll be doing for Saturday’s $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland, a 8.5-furlong “Win and You’re In” prep race for the 2018 [...]

Game Winner vs. Mind Control: Who’s More Likely to Win the Kentucky Derby?

Mind Control winning the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga - Photo by Adam Coglianese Photography On Labor Day, the summer race meets at Del Mar and Saratoga came to a climax with the running of the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) and the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I), the first two Grade 1 events of the year for two-year-old males. As a result, Game Winner (who prevailed in the Del Mar Futurity) and Mind Control (a determined winner [...]