Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Classic Top 10: Roaring Lion Takes the Spotlight

West Coast winning the Travers Stakes (gr. I) - Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photos/Chris Rahayel We’re less than two weeks away from the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs, and pre-entries for the fourteen championship races are set to be revealed on Wednesday. The Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) is shaping up to be among the most competitive races with an oversubscribed field expected to be entered. Who will claim the winner’s share of the $6,000,000 purse? [...]

2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic vs. Distaff: Which Will Be the Better Race?

Monomoy Girl winning the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) - Coady Photography The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic… the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff… they’re arguably the two most important races of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, but which one is shaping up to be the bigger highlight 2 ½ weeks from now at Churchill Downs? Well, that depends on your point of view—that is, whether you’re primarily a bettor seeking a big wagering score or a racing fan [...]

Who Are the Top Contenders for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic?

Accelerate winning the Pacific Classic (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo In recent years, the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) has not been the most competitive race from a handicapping perspective, turning instead into a showcase showdown between two star runners (Arrogate and California Chrome in 2016, Gun Runner and Arrogate in 2017) or just a simple coronation of an undisputed champion (American Pharoah in 2015). However, the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic promises to be different. With the [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint Top 10: Will a 3yo Prevail?

Promises Fulfilled winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) - Photo by Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photography With the 2018 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs rapidly approaching—it’s just eight weeks away—the fields for the 14 championship races are starting to take shape. At the moment, it appears that the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) will be among the deepest and most contentious races, so sorting through the numerous talented candidates for the race isn’t an easy task. But I’m [...]

Diversify Overcomes Obstacles in Whitney Stakes

Diversify in the winner's circle after winning the Suburban Stakes (gr. II) - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography A sloppy, sealed track. A 45-minute weather-related delay. A fast pace. A quality field. You certainly can’t claim that Diversify had things easy in Saturday’s $1.2 million Whitney Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. Quite to the contrary, the Richard Violette, Jr.-trained runner faced challenges and obstacles at seemingly every turn, both before and during the running of the prestigious nine-furlong [...]

How to Bet the Whitney Stakes

Diversify in the winner's circle after winning the Suburban Stakes (gr. II) - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography He may have been a last-minute entrant, but #6 Diversify certainly looms as the horse to beat in Saturday’s $1.2 million Whitney Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, a prestigious “Win and You’re In” prep race on the road to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). Simply put, Diversify has been a beast in his home state of New York. Trained [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint Top 10 – 7/27/18

Chief Cicatriz winning the Aristides Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography As part of my ongoing “Breeders’ Cup Top 10” series, I decided this week to rank my Top 10 contenders for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Given the large number of talented sprinters in North America, this was not an easy list to compile. I chose to leave off such prominent runners as Mind Your Biscuits, who might be [...]

Keying Bee Jersey in the Metropolitan Handicap

Bee Jersey winning an allowance race at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography If you’re looking for a great betting race to play this Saturday, look no further than the $1.2 million Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The historic “Met Mile” has drawn eleven starters, but lacks a clear standout. As a result, the odds on several appealing contenders could be enticing and open up the possibility of making a truly memorable score. Generally speaking, I prefer [...]

Practical Joke out to extend one-turn record in Cigar Mile

Practical Joke wins the 2017 H. Allan Jerkens Stakes at Saratoga. Pic: Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand. With stallion duty at Ashford Stud looming next year, leading 3-year-old Practical Joke aims to end his career unbeaten around one turn in the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct. Practical Joke has run well without winning in two-turn races all year, his efforts including a third-place finish in the Haskell Invitational (G1) and finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) Nov. [...]

Drefong a clear favorite in Breeders’ Cup Sprint

Drefong is well clear at the finish of the Forego Stakes at Saratoga. Photo: Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand Last time Drefong started at Del Mar, he threw his jockey off at the gap shortly after the start of the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1). A repeat of that seems the most likely way he would be stopped from defending his Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) title. Since finishing fifth on debut as a 2-year-old, Baoma Corporation’s Gio Ponti colt has won [...]