Pace, Track Favored My Boy Jack in Southwest Stakes

My Boy Jack winning the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography Racing fans were treated to an eye-catching sight on Monday when My Boy Jack produced an explosive rally from off the pace to win the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park. From a visual perspective, My Boy Jack looked terrific. Reserved at the back of the pack early on in the 8.5-furlong Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race, My Boy [...]

Presidents’ Day Spot Plays at Oaklawn Park

Monday is Presidents’ Day and that means it is Southwest Stakes Day at Oaklawn Park. The racing office in Hot Springs, Arkansas has a special holiday card on tap that includes not only the Grade 3 Southwest, but also the 59th running of the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap for older males. The ten-race card commences at 1:05 PM local time and offers horseplayers a solid day of action with plenty of opportunities to end the long racing week on a [...]

Will Combatant Upset Mourinho in the Southwest Stakes?

Mourinho (right) leads Combatant (white and black silks) into the homestretch of the Smarty Jones Stakes - Coady Photography In recent years, no trainer has dominated the Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races at Oaklawn Park more thoroughly than Bob Baffert. Since 2010, the Hall of Fame trainer has won 13 of the 30 Derby prep races contested at Oaklawn, including four editions of the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (gr. III). Baffert will have a strong chance to [...]

Mourinho, Combatant Impress in Smarty Jones Stakes

Mourinho (right) leads Combatant (white and black silks) into the homestretch of the Smarty Jones Stakes - Coady Photography In the hours following the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on Monday at Oaklawn Park, most of the focus was on the impressive winner Mourinho, who stamped himself as a serious Kentucky Derby contender with an authoritative victory in the one-mile race. But while Mourinho is deserving of the accolades being sent his way, I’m just as interested—maybe even more [...]

Will Combatant Upset Mourinho in the Smarty Jones?

Combatant breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs (Coady Photography) When playing the races, one of my favorite angles to watch for is a horse receiving a very specific type of troubled trip, a trip so subtle that many bettors miss its significance. Normally, a ground-saving trip racing inside of horses is ideal, but only if you are able to unleash your run at the opportune time. In my opinion, this consideration is the key to handicapping the $150,000 [...]

Keying Surprise Entrant McKinzie in the Sham Stakes

McKinzie (inside) in the homestretch of the Los Alamitos Futurity (© Benoit Photo) Talk about a last-minute surprise! When entries were taken for Saturday’s $100,000 Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita, a small but competitive field was expected for the one-mile Kentucky Derby prep race. Then trainer Bob Baffert entered his up-and-coming Grade 1 winner #6 McKinzie and the complexion of the race changed entirely. On paper, McKinzie looms as a standout in the Sham Stakes. The son [...]

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 [...]

A Look Ahead at the 2018 Triple Crown

Good Magic winning the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Photo by Carson Denis/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) Happy New Year! The arrival of 2018 means the arrival of a fresh year filled with opportunity and potential, and for fans of Thoroughbred horse racing, it also means a new Kentucky Derby prep season is underway with a chance at seeing a future Triple Crown winner in action. Let’s kick off the year with a list of four things to look forward to [...]

Run Away faces talented rivals in Bob Hope Stakes

Best Pal Stakes winner Run Away goes for five wins from six starts in the Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar. Pic: Benoit Photo. With four victories and a grade one third-place finish behind Bolt d’Oro, Run Away is clearly the form horse going into the seven-furlong Bob Hope Stakes (G3) at Del Mar Nov. 11. Whether he can concede between four and six pounds to his five promising rivals and still come out on top is another [...]