Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff Top 10: Division is Deep

Monomoy Girl winning the 2018 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) - Coady Photography The potential field and top contenders for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) might be unclear at this point, but the same can’t be said for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), which could be among the highlights of the championship series at Santa Anita Park this fall. There’s no shortage of high-class fillies and mares targeting the Distaff, and in compiling an initial Top 10 [...]

Betting Against the Proven Class in the Santa Margarita Stakes

Santa Anita - © Breeders' Cup/Todd Buchanan 2014 There might be a couple of established grade 1 performers entered in Saturday’s $200,000 Santa Margarita Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park, but for various reasons I’m inclined to oppose both in this 1 1/8-mile test. #8 Paradise Woods is by far the most accomplished mare in this eight-horse field, but the two-time grade 1 winner hasn’t won a race since September 2017, and she seems to have lost the [...]

How to Bet the Osunitas Stakes at Del Mar

The stakes action continues on Friday afternoon at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club with a competitive and challenging rendition of the $75,000 Osunitas Stakes on tap. The mile and a sixteenth restricted event for fillies and mares is headlined by the turf debut of multiple graded stakes winner #1 Paradise Woods. The daughter of Union Rags has won 3 of 10 over the dirt for Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, including victories in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks and [...]

How to Bet the Beholder Mile

Unique Bella winning the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) - Benoit Photo Saturday’s feature at Santa Anita Park is the $400,000 Grade 1 Beholder Mile.The race named for the star Richard Mandella trainee only drew a field of six, but it does not lack star power given the presence of Unique Bella, Vale Dori and Paradise Woods. Don Alberto Stable’s #6 Unique Bella makes her first start since a poor break led to a disappointing second place effort [...]

Keying Longshot Mopotism in the La Brea Stakes

Unique Bella winning the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) - Benoit Photo One of the last Grade 1 races of 2017 is the $300,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I) on December 26th, one of the features on a stakes-filled opening-day card at Santa Anita Park. The seven-furlong sprint for three-year-old fillies typically draws an interesting blend of sprinters and horses cutting back in distance from route races, and perhaps as a result, the race isn’t an easy one [...]

Stellar Wind freshened for third Distaff attempt

Abel Tasman (left) beats Elate in the Coaching Club American Oaks. The pair square off again in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Photo: Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand.   The Breeders’ Cup Distaff is the highlight of the year for dirt females, and it might possibly be third time lucky for Stellar Wind. The 5-year-old Virginia-bred mare has won 10 of her 15 starts, but two of her defeats have come in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She finished a close second [...]

Handicapping Big Breeders’ Cup Preview Day Saturday at Santa Anita

Cupid wins the Harry F Brubaker Stakes (Benoit Photo) Santa Anita Graded Stakes Preview for September 30, 2017 Breeders’ Cup preview days don’t get much bigger than at Santa Anita Sept. 30. Five grade one races are being staged at the Southern California track, and all carry direct entry into the relevant Breeders’ Cup contest for the winners. Perhaps the most even contest is the Awesome Again Stakes, run at 1 1/8 miles, which carries direct entry into [...]