Which Horses are Bred to Handle the Belmont Stakes Distance?

Intrepid Heart winning his debut at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography While many handicappers will argue pedigrees are no longer a key factor in determining the winner of the Kentucky Derby, they remain an important aspect to consider when analyzing potential contenders for the Belmont Stakes. The 1 1/2-mile distance of the “Test of the Champion" places more emphasis on stamina than the 1 1/4 miles of the Kentucky Derby, so generally speaking Belmont winners tend to boast [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: Long Range Toddy

If you’re looking for a 2019 Kentucky Derby contender with the pedigree to excel running 1 ¼ miles on the first Saturday in May, then you’ll be excited to check out Long Range Toddy, who burst onto the Derby scene with a hard-fought victory in the Remington Springboard Mile on December 16th. All of Long Range Toddy’s immediate ancestors were successful running a mile or farther, including his Florida Derby (gr. I)-winning sire Take Charge Indy, his dam Pleasant Song, [...]

Tips and Trends for Handicapping Marathons

Turf racing at Belmont Park - Photo by Coglianese Photography Marathon horse races held over 1 ¾ miles or farther aren’t all that common in North America, and when they are on the agenda, some handicappers find themselves puzzled by the unusual challenge of handicapping such long-distance races. What do you even look for when handicapping marathons? Obviously, horses with proven form running long distances are ideal, but in the absence of such horses, I’ve found that three [...]

How Studying Stallions Can Yield Profitable Pedigree Plays

Stephanie's Kitten winning the Flower Bowl (gr. I) at Belmont Park - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography It’s a known fact that the progeny of some stallions prefer racing on dirt rather than turf (or vice versa), but did you know that these preferences can be even more subtle than that—all the way down to showing a preference for certain turf course conditions? For example, take Kitten’s Joy. A champion racehorse turned champion sire, the vast majority of [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Pedigree Ratings

Instagrand winning the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO Analyzing pedigrees is a big part of searching for promising Kentucky Derby contenders. A horse might show promise sprinting, but does it have the pedigree to excel going the Derby distance of 1 ¼ miles? With this in mind, I’ve poured over the pedigrees of the horses in my Kentucky Derby Top 10 and have rated their pedigrees on scale of 1 to [...]

How Grass Pedigrees Can Provide Value in Turf Races

Tampa Bay Downs Scenic (SV Photography) It’s easy to assume that once a horse has started its racing career and run in a few races, its pedigree is no longer an important factor to consider in handicapping. While this might be true in some cases, there are still many instances when pedigrees can be a relevant handicapping factor even for horses with lots of experience. This can be especially true when a horse is trying a different racing [...]

Pedigree Handicapping: From Dirt to Turf to the Winner’s Circle

Photo by © Breeders' Cup/Todd Buchanan 2014 When a horse tries a different racing surface for the first time, it can be difficult for handicappers to know what to expect. For example, if the horse has been racing on dirt, how will they react when switching to turf? Due to the uncertainty involved, there is a tendency for handicappers to dismiss the chances of horses like this and favor runners that are already proven over a particular surface. However, an [...]

Handicapping 101: Playing Pedigrees on Muddy Tracks

Always Dreaming winning the 2017 Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography When handicapping major races like the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of data available to help you make your selections. Fractional times? Workouts? Running styles? Pedigrees? Jockey assignments? Post positions? Obscure statistics? It can be hard to weigh all of these factors and come up with confident bets. With so much information available, it can seem counter-intuitive to toss most of [...]