2019 Kentucky Derby: Keeler Johnson’s Morning Line Projection

Churchill Downs - Coady Photography In recent years post-time favorites in the Kentucky Derby have been starting at relatively short prices, especially when you consider the uncommonly large size of the annual Derby field. This has coincided with a historic streak of six consecutive winning favorites. Orb, who prevailed in the 2013 Derby at odds of 5.40-1, has been the only member of the current streak to start above 5-1. He’s been followed into the Derby winner’s circle [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Contender Birth Dates and Historical Trends

Omaha Beach wins the Arkansas Derby (Coady Photo/Oaklawn) Based on their birth dates, it appears that the 2019 Kentucky Derby contenders are skewing a bit younger than usual this year. You can usually count on there being a handful of January-born contenders, along with a few born in May, while the majority will have been born during the February/March/April window. But 2019 is shaping up to be a bit different. Not a single top 25 Derby contender was [...]

During Kentucky Derby Prep Season, Less is Often More

Possible Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach will have to break the "Smarty Jones Curse" in order to win the roses. Photo by Coady Photography While it used to be common for horses to employ busy prep schedules in advance of the Kentucky Derby, in recent years, Derby winners have been taking a “less is more” approach to their winter/spring racing action. Gone are the days when a Derby winner might run seven times as a 3-year-old prior to [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Who’s on the Bubble?

Anothertwistafate winning the El Camino Real Derby - © Vassar Photography/Shane Micheli How many qualification points will be required to run in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, and which horses will secure the last few slots in the starting gate? That’s the question everyone is asking now that the 2018-19 Road to the Kentucky Derby is complete, and the field of 20 horses is pretty much set. It would be set in stone ,except that there are still 19 [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Will Frustrations Continue for Dubai Shippers?

Plus Que Parfait winning the UAE Derby - © Dubai Racing Club/Mathea Kelley It’s safe to say that few (if any) major Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races have had less of an impact on the annual outcome at Churchill Downs than the UAE Derby (G2) at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Held five weeks before the first Saturday in May, the UAE Derby seems like an event that should produce major Kentucky Derby contenders. With a rich [...]

Plus Que Parfait Rebounds in UAE Derby

Plus Que Parfait winning the UAE Derby - © Dubai Racing Club/Mathea Kelley After being soundly defeated in two Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races at Fair Grounds this winter, it seemed as though the Derby trail had come to an end for Plus Que Parfait. But his undaunted connections persevered and set their sights on another target—the $2 million UAE Derby (UAE-II) at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, offering 100 Kentucky Derby qualification points to the winner. And [...]

Why I’m Betting Walking Thunder in the UAE Derby

Meydan Racecourse - Coady Photography The international roads to the Kentucky Derby will heat up significantly this weekend, with the $2 million UAE Derby (UAE-II) at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai being the main highlight. A major Road to the Kentucky Derby steppingstone offering 100 qualification points to the winner, the UAE Derby has never produced a Kentucky Derby champion, but it has produced plenty of Derby starters through the years and figures to produce one or two more [...]

War of Will Conquers Opposition in Lecomte Stakes

War of Will winning the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds - Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr. Saturday’s Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds was billed as a wide-open race that just about any of the dozen starters could potentially win. But when the dust settled, it was favored War of Will who raced to a resounding victory, crushing the field in the manner of a horse who was clearly superior on the day. Certainly War of [...]

How to Bet the Lecomte Stakes

War of Will breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Following a two-week break, the Road to the Kentucky Derby will resume on Saturday with the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (gr. III), the first of three Kentucky Derby prep races being held at Fair Grounds this winter. The race attracted 15 entrants, though at least two runners are expected to scratch, and with heavy rain in the forecast for Saturday, there’s no telling what might happen in [...]

Signalman Digs Deep in Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes

Signalman winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) - Coady Photography You can argue that luck played a significant role in allowing Signalman to reach the wire first in Saturday’s $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. But luck merely put Signalman in the position to win, and it was unquestionably his class and determination that sealed the deal. Facing a full field of thirteen rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Road to the Kentucky [...]