Reflections on My Up-and-Down Derby Week Handicapping

Maximum Security and Country House battle to the wire in the Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography From a handicapping and wagering perspective, Kentucky Derby week at Churchill Downs was a mixed bag for me. If I’m being honest, the week got off on the wrong foot when my confident top choice for the Derby—Omaha Beach­­—scratched from the race with an entrapped epiglottis, which sent me scurrying to regroup and rethink my plays. Overall, the week was filled with [...]

When and Where to Watch the 2019 Preakness Stakes

Justify winning the Preakness Stakes (G1) - Jim McCue Photography The 144th running of the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1) is coming up May 18 at Pimlico, and considering the drama and controversy that surrounded the outcome of the Kentucky Derby, there’s no telling what the action in Baltimore might yield. In a perfect world we would all travel to Baltimore to watch the race in person, but for those of us who can’t make the trip, NBC Sports [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Preakness Stakes Top 5

Anothertwistafate winning the El Camino Real Derby - © Vassar Photography/Shane Micheli Most years you can expect the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico to be won by a tried-and-true Triple Crown contender who ran in the Kentucky Derby (G1) two weeks prior. The stats are impressive: 31 of the last 35 Preakness winners exited a start in the Kentucky Derby. So it’s safe to say “new shooters” have been at a disadvantage in the second leg of the [...]

Which Horses Will Run in the 2019 Preakness Stakes?

Improbable winning the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) - © Benoit Photo Which horses are expected to compete in the 2019 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico? At this point, a better question might be “which horses are not expected to compete in the Preakness?” The potential field for the second leg of the Triple Crown is still in flux, but it’s safe to say the biggest names will be absent from the May 18 classic. Country House, the official [...]

Alwaysmining Stands Out in Federico Tesio Stakes

When six horses line up to contest the $125,000 Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park, it’s hard to imagine any outcome other than a resounding victory for #2 Alwaysmining. On paper the son of Stay Thirsty towers over the field and will be an overwhelming favorite to claim victory in the 1 1/8-mile race, which serves as a prep for the Preakness Stakes (G1) four weeks from now. Speed figures? Alwaysmining has fired off four straight 91+ BRIS speed ratings, [...]

Owendale Impresses in Lexington Stakes

Owendale winning the Lexington Stakes (gr. III) - Keeneland Photo What a difference two months can make. After failing to challenge when finishing eighth in the Feb. 16 Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds, Owendale looked like a completely different horse in the April 13 Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, producing a sweeping rally from off the pace to triumph in eye-catching fashion. A wide but clean trip may have been the key factor for Owendale. Under a [...]

Why I’m Betting Eagle Song in the El Camino Real Derby

King of Speed winning the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes - © Benoit Photo The last few years have certainly been tough sledding for local runners in the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. Not even their proven experience over a synthetic Tapeta track unique to California has been enough to give the Northern California locals an edge over their Southern California counterparts. Seemingly every year, an experienced turf horse from Santa Anita and/or Del [...]

Year in Review: The Best Race of 2018

Justify winning the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) - Jim McCue Photography Horse racing fans were treated to some highly memorable moments in 2018. From Justify’s sweep of the Triple Crown to Accelerate’s season-defining victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the racing year was packed with exciting action and thrilling finishes. As a result, trying to define the single greatest race of the year is a task easier said than done, and one fraught with caveats and clarifications. Are [...]

Deciphering Track Biases, Part 1

Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Track biases… is there a more mysterious aspect of handicapping horse races? Maybe, but I'm not sure what it would be. In essence, track biases are simple enough. Their name says it all—some tracks can be biased toward horses racing on the lead, or horses rallying from off the pace. Other tracks can favor horses racing on the inside; other times, the inside is deeper, and horses racing on the outside have an [...]