Shapiros’ Fair Odds Line for the 150th Running of the Belmont Stakes

Justify winning the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) - Jim McCue Photography Last week I did a preliminary Fair Odds line for the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes, but after further research and the post-position draw here is my final rendition: #1 Justify (Even money) - The undefeated dual Classic winner obviously has a ton going for him, including tactical speed that allows him to make the lead or stalk just off the early pace. However, regressing numbers [...]

2018 Kentucky Derby: Who’s On the Bubble?

The Twin Spires at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Who’s in and who’s out? That’s a question that be asked repeatedly during the next two weeks as the 2018 Kentucky Derby approaches. The last two Derby prep races—the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) and the Lexington Stakes (gr. III)—were held on Saturday, so all of the Kentucky Derby qualification points have been assigned and the field of twenty horses is more-or-less set in stone. However, history suggests that there [...]

Vino Rosso Rebounds With Wood Memorial Victory

Vino Rosso winning the Wood Memorial (gr. II) - Photo by Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photography On paper, Saturday’s $1 million Wood Memorial (gr. II) at Aqueduct wasn’t the strongest of the day's three Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races, but the end result was a quality event that that could have a significant impact on the Triple Crown. The clear favorite in the nine-furlong race was the two-time graded stakes winner Enticed, winner of the Gotham Stakes (gr. [...]

How to Bet the Wood Memorial

The massive weekend of Triple Crown prep action includes the $750,000 Grade 2 Wood Memorial. The mile and an eighth event run over the Aqueduct dirt offers 175 qualifying points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” leaderboard with 100 going to the victor. The featured event on the 11-race card drew a field of 9 led by Grade 3 Gotham Stakes winner #5 Enticed. The son of Medaglia d’Oro was extremely impressive in that last victory earning a 104 [...]

Will Vino Rosso Upset the Wood Memorial?

Enticed winning the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct - Photo by Coglianese Photography Call me stubborn, but I’m hoping that the third time will be the charm for my top pick in Saturday’s $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct. I have felt since last year that #9 Vino Rosso—a well-bred son of Curlin out of a Street Cry mare—has the potential to be a big player on the Triple Crown trail. Conditioned by the two-time [...]

How to Bet the San Vicente Stakes

Saturday’s action at Santa Anita Park features three graded stakes events starting in Race 4 with the Grade 2 Santa Maria featuring Unique Bella and concluding in Race 6 with the Grade 2 San Vicente for three-year-olds. The San Vicente does not reward the top finishers with qualifying points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” leaderboard, but has been used as a springboard onto bigger and better things by the likes of 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 — 2/6/18

Audible winning the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park - Photo by Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photography It was a very busy weekend on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, with three official prep races and a seemingly endless number of maiden and allowance races giving fans plenty to analyze and consider. Most eyes were focused on the stakes races, which saw Audible score a convincing win in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II), Avery Island rebound with [...]

Promising Juveniles Face Off in Santa Anita Maiden Race

Bob Baffert at Saratoga - Photo by Courtney Heeney/Coglianese Photography If you’re keeping an eye on the road to the Kentucky Derby this winter, then you’ll definitely want to pay attention to Saturday’s second race at Santa Anita. Seven horses are entered in the 8.5-furlong maiden special weight for two-year-olds, and several of them have already garnered reputations as colts to watch this winter. Whichever horse prevails will surely be bound for a Derby prep race in the [...]