2019 Kentucky Derby Free Picks: Building Tickets Around Maximum Security

Maximum Security wins Florida Derby(Coglianese Photos) I’m a huge believer in Brisnet speed ratings. So much so, that four of my top five picks for the 2019 Kentucky Derby are horses with the highest Brisnet speed ratings in their last races. That means I’m leaving all three Bob Baffert horses, Game Winner, Improbable, and Roadster, out of my Top 5. I do include Omaha Beach, though. Check out my 2019 Kentucky Derby Top 5. I’m only switching things [...]

Shapiro’s Top Contenders Eight Days Out From the 2019 Kentucky Derby

The field rounds the first turn of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography We are eight days away from the 2019 Kentucky Derby, and you can feel the excitement in the air more and more each morning at legendary Churchill Downs. With half of the field still to arrive in Louisville over the next few days, it is far too early to lock down my top choices for this year’s Run [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Trainers, Facts and Trends

Bode Baffert (and Mike Smith) holds up the Derby trophy as his father, trainer Bob Baffert (second from left), enjoys the moment after Justify won the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs (Skip Dickstein/Times Union) Some of the best-known trainers in North American horse racing will be represented by major contenders in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, but as usual, the “Run for the Roses” will make room for a few newcomers as well. Sixteen different [...]

Kentucky Derby Make the Case: Omaha Beach and By My Standards

Omaha Beach winning the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) - Coady Photography The 2019 Kentucky Derby is so deep it only makes sense to discuss the chances of the likely favorite winning in the same blog about the chances of one of the longest shots on the board. Omaha Beach should enter the Kentucky Derby as either the first, co-first, or second choice. Omaha Beach has beaten Game Winner and Improbable in his last couple of races. He looks [...]

Kentucky Derby Rankings Updated Top 5

Maximum Security impressed so much winning the Grade 1 Florida Derby this past Saturday that he immediately jumps to the top of my Derby Rankings. The former maiden claimer took the lead and dominated. Could he do that on the First Saturday in May? Maybe. Who knows? It’s not like any horse outside of Maximum Security has turned into the superstar ala Justify last year. A horse could after this Saturday when three major prep races: the Santa Anita Derby, [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: Omaha Beach

Omaha Beach (right) holds off Game Winner (left) in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) - Coady Photography It’s been a big year for War Front on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The 17-year-old Claiborne Farm stallion has already made headlines as the sire of two-time graded stakes winner War of Will, and on Saturday, War Front was back in the spotlight again when his son Omaha Beach fought to a valiant victory in the second division of [...]

Omaha Beach Defeats Game Winner in Rebel Stakes Division 2

Omaha Beach winning the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography It was a sight to behold—two top-class Kentucky Derby candidates flying to the finish line of the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park, leaving their rivals far, far behind while battling courageously to the wire. Both ran so gallantly, it was a shame there had to be a loser. But when they flashedacross the finish line, it was the up-and-coming Omaha Beach [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Eight Unraced Nominees to Remember

Justify winning the Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography It seems hard to believe, but last year at this time, Triple Crown winner Justify was still a week away from his career debut. Perhaps emboldened by the extraordinary success of the colt who shattered the “Apollo Curse,” seventy unraced horses have been nominated to the 2019 Triple Crown, including three who haven’t even been named yet. If you’re in the mood to look for the second coming of Justify [...]

Del Mar 2yos Analysis: Bellafina Impresses, Instagrand Steps Up

Bellafina winning the Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO Bellafina didn’t really look like a star in the making when she finished second in her debut at Los Alamitos last month. But boy, she presented an entirely different appearance in the $200,000 Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) on Sunday at Del Mar! The Sorrento, an early prep race on the road to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), was the top juvenile race [...]

How to Bet the Rancho Bernardo Stakes on Sunday at Del Mar

©Benoit Photo The final graded stakes race of the week at Del Mar is the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap. The six-and-a-half-furlong event over the main track drew a compact field of 6 led by last year’s winner #4 Skye Diamonds. The five-year-old mare put forth a pair of triple digit BRIS speed ratings despite finishing third twice in her first two tries of 2018, but has tailed off considerably since then. The Cal-bred flopped big time over [...]