Royal Ascot: Spot plays for Day 4

Racing at Royal Ascot - Photo by Horsephotos.com The penultimate day of racing at the 2019 Royal Ascot meet features four more group stakes races, including a high-quality renewal of the Coronation Stakes (G1). Favorites have struggled during the first three days of the meet, perhaps in part because of the soft ground, but with the course drying out, the action might be a bit more predictable Friday. Let’s dig in and come up with a few spot [...]

Royal Ascot: Spot plays for Gold Cup day

Horses and jockeys during the 2017 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot - Photo by Horsephotos.com The highlight of the racing action on Day 3 of the 2019 Royal Ascot meeting is the Gold Cup (G1), a 2 1/2-mile test of stamina that ranks among my favorite races anywhere in the world. I’m also intrigued by the much shorter Norfolk Stakes (G2) for 2-year-olds, so let’s come up with a few plays for these two competitive events. Race [...]

Royal Ascot spot plays for a magical day of racing Wednesday

Magical (purple cap) battles with Enable (pink cap) in the 2018 Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) - © Casey Phillips/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM /Breeders Cup The second day of racing at Royal Ascot brings the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1), arguably the most anticipated race of the meet, thanks to its high-quality international field. Three other group stakes races support the Prince of Wales’s, with the Duke of Cambridge Stakes (G2) for fillies and mares my main interest from a handicapping [...]

Looking for longshots in the 2019 Epsom Derby

They call it the Derby for a reason—it’s the father of all Derbys, the race that started it all way back in 1780. Officially called the Investec Derby (G1) and held over 1 1/2 miles at Epsom, the great race has been dominated in recent years by Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has conditioned six winners since 2001. In his quest to secure a record-equaling seventh win in the Derby, Aidan O’Brien will send out seven of the 13 entrants [...]

Top Milers Prep for Royal Ascot in Lockinge Stakes

Horses and jockeys during the 2017 Queen Mary Stakes, Royal Ascot - Photo by Horsephotos.com The 2019 British flat racing season is well underway, and preparations are heating up for the prestigious five-day Royal Ascot meet in mid-June. The annual opening race at Royal Ascot is the Queen Anne Stakes (G1), a one-mile test that pits some of the best older milers in Europe—both male and female—against each other in a straight run down the long chute and [...]

U S S Michigan Seeks Kentucky Derby Berth in Cardinal Conditions Stakes

Churchill Downs - Coady Photography The European Road to the Kentucky Derby will conclude on Thursday with the running of the Cardinal Conditions Stakes at Chelmsford City in England, and I’d advise everyone to keep a close eye on what transpires in this one-mile race. Held over a Polytrack course similar in size and shape to Churchill Downs, the Cardinal Conditions Stakes has attracted nine starters, and while only two have been nominated to the Triple Crown, one of [...]

Sergei Prokofiev, Calyx Square Off in Coventry Stakes

Royal Procession. Queen Elizabeth the Second arriving at Royal Ascot - Photo by Horsephotos.com It’s not every day that horse racing fans can enjoy top-notch stakes races on a Tuesday, but then again, that’s part of what makes the Royal Ascot meeting in England so special. The prestigious five-day race meet at Ascot gets underway on June 19th, and while most of the attention will be on the three Group 1 stakes races, racing fans with an eye [...]

Mendelssohn Returns a Winner in Patton Stakes

Mendelssohn winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (Photo by Ting Shen/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) Another international candidate for the 2018 Kentucky Derby has arrived on the scene. Two days after Gronkowski threw his name in the ring with a late-running score in the Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes, the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I) winner Mendelssohn made his highly-anticipated return to action in the March 9th Patton Stakes at Dundalk in Ireland and secured the victory [...]

Will Kitasan Black Be Beaten in the Arima Kinen?

Kitasan Black winning the 2017 Tenno Sho (Autumn) - Photo courtesy of the Japan Racing Association The Japanese racing season will come to a spectacular climax on December 24th when Nakayama racecourse hosts the prestigious Arima Kinen (Jpn-I) at 2,500 meters (about 12.5 furlongs) on turf. With a purse of more than $5.3 million and a field determined in part by fan voting, the Arima Kinen is among the most eagerly-anticipated events on the Japanese racing calendar, particularly so [...]

Dubai Turf winner Vivlos favored in Queen Elizabeth II Cup

Crocosmia (right) and Vivlos meet again in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Kyoto. Pic: Japan Racing Association. Dubai Turf (G1) winner Vivlos seeks another grade one victory when she contests the 2,200-meter (about 1 3/8-mile) Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) for fillies and mares at Kyoto Nov. 12. Vivlos (Deep Impact), the winner of last year’s Shuka Sho (G1), the third leg of the fillies triple crown in Japan, went to Dubai and beat Ribchester, the subsequent [...]