Rating the 2019 Kentucky Derby Prep Races

Omaha Beach winning the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography As we head into the final round of Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races, now seems like a good time to look back at the 17 North American prep races already run this year and assign a rating to each one. My ratings—based on a scale of 1 to 5—attempt to blend the apparent strength of each race on paper with its potential [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: Gunmetal Gray

Gunmetal Gray winning the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita - © Benoit Photo The most hyped 2019 Kentucky Derby contender in Jerry Hollendorfer’s barn is certainly the undefeated Instagrand, but in terms of accomplishments to date it’s hard to deny that Hollendorfer’s steadily-progressing Gunmetal Gray has surpassed his stablemate. He might not have the flashiest pedigree, being by Exchange Rate out of the allowance-winning Include mare Classofsixtythree, but what his pedigree lacks in flash it makes up for with [...]

Gunmetal Gray Rallies to Victory in Sham Stakes

Gunmetal Gray winning the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita - © Benoit Photo When the dust settled in the aftermath of Saturday’s $100,000 Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita, racing fans were surely left scratching their heads over one of the strangest Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races in recent memory. Much of the pre-race hype centered around Bob Baffert’s promising debut winner Coliseum, a quirky son of Tapit who started as the overwhelming 3-5 favorite. [...]

Keying Coliseum in the Sham Stakes

Bob Baffert at Saratoga - Photo by Courtney Heeney/Coglianese Photography Remember 2017, when Gormley “upset” American Athem in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita and paid a whopping $5.20 to win? Remarkably, that modest payoff has been the highest in the Sham since the one-mile event became a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race in 2013. During that same timeframe, the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has started horses in five editions of the [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: The Calm Before the Storm

Instagrand winning the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO Just as we’re on the verge of entering 2019, we’re also on the verge of entering a new stage on the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Derby. Things have been quiet over the last couple of weeks, but that will change when the two-year-olds of today turn three years old on January 1st. The Derby prep races will kick off immediately thereafter with [...]

Keying Surprise Entrant McKinzie in the Sham Stakes

McKinzie (inside) in the homestretch of the Los Alamitos Futurity (© Benoit Photo) Talk about a last-minute surprise! When entries were taken for Saturday’s $100,000 Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita, a small but competitive field was expected for the one-mile Kentucky Derby prep race. Then trainer Bob Baffert entered his up-and-coming Grade 1 winner #6 McKinzie and the complexion of the race changed entirely. On paper, McKinzie looms as a standout in the Sham Stakes. The son [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10 – 1/2/18

Principe Guilherme winning an allowance race at Fair Grounds (Hodges Photography) Well, 2018 has arrived, the juvenile stars of last year are officially three years old, and it’s time for things to get serious on the road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Actually, the road would already be underway if cold weather hadn’t led to the cancellation of the Jerome Stakes (gr. III) on New Year’s Day at Aqueduct. The race is expected to be rescheduled and held [...]

Weekly Stakes Wrap-Up for January 13, 2014

by John DaSilva With the absence of Game on Dude, the handicap division in Southern California looked to be wide open.  But Blueskiesnrainbows has changed all that, quickly developing into the second best older horse in training in Southern California after wiring the field in the Grade 2 $200,500 San Pasqual Stakes.  The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee was sent to lead by Martin Pedroza and never looked back, setting relaxed fractions and defeating Majestic Harbor by 1 1/4 lengths.  While he [...]

By |January 13th, 2014|Categories: RacingWire|Tags: |