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 [...]

Maximum Security Finishes Fast in Florida Derby

Maximum Security winning the Florida Derby (gr. I) - © Adam Coglianese Photography The name of the game in Saturday’s $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park was “catch me if you can,” and when the dust settled, you could practically hear the front-running Maximum Security taunting his rivals as he pulled away down the homestretch to score a convincing victory in the 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race. Granted, the pace setup for Maximum [...]

5 Takeaways from the Fountain of Youth Stakes

Code of Honor winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes - © Adam Coglianese Photography A deep field, a fast pace, and a wild finish combined to make Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park one of the most interesting races so far on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Code of Honor, runner-up in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) last fall, was the star of the show, rebounding to his best form to score [...]

Why I’m Betting Well Defined in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes

Gulfstream Park (Coglianese Photos) When six horses head to the starting gate for Saturday’s $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park, most handicappers will have their eyes on #4 Code of Honor, and understandably so. Although the Mucho Macho Man is not an official Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race, the one-mile event serves as a stepping stone toward Gulfstream’s three Derby prep races and will mark the seasonal debut of the highly regarded Code of [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Game Winner the Early Leader

The field rounds the first turn of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Well, the 2018 Breeders’ Cup is in the history books, and you know what that means—it’s time to start looking ahead toward the 2019 Kentucky Derby! A handful of official prep races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby have already been run, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and less than six months remain until the first Saturday [...]

Why I’m Betting Against the Favorites in the Bold Ruler Handicap

Belmont Park - Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photography A turf horse switching to dirt and a lightly-raced runner making his first start off a 13-month layoff ensure that Saturday’s $200,000 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park will offer handicappers a tricky challenge despite attracting just six starters. The turf horse in question is #6 Delta Prince, who has spent the vast majority of his career as a capable turf miler. The Shug McGaughey-trained five-year-old does have a reasonably [...]

Complexity Uses His Speed to Dominate Champagne Stakes

Complexity winning the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography Pure speed is one of the greatest tactical advantages a racehorse can possess, and based on the results of Saturday’s $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park, there’s no doubt that Complexity has more than his fair share of pure speed. How can you beat a horse who can sprint you off your feet and just keep going? It isn’t easy, as Complexity’s nine [...]

Del Mar and Saratoga 2yos Analysis: Grade 1s Close Out the Meets

Instagrand winning the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO Although we’re nearing the conclusions of the 2018 summer meets at Del Mar and Saratoga, there’s still plenty of top-notch juvenile racing still to come. In fact, the meets are going to end with a bang in that respect! Saturday will see fillies take the stage in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) at Del Mar and the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) at [...]

Saratoga 2yos Analysis: Chad Brown On the Rise

The fourth weekend of the Saratoga meet featured a couple more graded stakes races for juveniles, including one that was essentially the definition of a closer-favoring race. The action kicked off on Saturday with the $200,000 Adirondack Stakes (gr. II), a 6 ½-furlong sprint for fillies contested over a drying-out main track labeled “good.” The track was a bit tiresome as a result, so you can imagine what happened when race favorite Lyrical Lady and longshot Mucho Amor wound up [...]

Saratoga 2yos Analysis: Steve Asmussen Keeps On Winning

Trainer Steve Asmussen (Photo by © Breeders' Cup/Ben Van Hook 2014) Just how deep is Steve Asmussen’s roster of talented young two-year-olds? No one can say for certain, because seemingly every week—or at times, every day—Asmussen unleashes another promising young runner. Last week at Saratoga, Asmussen won three juvenile races in the span of two days, and he would have won four over three days if not for a disqualification on Thursday. The disqualified runner was Super Simple, [...]