2019 Kentucky Derby: Contender Birth Dates and Historical Trends

Omaha Beach wins the Arkansas Derby (Coady Photo/Oaklawn) Based on their birth dates, it appears that the 2019 Kentucky Derby contenders are skewing a bit younger than usual this year. You can usually count on there being a handful of January-born contenders, along with a few born in May, while the majority will have been born during the February/March/April window. But 2019 is shaping up to be a bit different. Not a single top 25 Derby contender was [...]

During Kentucky Derby Prep Season, Less is Often More

Possible Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach will have to break the "Smarty Jones Curse" in order to win the roses. Photo by Coady Photography While it used to be common for horses to employ busy prep schedules in advance of the Kentucky Derby, in recent years, Derby winners have been taking a “less is more” approach to their winter/spring racing action. Gone are the days when a Derby winner might run seven times as a 3-year-old prior to [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Who’s on the Bubble?

Anothertwistafate winning the El Camino Real Derby - © Vassar Photography/Shane Micheli How many qualification points will be required to run in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, and which horses will secure the last few slots in the starting gate? That’s the question everyone is asking now that the 2018-19 Road to the Kentucky Derby is complete, and the field of 20 horses is pretty much set. It would be set in stone ,except that there are still 19 [...]

Vekoma Much the Best in Blue Grass Stakes

Vekoma winning the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) - Keeneland Photo With few exceptions, the top contenders in Saturday’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland ran to expectations as favored Vekoma led home a parade of short-priced, proven stakes winners in the 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race. Coming off of a third-place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, his seasonal debut, Vekoma took a nice [...]

How to Bet the Blue Grass Day All-Stakes Pick 4

Amy's Challenge winning the Dixie Belle Stakes - Coady Photography The first Saturday of the 2019 Keeneland spring meet is a typical stakes-packed card highlighted by the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II), a major prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The Blue Grass also serves as the last leg of an all-stakes Pick 4 that features large fields and 13,104 possible outcomes before scratches. It will be a difficult sequence to hit, but [...]

Why I’m Betting Signalman in the Blue Grass Stakes

Signalman winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) - Coady Photography To be honest, you could pick a name out of a hat and probably have as good a chance at picking the winner of Saturday’s $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland as any handicapper employing a more analytical approach. That’s because this 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race has attracted a full field of fourteen starters without any particular standouts. [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Where to Rank Maximum Security?

Maximum Security winning the Florida Derby (gr. I) - © Adam Coglianese Photography With barely more than a month remaining until the 2019 Kentucky Derby, the race remains as wide-open as ever. Two more upset victories in the Florida Derby (gr. I) and UAE Derby (UAE-II) did little to clarify the Derby picture; if anything, the prospective field has become even more perplexing. You know it’s a strange year when a 71-1 maiden can finish second in the [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Tacitus Joins, Hidden Scroll Returns

Tacitus winning the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) - Photo by SV Photography The indefinite suspension of racing and training at Santa Anita has thrown a monkey wrench into the plans for Game Winner and Improbable, delaying their scheduled returns to action by one week. Nevertheless, they remain at the top of my Kentucky Derby Top 10 despite a busy weekend that saw Tacitus upset the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II), Haikal rally to victory in the Gotham [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Code of Honor Returns

Code of Honor winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes - © Adam Coglianese Photography Code of Honor is back. Hidden Scroll is gone (at least temporarily). Roadster is moving up, Signalman is moving down, and that pretty much sums up the changes to my latest Kentucky Derby Top 10. The Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), won by Code of Honor in late-running fashion, was the main catalyst for change, but it was nothing compared to the action [...]

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 [...]