Kentucky Derby Make the Case: Maximum Security and Spinoff

Maximum Security wins Florida Derby(Coglianese Photos) Because 20 horses enter into the Kentucky Derby starting gate, there’s a chance that many runners will offer overlay odds. Two of those horses offering overlay odds on May 4 should be the Todd Pletcher trained Spinoff and the Florida Derby winner, Maximum Security. Both are quality three-year-olds who deserve to be in the starting gate. But, questions surround both, which is why to get a real idea of whether either has [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Omaha Beach Stays on Top

Code of Honor wins Fountain of Youth Stakes (Coglianese Photos/Leslie Martin) Now that the Kentucky Derby prep races are complete, it’s safe to say morning training sessions have moved to the forefront of everyone’s attention as the Derby draws nearer. I haven’t seen anything in the various workouts and gallops to strongly shift my opinions of the top contenders, but that could change over the next week or so, as the 20 Derby candidates wrap up their serious [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

Pletcher Heats Up with Two Derby Qualifiers; More on the Way?

Cutting Humor after winning the Sunland Derby (gr. III) - © Coady Photography/Sunland Park Trainer Todd Pletcher has won two Kentucky Derbies, has saddled more Derby starters (52) than any other trainer in history, and has sent out at least one Derby starter every year since 2004. Yet until recently, there appeared to be a chance that Pletcher would be without a Kentucky Derby starter for 2019. His best three-year-olds just weren’t making headlines, and you had to [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Anothertwistafate Impresses the Most

By My Standards winning the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) - © Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr. This year’s Road to the Kentucky Derby prep season has been filled with memorable upsets, so it’s only fitting that the two big races last week saw two more odds-on favorites fall to defeat. War of Will, previously ranked fifth in my Kentucky Derby Top 10, finished ninth in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) but came out of the race with a muscle [...]

By My Standards Upsets the Louisiana Derby

By My Standards winning the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) - © Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr. The trend of upset victories in Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races continued on Saturday when By My Standards produced a big rally up the inside to post a 22-1 upset victory in the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds. At the start of the race, all eyes were won the 4-5 favorite War of Will, who was expected [...]

How to Bet the Louisiana Derby

War of Will winning the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) © Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr. I don’t think anyone will deny that #6 War of Will is going to be tough to beat in the March 23 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds. The 1 1/8-mile races kicks off the final round of Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races offering 100 qualification points to the winner. War of Will hardly needs them; after all, he’s [...]