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 [...]

Owendale Impresses in Lexington Stakes

Owendale winning the Lexington Stakes (gr. III) - Keeneland Photo What a difference two months can make. After failing to challenge when finishing eighth in the Feb. 16 Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds, Owendale looked like a completely different horse in the April 13 Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, producing a sweeping rally from off the pace to triumph in eye-catching fashion. A wide but clean trip may have been the key factor for Owendale. Under a [...]

Why I’m Betting Anothertwistafate in the Lexington Stakes

Anothertwistafate winning the El Camino Real Derby - © Vassar Photography/Shane Micheli When ten horses line up to contest Saturday’s $200,000 Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, the one sure bet is that I’ll be all-in with my support of #4 Anothertwistafate. The 1 1/16-mile race serves as a final, desperate qualifier for the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1), and offers 20 qualifications points to the winner. Those points alone are unlikely to yield a spot in the starting gate, but [...]

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 [...]

Spot Plays for Southwest Stakes Day at Oaklawn Park

Jack Van Berg breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography High-class Monday racing action isn’t common, but Oaklawn Park is making an exception by scheduling three graded stakes races for February 18, Presidents’ Day. It’s a fun card with a lot of options, so let’s go through the fields and look for some spot plays…. Race 3: Maiden Special Weight There are some promising first-time starters in this race, including #1 Good as Money (a Calumet [...]

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. [...]