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 [...]

Tacitus Breaks Through in Tampa Bay Derby

Tacitus winning the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) - Photo by SV Photography Early speed, middle moves, late rallies, a wild finish with a half-dozen horses in the hunt—from start to finish, the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) at Tampa Bay Downs had it all. Ultimately, it was Bill Mott’s lightly-raced Tacitus who emerged from the fray victorious in the Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race, which was no small feat considering that Tacitus was racing [...]

How to Bet the 2019 Tampa Bay Derby

Win Win Win winning the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs - Photo by SV Photography I don’t know if he’s the most likely winner—that’s a tough call—but I do believe that #7 Win Win Win has the most raw talent of any horse entered in the March 9, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) at Tampa Bay Downs. The obstacles facing this son of Hat Trick are formidable. Primarily, he’s never run farther than seven furlongs, and [...]

How to Bet the Blue Grass Stakes

Despite the potential of weather that emulates the winter, it is opening weekend at beautiful Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky. The track that will soon be roughly 60 miles from my residence wastes no time jumping into high quality action with a ten-race card on Friday followed up by a stakes laden Saturday that includes three Grade 1’s spread over the 11-race slate. The headliner on the first of three Saturday cards at Keeneland this spring is the one [...]

Quip Posts 19-1 Upset in Tampa Bay Derby

Quip winning the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) - SV Photography We’ve seen some significant upsets so far on the Kentucky Derby trail, more than in recent years, and the trend of longshot winners continued on March 10th when Quip posted a 19-1 upset in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) at Tampa Bay Downs. On paper, the 8.5-furlong race was supposed to feature a battle for the lead between the speedy World of Trouble and the [...]

Three graded stakes events headline a solid late Pick 4 sequence on Tampa Bay Derby Day

After a massive Saturday of racing last weekend at Gulfstream Park, things heat up on Florida’s west coast this weekend with the running of the Grade 2 $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby. The mile and a sixteenth event over the main track is one of three Kentucky Derby prep races held in North America this Saturday that reward 50 qualifying points to the victor and marks the eleventh race on Tampa’s twelve race card. A late Pick 4 sequence that includes [...]

Keying Vino Rosso in the Tampa Bay Derby

Flameaway winning the Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) - © SV Photography Should Tampa Bay Downs ever choose to rename the $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II), the “Todd Pletcher Derby” might be a fitting title. After all, the Hall of Fame trainer has dominated the 8.5-furlong Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race in recent years, winning in 2004, 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017. For good measure Pletcher, also finished second and third in [...]