Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Network Effect Rejoins the List

Signalman winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) - Coady Photography Last week was relatively quiet on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, so there hasn’t been much change to my Kentucky Derby Top 10. I guess that’s to be expected since half the horses on my list haven’t even run yet this year. That includes Network Effect, who’s back on the work tab and back on my list following a brief hiatus. Just missing the cut [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Who’s On, Who’s Gone?

Tax winning the Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography/Joe Labozzetta Another week, another meaningful shake-up in my weekly Kentucky Derby Top 10. Following a somewhat disappointing series of Saturday prep races, I have chosen to drop Maximus Mischief and Gunmetal Gray from my list, while weekend winners Tax and Extra Hope are joining the fray for the first time. Here’s how they stack up with less than 90 days util the Kentucky [...]

Pros and Cons of the Weekend Derby Prep Winners

Mucho Gusto winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) - © Benoit Photo Last weekend was a big one on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with three major prep races being held across the country, but if we’re perfectly honest, the results—while intriguing—came up a little disappointing. A sloppy, sealed track led to the scratch of highly-regarded Nolo Contesto from the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita, which allowed Mucho Gusto to romp [...]

Tax Rallies Inside to Win Rough Running of Withers Stakes

Tax winning the Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography/Joe Labozzetta It was a messy race from start to finish, but when the dust settled it was the 2-1 favorite Tax who emerged victorious in the $250,000 Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, gamely rallying up the rail to prevail in a three-way photo finish. It all began when the gates opened and the seven starters were dispatched to a rather ragged start. [...]

How to Bet the Withers Stakes

Aqueduct (Coglianese Photo) For a race with only seven starters, there’s a surprising amount of depth and talent in Saturday’s $250,000 Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct. I say “surprising” in part because the Withers is a nine-furlong Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race being held in the cold month of February up at Aqueduct in New York, and the race usually comes up a little light on quality. But this year, the Withers has attracted three [...]

Maximus Mischief Handles Class, Distance Tests in Remsen Stakes

Maximus Mischief winning the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography/Chelsea Durand Big steps up in both class and distance can be problematic for some horses, but they were certainly no obstacle for Maximus Mischief in Saturday’s $250,000 Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct, as the speedy colt kept his unbeaten record intact with another eye-catching victory. With qualifications points for the 2019 Kentucky Derby on the line, the 1 1/8-mile Remsen marked [...]

How to Bet the Exotics in the Remsen Stakes

Network Effect winning his debut at Saratoga - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography If you’re among the many handicappers who figure to place their betting dollars on #5 Network Effect in Saturday’s $250,000 Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct, I certainly can’t blame you. What’s not to like? He’s got the powerful team of trainer Chad Brown and jockey Javier Castellano in his corner, and he’s done little wrong in two starts to date. After breaking his maiden by [...]