Keeler Johnson’s 2019 Belmont Stakes fair odds line

Intrepid Heart winning his debut at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography Upon release of the 2019 Belmont Stakes (G1) entries Tuesday evening, I immediately started work on my annual fair odds line for identifying wagering value. The concept behind my fair odds line is simple. For each horse in the field, I ask myself, “What are the chances of this horse reaching the winner’s circle?” After assigning a probability of winning to each horse (25%, 12.50%, etc.), I [...]

Running styles suggest slow pace in 2019 Belmont Stakes

The field breaks from the gate in the 2016 Belmont Stakes - Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photography Contrary to popular belief, the 1 1/2-mile distance of the Belmont Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park does not give an advantage to deep closers. The typically slow pace of the Belmont Stakes gives frontrunners and pressers/stalkers an advantage that is difficult for late runners to overcome. Since 2008 three horses (Da’ Tara, American Pharoah and Justify) have won the Belmont in gate-to-wire fashion, [...]

2019 Belmont Stakes Picks – Intrepid Heart a Solid Play

Tacitus winning the Wood Memorial (gr. II) at Aqueduct - © NYRA/Coglianese Photography None of Bob Baffert’s three-year-olds will run in the 2019 Belmont Stakes. Neither will Maximum Security or Country Horse. Nor will Global Campaign, the Peter Pan Stakes winner. Although all those horses won’t run on Saturday, June 8, it doesn’t mean the Belmont Stakes won’t be a competitive horse race. In fact, the race is so competitive, that it’s difficult to use both favorites, Tacitus [...]

Belmont Stakes Analysis – Spinoff & Tax

Tax winning the Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography/Joe Labozzetta The Todd Pletcher trained Spinoff had a horrible trip in the Kentucky Derby. After skipping the Preakness Stakes, Spinoff is back for a try at the 2019 Belmont Stakes. Tax, the Wood Memorial runner-up trained by Danny Gargan, also had a terrible trip in the Derby. Both Tax and Spinoff attempt to take the Test of Champions on Saturday, June 8. Check [...]

Which Horses Have the Best Chance to Win the Belmont Stakes?

Game Winner winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) - Coady Photography With entries due in less than two weeks, the field is slowly coming together for the final leg of the Triple Crown, the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 8 at Belmont Park. At least 11 horses are under consideration for the 1 1/2-mile “Test of the Champion,” and more could join the field during the coming weeks. The Belmont figures to come up deeper [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Horse-by-Horse Trip Notes

The finish of the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) - Coady Photography The 2019 Kentucky Derby will go down as one of the strangest and most controversial in history, but for handicappers, it’s just another race to dissect the same as any other. While most of the attention is being focused on the disqualified Maximum Security, the upgraded winner Country House and the troubled pair of War of Will and Long Range Toddy, it’s important for handicappers to take a [...]

How is Keeler Johnson Playing the 2019 Kentucky Derby?

Omaha Beach (right) holds off Game Winner (left) in the Rebel Stakes (G2) - Coady Photography While I’m still plotting out my wagering strategy for the 2019 Kentucky Derby, I’ve essentially nailed down my overall opinions of each horse and have determined whether I’ll be using them on my tickets. The Tuesday morning post position draw helped clarify my position on a few bubble contenders, including War of Will and Spinoff. I’ve sorted the 20 horses into four [...]

Who is Running in the 2019 Kentucky Derby?

Morning line favorite Omaha Beach drew post #12 in the 2019 Kentucky Derby - Coady Photography Omaha Beach was shaping up to be the favorite for the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1), even beforethe Tuesday morning post position draw at Churchill Downs, but when the talented colt drew favorably in post position #12, his status as favorite was most assuredly cemented. Omaha Beach was the penultimate horse to be assigned a post position, and there was a 50-50 chance [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby Jockey Assignments, Facts and Trends

Jockey Mike Smith aboard Kentucky Derby winner Justify - Coady Photography It is often said that jockeys are unable to make horses run beyond their abilities, but the difference between victory and defeat can come down to the skills of a rider in saving ground, timing moves correctly and riding hard to the finish line. That’s why the 20 jockeys who will compete in the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) include the most talented riders in North America. Leading [...]

Kentucky Derby Make the Case: Vekoma and Tax

Vekoma winning the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) - Keeneland Photo Not a lot of love is flowing towards Bluegrass Stakes winner Vekoma and Wood Memorial runner-up Tax. Nobody’s talking about either horse having a shot to win the May 4 Kentucky Derby. That might be an issue because both appear well-suited for decent Derby runs. First up? Vekoma. After making the case for and against Vekoma to win the Run for the Roses, we’ll turn our attention [...]