Pick 4 Plays for Charles Town Classic Day

Lake Ponchatrain winning the Pink Ribbon Stakes at Charles Town - Coady Photography If you’re planning to watch and wager on the $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2) Saturday at Charles Town, I strongly recommend you tune in early to catch the numerous stakes races earlier on the card. Eight stakes races (the first at 2:17 p.m. ET) are scheduled for the afternoon, and they’re arranged in consecutively, without a single allowance or claiming race stuck in between. The [...]

How to Bet the 2019 Wood Memorial

Tacitus winning the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) - Photo by SV Photography There are plenty of promising and accomplished runners to consider in Saturday’s $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct, 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race that has attracted eleven entrants. I’ve taken a look at the five morning line favorites and have divided them into two categories—“For,” containing the horses that I like best, and “Against,” featuring the short-priced runners that [...]

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 [...]

Cutting Humor Edges Anothertwistafate in Sunland Derby

Cutting Humor after winning the Sunland Derby (gr. III) - © Coady Photography/Sunland Park In a clear-cut demonstration of how trips can affect the performance of a racehorse, Cutting Humor had the last laugh in the $800,000 Sunland Derby (gr. III) at Sunland Park, parlaying a clean run into a gallant victory in the Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the son of First Samurai entered the Sunland Derby off a troubled seventh-place [...]

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 [...]

How to Bet the Sunland Derby

Mucho Gusto winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) - © Benoit Photo There’s certainly no shortage of early speed entered in the March 24 Sunland Derby (gr. III) at Sunland Park, which could potentially make things tricky for the two morning line favorites in this Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race. Those two would be #1 Mucho Gusto and #2 Anothertwistafate, who are shipping in from California with an eye on taking down the winner’s [...]

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 [...]