How to Bet the Southwest Stakes

Sueno galloping at Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography When I started handicapping the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (gr. III) on Presidents’ Day at Oaklawn Park, I initially began by trying to separate the six runners coming out of last month’s Smarty Jones Stakes. I took note of the fact that #1 Gray Attempt won the Smarty Jones in gate-to-wire fashion, tenaciously clinging to a narrow advantage down the homestretch while giving the impression that he was in better control [...]

Kentucky Derby, Oaks Candidates Face Off in Japan’s Hyacinth Stakes

Tokyo Racecourse (Photo courtesy of the Japan Racing Association) If you’re a forward-looking handicapper already anticipating major spring races like the UAE Derby, Kentucky Derby, and Kentucky Oaks, then I encourage you to stay up late on Saturday night and check out the Hyacinth Stakes in Japan. Held over a metric mile at Tokyo Racecourse, the Hyacinth (which technically takes place at 12:25 a.m. Eastern on Sunday Morning) serves as the third leg of the Japan Road to [...]

Why I’m Betting Eagle Song in the El Camino Real Derby

King of Speed winning the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes - © Benoit Photo The last few years have certainly been tough sledding for local runners in the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. Not even their proven experience over a synthetic Tapeta track unique to California has been enough to give the Northern California locals an edge over their Southern California counterparts. Seemingly every year, an experienced turf horse from Santa Anita and/or Del [...]

How to Bet the San Vicente Stakes

Santa Anita - Photo by © Breeders' Cup/Todd Buchanan 2014 Trainer Bob Baffert has won the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita on nine occasions, and since he’ll be sending out two of the five starters in Sunday’s renewal of the seven-furlong sprint, it stands to reason that he’ll have a strong chance to win a tenth. Baffert’s two runners are #2 Coliseum and #3 Dessman, the favorites on the morning line at 6-5 and 5-2. [...]

How to Bet the Las Virgenes Stakes

Bellafina winning the Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO In my opinion, the only way to make a meaningful profit playing Saturday’s $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita is to play the exotics straight and hope that your selections are absolutely perfect. Just five three-year-old fillies have been entered in this one-mile Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep race, and on paper, the four-time graded stakes winner #3 Bellafina towers [...]

Picks and Plays for Louisiana Premier Night at Delta Downs

Monte Man winning the Heitai Stakes - Photo by Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr Saturday night is Louisiana Premier Night at Delta Downs, a special day of racing with ten stakes events packed into a twelve-race card that kicks off at 6:25 p.m. Eastern. The card is naturally stacked with multi-race wagers, including rolling doubles and Pick 3s. Let’s go through the stakes races and look for some plays…. Race 2: Starlet Stakes #1 Midnight Fantasy has [...]

Dubai Carnival Update: Walking Thunder Carries Derby Dreams for Dubai

Thunder Snow winning the 2018 Dubai World Cup - Coady Photography From the deserts of the Middle East to the bluegrass of Kentucky, who’s coming to Churchill Downs by way of Dubai? With 170 Kentucky Derby qualification points on the line in the March 30 UAE Derby (UAE-II) at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, we're bound to see one or two horses use the desert challenge as a springboard to Churchill Downs. Although no UAE Derby starter has ever [...]

Track Condition Could Be Key Factor in Robert B. Lewis Stakes

Mucho Gusto winning the Bob Hope Stakes (gr. III) at Del Mar - © Benoit Photo Regardless of Albert Hammond’s opinion that “It Never Rains in Southern California,” the weather figures to have quite an impact on the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita. There’s plenty of rain in the forecast between now and Saturday afternoon, when the 1 1/16-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race will be contested, but remember, the main [...]

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 [...]

Is Maximus Mischief Vulnerable in the Holy Bull Stakes?

Maximus Mischief winning the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography/Chelsea Durand When ten horses line up to face the starter in Saturday’s $350,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, all eyes will be on the heavy favorite #8 Maximus Mischief. On paper, this 8.5-furlong Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race should be a walk in the park for Maximus Mischief. The son of Into Mischief compiled a perfect 3-for-3 [...]