2019 Kentucky Derby: Contender Birth Dates and Historical Trends

Omaha Beach wins the Arkansas Derby (Coady Photo/Oaklawn) Based on their birth dates, it appears that the 2019 Kentucky Derby contenders are skewing a bit younger than usual this year. You can usually count on there being a handful of January-born contenders, along with a few born in May, while the majority will have been born during the February/March/April window. But 2019 is shaping up to be a bit different. Not a single top 25 Derby contender was [...]

During Kentucky Derby Prep Season, Less is Often More

Possible Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach will have to break the "Smarty Jones Curse" in order to win the roses. Photo by Coady Photography While it used to be common for horses to employ busy prep schedules in advance of the Kentucky Derby, in recent years, Derby winners have been taking a “less is more” approach to their winter/spring racing action. Gone are the days when a Derby winner might run seven times as a 3-year-old prior to [...]

2019 Kentucky Derby: Who’s on the Bubble?

Anothertwistafate winning the El Camino Real Derby - © Vassar Photography/Shane Micheli How many qualification points will be required to run in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, and which horses will secure the last few slots in the starting gate? That’s the question everyone is asking now that the 2018-19 Road to the Kentucky Derby is complete, and the field of 20 horses is pretty much set. It would be set in stone ,except that there are still 19 [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: A New Leader

Omaha Beach winning the Arkansas Derby (G1) - Coady Photography The final prep races have been run, the field is pretty much set, and less than three weeks remain until the 2019 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. It’s being called one of the most wide-open Kentucky Derbys in recent memory, but one thing seems certain—the California contingent is strong, as usual, with four of the five probable betting favorites. Not surprisingly those four are all ranked near the [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: It’s a Rather Perplexing Year

Roadster winning the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo I must admit, it’s getting harder and harder to compile my Kentucky Derby Top 10 rankings each week. Unlike last year, when the top contenders seemed pretty clear-cut at this point in the season, the 2019 Kentucky Derby picture remains completely wide-open with less than four weeks until the big race. I feel like I’m excluding some promising horses (the Blue Grass Stakes winner Vekoma being [...]

Vekoma Much the Best in Blue Grass Stakes

Vekoma winning the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) - Keeneland Photo With few exceptions, the top contenders in Saturday’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland ran to expectations as favored Vekoma led home a parade of short-priced, proven stakes winners in the 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race. Coming off of a third-place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, his seasonal debut, Vekoma took a nice [...]

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 [...]

Four 50-1 Shots to Consider in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3

Anothertwistafate winning the El Camino Real Derby - © Vassar Photography/Shane Micheli Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3 will be open for betting this weekend, just in time for a massive Saturday of racing that includes four Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races. Heralded youngsters like Game Winner, Improbable, and Instagrand are among the favorites on the morning line, but if you’re like many bettors and want to lock in a big price on a horse with [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Kentucky Derby Top 10: Code of Honor Returns

Code of Honor winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes - © Adam Coglianese Photography Code of Honor is back. Hidden Scroll is gone (at least temporarily). Roadster is moving up, Signalman is moving down, and that pretty much sums up the changes to my latest Kentucky Derby Top 10. The Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), won by Code of Honor in late-running fashion, was the main catalyst for change, but it was nothing compared to the action [...]