Will Escape Clause Upset the Apple Blossom Handicap?

Midnight Bisou (far right) edging Elate (far left) in the Azeri Stakes - Coady Phototgraphy There are only six fillies and mares entered in Sunday’s $750,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at Oaklawn Park, but I’d argue that you won’t find a higher-quality field anywhere in the country this weekend. Five graded stakes winners, two grade 1 winners, and a two-time Canadian classic winner are among the entrants, which is why—despite what the tote board might try to tell [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff Top 10: Abel Tasman Stays On Top

Abel Tasman edging Elate in the Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) - Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Viola Jasko Since posting my first Top 10 list of contenders for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I), the complexion of the race has changed significantly. The retirement of Unique Bella was certainly a blow, as was the injury that knocked the promising three-year-old Red Ruby out of Distaff contention. But since then, a few other promising runners have emerged on the [...]

How to Bet the Travers Stakes

Good Magic winning the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) - Keeneland Photo No matter how you slice it, Saturday’s $1,250,000 Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga is the best race of this coming weekend. With its hefty purse, huge field, challenging 1 ¼-mile distance, and competitive list of entrants, the Travers Stakes is certainly the most prestigious race of the week, and it promises to be a fantastic betting race as well. Truthfully, a case can be made [...]

Synthetic to Dirt: A Valuable, Overlooked Angle

Wonder Gadot winning the Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography Although the glory days of synthetic racetracks seem to be over in North America—tracks like Santa Anita, Del Mar, and Keeneland have all gone back to dirt in recent years—many synthetic racing surfaces remain installed at tracks across the continent and can provide tricky challenges for handicappers. Everyone understands that dirt and turf are two very different racing surfaces, but where do [...]

Top Programs for 2yos, 3yos Highlight 2018 Saratoga Stakes Schedule

Saratoga - Photo by Adam Mooshian/Coglianese Photos Summer may have officially arrived in June, but for horsemen, racing fans, and bettors, the season doesn’t truly begin until the annual summer meets at Del Mar and Saratoga open for business in mid-July. Both meets are packed with rich stakes races that are expected to attract some of the most accomplished runners in the nation, as well as some of the most promising two-year-olds with 2019 Triple Crown aspirations. We’ve [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff Top 10 – 7/9/18

Abel Tasman winning the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) - Coady Photography In recent years, we’ve been treated to some truly memorable renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I), and the 2018 edition at Churchill Downs is shaping up to be yet another terrific race. With a prospective field that’s packed with champions, Grade 1 winners, and intriguing up-and-comers, the Distaff should be among the highlights of this year’s Breeders’ Cup. Here’s how I rank the top contenders…. [...]

How to Bet the Queen’s Plate Stakes

Telekinesis (yellow silks) finishing second in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland - Keeneland Photo/Coady Photography Big fields mean big payoffs, or at least that’s the way it usually works. And you won’t find a bigger field in North American this weekend than the group of sixteen horses that will face the starter for Saturday’s $1 million Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine. Held at 10 furlongs over the Tapeta track, the Queen’s Plate Stakes is essentially the Kentucky Derby for [...]

Is Amy Up to the Challenge in Fantasy Stakes?

Amy's Challenge winning the Dixie Belle Stakes - Coady Photography She might not be a standout at first glance, but I believe that it’s going to take a big effort for anyone to defeat #6 Amy’s Challenge in Friday’s $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park. The 8.5-furlong race serves as a major prep for the upcoming Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, and indeed, Rachel Alexandra in 2009 and Blind Luck in 2010 both used [...]