Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Mile Top 10 – 7/2/18

World Approval winning the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I) - Kazushi Ishida/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup Every year, one of the most exciting and competitive races of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships is the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I), which typically pits the best milers in American against a top-class group of invaders from Europe. With four months remaining until the race, who are some of the major players to keep an eye on? Here’s how I rank the top [...]

Keying Divisidero in the Wise Dan Stakes

Divisidero (left) edges World Approval in the 2016 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. I) - Coady Photography If you want to play the classic “horse for the course” angle this weekend, look no further than #1 Divisidero in Saturday’s $200,000 Wise Dan Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. Divisidero might not be the most consistent horse in the country—as a deep closer, he’s often reliant on a quick pace to set up his late rally—but he’s been a [...]

World Approval Seeks Another Dixie Stakes Victory

World Approval winning the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I) - Kazushi Ishida/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup One year ago, World Approval won Pimlico’s $250,000 Dixie Stakes (gr. II) by a decisive 2 ¼ lengths, the first of four graded stakes wins during a 2017 campaign that saw him earn an Eclipse Award as North America's champion male grass horse. That reputation stamps World Approval as clearly the horse to beat in the 2018 edition of the Dixie, though the Mark Casse-trained [...]

When and Where to Watch the 2018 Preakness Stakes

Oxbow winning the 2013 Preakness Stakes - Jim McCue Photography Get ready! The 143rd running of the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I) is coming up on May 19th at Pimlico Racecourse, and we couldn’t be more excited to see if Kentucky Derby winner Justify can prevail in the second leg of the Triple Crown. In a perfect world, we would all travel to Baltimore to watch the race in person, but for those of us who can’t make the [...]

Spot Plays for Big ‘Cap Day at Santa Anita Park

Beautiful Santa Anita Park has a star-studded 11-race card on tap for Saturday afternoon headlined by the battle between McKinzie and Bolt d’Oro in the Grade 2 San Felipe. There are plenty of opportunities to make money throughout the card that starts at 12 PM local time, but here are a couple of spot plays I will be getting involved in at “The Great Race Place.” Race 3 The third offers horseplayers an extremely challenging optional claimer run at a [...]

World Approval Stands Out in Frank E. Kilroe Mile

World Approval winning the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I) - Kazushi Ishida/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup To put it simply, World Approval is a beast. The six-year-old gelding has long been a tough competitor at the Grade 1 level, even while running as far as 1 ½ miles, but when trainer Mark Casse cut World Approval back in distance to a flat mile last summer, the son of Northern Afleet became a force to reckon with. His decisive victories in [...]

2017 Year in Review: 10 Best Horses

  Everyone who follows racing will have their ideas about who the best horses in the world are. No two lists will be alike. Ignoring my unfortunate black spot regarding horses in South America and South Africa, these are my top 10 for the year.   Gun Runner topped off a wonderfully consistent season with a Breeders' Cup Classic triumph. (Photo by Steve Dalmado/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images) Arrogate It’s a shame Arrogate ended 2017 so badly. He lost a [...]

Lessons from tough Breeders’ Cup for punters

World Approval was one of just two favorites to win at the Breeders' Cup. Pic: Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher. OK, hands up – who out there thought Mor Spirit, Moonshine Memories, Unique Bella, Lady Aurelia, Lady Eli, Drefong, and Bolt d’Oro would all be beaten at the Breeders’ Cup? It’s not often that only two one of the 13 Breeders’ Cup favorites win, as happened at Del Mar this year. But in an unpredictable year, only World Approval and [...]

Questions of track bias raised by Breeders’ Cup

Del Mar's surface became a major talking point after the 2017 Breeders' Cup. Photo: Benoit Photo. Del Mar’s first Breeders’ Cup proved notable for its multiple shocks as well as for its great performances. When results like these happen, questions invariably get asked about whether there was any kind of track bias. The only favorites to win were both on turf: World Approval (5-2) in the Mile on Saturday, and Mendelssohn in the Juvenile Turf – and at [...]

World Approval, Ribchester head Breeders’ Cup Mile

World Approval shows his class at a mile by winning the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga. Photo: Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher The Breeders’ Cup Mile history is full of classic trans-Atlantic battles, and it should be more of the same again at Del Mar on November 4th. Leading American horse World Approval, who has been revitalized since being switched to a mile, faces seven European-trained horses, including two with consistent group one form: Ribchester and Roly Poly. Godolphin’s Ribchester would [...]