Louisiana Derby Draws Eleven, Win Guarantees Derby Spot - Posted on: March 22, 2019

Despite the fact that only two horses in history have completed the Louisiana Derby (GII)-Kentucky Derby (GI) double, the signature race of the Fair Grounds meet is still one of the most important stops on the Triple Crown trail. Before points determined who would make the gate for the Run for the Roses, graded purse money was the most prominent determining factor and even before the New Orleans-based track boosted the purse to $1 million, the 1 1/8-mile race has featured some exceptional horses attempting to make the Derby starting gate. The Louisiana Derby is the first of seven races

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John Rothschild’s Kentucky Derby Contenders & Pretenders - Posted on: March 20, 2019

I’m a horse owner and handicapper who may see things just a little differently than the average player. Each week I’ll be looking at: A few angles that will help with your Kentucky Derby selections. My current contenders. Longshots that have a chance to convert. Angle #1 Be wary of wagering on horses that have only won on the front, even if they previously dominated by open lengths. Many, when eventually challenged, will back down. These horses are usually overvalued, and over-bet. There have been lots of examples in recent memory. The best would arguably be Barbaro. This colt faced quite a few who won their prior

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Down to the Final Derby Preps - Posted on: March 20, 2019

The Kentucky Derby picture is starting to get clearer, but the last round of prep races will define the field. These races often offer strong wagering opportunities for both the casual racing fan, as well as those who make a living playing the races. A devastating blow was dealt to the West Coast hopefuls when the San Felipe (G2) was postponed due to the track surface issues at Santa Anita Park. Viewed as one of the more important preps to the final prep, this forced many horsemen to rethink their strategy in preparing their charges for the first Saturday in

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Rebel Upsets Result in Little Change Atop Kentucky Derby Rankings - Posted on: March 20, 2019

Bob Baffert had won six Rebel Stakes (G2) in the decade of the 2010s. But he is officially 0-for-2 in 2019 after striking out with two odds-on favorites in the two $750,000 divisions of this year’s key Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race at Oaklawn Park. Meanwhile, the winners of the two divisions of the Rebel Stakes — the Steve Asmussen-trained Long Range Toddy and Richard Mandella’s Omaha Beach — both improved markedly and stamped themselves as legitimate up-and-coming contenders for this year’s Run for the Roses. Baffert entered Saturday’s Rebel with a pair of undefeated 3-year-olds at the top of many people’s Derby rankings

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Kentucky Derby News & Notes: March 19, 2019 - Posted on: March 19, 2019

All the latest happenings on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, including what Kentucky Derby preps the top contenders are pointing for. Long Range Toddy, who took the first division of the split Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park over previously undefeated Improbable, came out of his March 16 effort in good order and will be pointed to that track’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on April 13. Omaha Beach, who nosed out previously unbeaten Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ Game Winner in the second division of the Rebel Stakes, will be flown back to California on March 19,

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Rebel Upsets Result in Little Change Atop Kentucky Derby Rankings - Posted on: March 18, 2019

Bob Baffert had won six Rebel Stakes (G2) in the decade of the 2010s, but he is officially 0-for-2 in 2019 after striking out with two odds-on favorites in the two $750,000 divisions of this year’s key Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race at Oaklawn Park. Meanwhile, the winners of the two divisions of the Rebel Stakes — the Steve Asmussen-trained Long Range Toddy and Richard Mandella’s Omaha Beach — both improved markedly and stamped themselves as legitimate up-and-coming contenders for this year’s Run for the Roses. Baffert entered Saturday’s Rebel with a pair of undefeated 3-year-olds at the top of

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Kentucky Derby Workout Report: March 18, 2019 - Posted on: March 18, 2019

“Breezing” generally indicates the horse was not under strong urging, while “handily” typically denotes the horse was under urging from its rider (this can vary by location). Numbers in parentheses represent the ranking among other horses who worked that day at that distance and at that track.  Code of Honor: 3/16 – In his first official work since capturing the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes, Shug McGaughey’s charge breezed five furlongs in 1:01.00 (1/6) on fast dirt at the Payson Park Training Center. Hustle Up: 3/17 – The multiple stakes-winning gelding tuned up for the March 24 Grade 3

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Weekend Handicapping Reports - Posted on: March 16, 2019

Free Race Report Cards for Fair Grounds and Oaklawn Park and Santa Anita Park are now available. This includes the Rebel Stakes, which has been split into two divisions and features the return of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) champion Game Winner. RACE REPORT CARD Grades (A-F) each entrant in four key categories: speed, class, jockey and trainer. Saturday (3/16/19) Fair Grounds Oaklawn Park February 22, 2019 WIN FACTOR REPORT Uses criteria such as speed, form, class and fitness to assess the fair odds of the top four win contenders in each race. Friday (2/22/19) Fair Grounds Oaklawn Park Saturday (2/23/19)

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A Divided Rebel Stakes Unites Kentucky Derby Runners - Posted on: March 15, 2019

Champion Game Winner Makes Seasonal Debut A week ago, as racing in Southern California reached a crisis level thanks to a staggering number of horses injured and euthanized at Santa Anita, the ripple effects of the situation were being felt throughout the thoroughbred industry. Not only was all training and racing suspended for the foreseeable future at the West Coast track, the San Felipe Stakes (GII) — a major Kentucky Derby (GI) prep race — was cancelled (or at least postponed), derailing the plans for the connections of a number of top contenders on the Road to the Kentucky Derby,

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American Horse Racing’s Most Magical Places: The Hall of Champions - Posted on: March 15, 2019

On a beautiful afternoon in the spring of 2006, I walked into the Hall of Champions at the Kentucky Horse Park for the first time. A horse gazed out at me from the first stall on the right. My heart skipped a beat, as the nameplate on the door said Cigar. To my immediate left, the stall’s door opening was filled with a horse’s large backside. I would later learn this was the most pleasant greeting I could expect from the great John Henry. Up and down the corridor were stalls occupied by notable champions from the racetrack and the

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