Kentucky Derby

Derby Preps: Wicked Strong All Around

Last year, only one winner of a major Kentucky Derby dirt prep (Govenor Charlie in the Sunland Derby) ran faster than average. The story unfolds differently this year, with the winners of the Sunland, Florida and Santa Anita Derbies and Wood Memorial all running faster than the average since 2000:

Sunland Derby avg.: 1:49.0…….Chitu 1:47.4 (2013 Govenor Charlie 1:47.2) […]

Prep Race Wrap: Race Riding with Rosie and Johnny V.

Chatter abounds this week about Johnny V’s ride on Wildcat Red. By allowing his horse to drift slightly off the rail exiting the stretch turn, Johnny let Javier Castellano aboard Constitution sneak through on the inside. “Bad ride by Johnny V” seems to be the dominant opinion. I see it more as an exceptional […]

Kentucky Derby Futures Pool #4

In the Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby Futures Pool #4, a few horses offer value. I make that determination based upon the principles in The Lazy Bettor’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby. One horse qualifies for the Gold Standard I detail in the book, a few sit on the cusp and a few show some […]

Louisiana Derby: Ending My Holiday Fling

First let me commend the effort by Intense Holiday in the Risen Star Stakes on February 22. Runner-up Albano set a soft early pace in that race and then waltzed through a Dead Easy turn time of :25 flat. He hit the top of the stretch with fresh legs, full lungs and a two-length head start […]

Derby Preps: The Curse of Wildcat Red

Let’s start with the Florida Derby and poor, lil’ Wildcat Red (3-1). He hit the wire first in 5 of 6 lifetime starts and finished 2nd by a head in the other, yet nobody wants to ride him! Johnny V. slides into the saddle as the 5th rider in the past 5 starts. You […]

We Did Not Miss Artie!

The ever-so-slim victory by late-charging We Miss Artie in the Spiral affirmed two key points I posted just days before the race. First, a demonstration of superior early speed warrants a prime bet. (See “Overcoming Vertigo in the Spiral.”) Second, don’t let a secondary factor like an outside post dissuade you from making such […]

Derby Preps: Overcoming Vertigo in the Spiral

A field of 12 lines up for Turfway’s Spiral Stakes this weekend. Contestants ship in from multiple tracks and surfaces. They prepped for this race at 7.5 furlongs, 1-1/16th miles, a mile and an 1/8th. Fast horses. Slow horses. A couple of guys in a donkey suit. What’s a dizzy handicapper to do?
Focus!
If this were the […]

It Came from the Outside Post!

If you haven’t discovered Derek Simon’s podcast at TwinspiresRadio, you should do so now. . .or as soon as you finish reading this post. Treat your ears to the racing musings of a knowledgeable host and to lots of substantive handicapping content.
A topic that arose when he interviewed me was outside post positions. Derek expressed […]

Derby Preps: The Rebel Stakes

The Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park drew a small but interesting field of 8 horses. With a few accomplished locals, a few shippers from southern California and a top East Coast jockey, the race contains a little of everything.

The likely favorite, Tapiture (9-5), dominated Oaklawn’s Southwest Stakes last month, easily defeating three of the […]

Derby Preps: San Felipe Stakes/Tampa Bay Derby

Afew years ago when asked about a full field in a weak Derby prep, I joked that bettors should just play the 3 longest shots on the board. Surprisingly, I was right. When I half-joked about that strategy in a similar situation the next year, I was right again. I’m not joking this time.
San Felipe […]