As the grade I Shadwell Turf Mile approaches, we always look to the family of Northern Dancer for influence in this race.
With the focus squarely on three horses at low odds in the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II), let's see if there's an upset in the making.
On Friday, the day before the opening of Churchill Downs' Spring-Summer meet, Bobbie Jo Porter received a gift. It was a remembrance she didn't expect, but one she cherishes. And it was the simplest of gifts.
Concise, collated Kentucky Derby workouts and workout schedules, horse by horse, through April 25.
With Square Eddie the center of attention in the Grade II Coolmore Lexington Stakes, we look for the contenders to upset him.
One handicapping angle for the Kentucky Derby has been: Whether the horse finished the final 3/8 mile of a 1 1/8-mile prep race in under 38 seconds. Forget about that this year, and here's why.
At Keeneland, it's often worthwhile to back those with Storm Cat in their pedigree, so Hold Me Back is in focus for the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.
The Grade I Wood Memorial looks like a two-horse race, and of course one of them has to be outside the other. On Saturday, Imperial Council gets that advantage as he and Edgar Prado will have their sights set on I Want Revenge and Joe Talamo.
The fact that we may all look at the same information and come away with different impressions is honed to a fine point with the impending start of Dunkirk in the Grade I Florida Derby.
They say in the markets, or used to say it anyway, that the trend is your friend. Not always so in the Kentucky Derby, however. Will this be yet another year for a Kentucky Derby barrier to fall? Let's take a look at the past, which is known, and the future, which is unknowable. As the clock tower at The Curragh says, "Time Reveals All."
Six weeks out from the Kentucky Derby and offering $500,000 in purse money on a synthetic track in Kentucky, the Lane's End Stakes is unique in its offering the first gathering of national stables in the Bluegrass State for a run at the first Saturday in May.
There's a reasonable chance of a wet track at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, and that might help out several entries in the Grade II Rebel Stakes.
Will Friesan Fire, whom Larry Jones says is "getting very, very good right now," sweep the Fair Grounds sophomore stakes? Will Flying Pegasus move forward in his second start off the long layoff? Will Papa Clem step up in his first race on dirt? Will Patena reward the investment made by IEAH Stables? Now THIS is why they run races.
Saturday at Aqueduct, we're looking for a horse that might be prepared to move forward the most. Between our top two picks, there's one obvious choice, and one that's maybe not so obvious.
Although they have significant graded earnings, there are several Kentucky Derby contenders who are flying well below the radar so far this year. Our graded earnings chart, posted for the first time today, reveals five horses in the top 24 that are in training but haven't raced yet in 2009, and four more in that group that finished fourth or worse in their most recent races. Of the top 44, there are 13 in these two categories.
Our core premise in the one-mile, grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes is that if Notonthesamepage breaks well, he's going to shoot for the lead, and almost all the others will struggle to, well, stay on the same page with him. The question thus becomes whether there's anything in the race that will overtake him.
Bet A Gray on Derby Day? If you're a Kentucky Derby bettor who likes patterns that have nothing to do with performance or pedigree--in other words, you believe in the Derby gods--look for a gray to win the Kentucky Derby this year. There is a definite cycle at work, and it's been happening every four years.
The Sam F. Davis Stakes was afforded well-deserved grade III status this year, but unfortunately, going in, the race has come up light. But we do see at least one potential star among the 11 entries. Only four of the entries have graded stakes experience, and from a combined six starts, they've been beaten 70 1/4 lengths.
Shaun Bridgmohan, who's been riding all three of the Steve Asmussen entries in the Risen Star--Dumar (Worth Watching), Soul Warrior (Worth Watching) and Uno Mas (Worth Watching)--has chosen to get on board Dumar, who's a 20-1 morning line.
With West Side Bernie and Beethoven parked outside in posts 10 and 11 going 1 1/8 mile in the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park, there is reason to look elsewhere for a winner despite the legitimate talents of each of those horses and their connections.
The major Breeders' Cup preps are in the books, so let's see if we can figure Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Keeneland, an outstanding competition for 3-year-old fillies on the turf. We'll keep it short and, we hope, sweet.
With three weeks to go before Breeders' Cup, it's another amazing weekend of racing. Let's take a look over and under the radar at five selected races and try to get some winners.
The weekend's major stakes schedule is like a seven-course dinner--a wide variety of dishes that will take over four hours to complete. And that doesn't count three "Win and You're In" races at Ascot. Let's hope the Picks digest well.
Just our opinion, but all extrinsic factors aside for the time being, it doesn't seem fair to dismiss Big Brown's accomplishments, however brief they may be, by saying his competition is weak.
Four new names entered the fray that's called the Road to the Kentucky Derby on Saturday with wins and placings in the grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and grade II Arkansas Derby. And with their good fortune, the dreams of others were dampened if not outright doused.
Can trainer Steve Asmussen pull off a Derby prep double on Saturday? He has a good shot with Pyro in the first leg, but what about the grade II Arkansas Derby?
It's time for the annual head-to-head matchup of Dick and Cheap Speed in the grade II Lane's End Stakes. This race almost always produces substantial payoffs.
Denis of Cork, at 8-1 in the morning line, is the Southwest pick.
Three of our top four quick picks for Saturday's grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland came out of a strong grade I race at Belmont Park. The key to this race might be whether any of these can dictate a moderate pace and stay on to win.
Friday's grade I Darley Alcibiades looks to be a solid prep for the Breeders' Cup Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Doug O'Neill, who's shipped in Grace Anatomy from California to face a dozen other 2-year-old fillies, might even say it's "fantastic".
Saturday's Grade I Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes at Belmont drew nine fillies and mares, almost all of which have a good chance to win the race.
This is the year of the Usual Suspects in the Kentucky Derby. Not in over a decade have so many horses highly regarded as 2-year-olds made it into the Derby field--and offered a chance for a Dual Qualfier to once again take the Roses.
In 49 of the last 52 runnings of the Kentucky Derby, the winner was either on the lead with an eighth of a mile to go in the race, within a length of the lead, or running second although more than a length off the leader at that point.
At TheDowneyProfile.com, we utilize thirteen factors more common to Kentucky Derby winners than non-winners, based on our 34-year study, in order to create an objective, weighted-factor predictor of Kentucky Derby success. One factor that we do not use is the "horse for the course" handicapping angle, the one that looks to horses that have run well at Churchill Downs.
The Coolmore Lexington affords an opportunity for two horses to overcome some recent bad luck. One has had bad racing luck, and the other's barn has had just plain bad luck. With a 3-1 morning line favorite, bettors will need all the luck they can get in this grade II race.
With a field of six likely for the Wood Memorial, will it turn into a match race between Any Given Saturday and Nobiz Like Shobiz? Things could get tricky here.
Sometimes you just have to believe what you see, and what Chelokee did in his last race made a believer out of me. He's the pick to upset in the Florida Derby.
Dick Downey and Mike "Cheap Speed" Pearson renew their annual Dueling Picks for the Grade II Lane's End Stakes. It's time to have a little fun and maybe win some money along the way.
In this Rebel Stakes, will the two horses with big numbers and few races prevail? Or will the more veteran starters teach them a thing or two? Our money goes on Bob Holthus and Officer Rocket in a race set up for late runners.
For the second time in two races at Fair Grounds, Circular Quay has been made the morning line favorite. Last time he raced, we picked him fourth. This time, we select him to win the grade II Louisiana Derby.
Connections of one horse hope to celebrate his third birthday in the winner's circle after the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. That horse is Saint Paul.
The colt's workouts have been picture-perfect, he's drawn post 5, and Barclay Tagg is, dare I say it, confident. Nobiz Like Shobiz is all set to win the Fountain of Youth Stakes.
If four or five contenders start in the 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) off only two prior 3-year-old starts, history shows us it's been tried before--but not much, and with mixed success. Here are some hard statistics.
Hard Spun has four of a kind going into Monday's Southwest Stakes. We see a straight flush coming.
Any Given Saturday, a $1.1 million Keeneland yearling purchase, goes into the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs with one thing to prove--whether he's matured from his headstrong ways.
Saturday's a big day for the new connections of Lawrence the Roman, who will leave the gate the favorite in the Whirlaway Stakes.
Established star John Velazquez was booked to ride favored Circular Quay in the grade III Risen Star, but there's another star-quality jockey coming to New Orleans for this race who's getting less attention.
While it's always tempting and usually advisable to try to beat the favorite, the 2007 renewal of the grade III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park appears to be a race where what you see is what you get. And what you see is perhaps the best 3-year-old in America: Nobiz Like Shobiz.
What an odd grade III race the Sham is. There's a maiden coming in off a 13-day break, a horse that broke its maiden in its second and most recent start, a $7,000 horse with enough earnings already to assure it of a berth in the Kentucky Derby, a turf runner switching to the dirt, and an invader from New Mexico. Let's try to figure out what is and isn't a sham here.
Pace makes the race, but when it comes to big races, it doesn't hurt to study the trends, either. The Emirates Airline Distaff is no exception.
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