Here’s where you can find links to all my Breeders’ Cup work!
My race previews, in detail, are over at Picks and Ponderings. There are separate pieces for Friday and Saturday; between them, I discuss every race.
I also discuss my thoughts on several of the races, and several of the more general themes of Breeders’ Cup, in the latest issue of Horseplayer Monthly magazine. My Q&A runs from pages 21-23, but make sure to read the entire issue for in-depth Breeders’ Cup analysis and opinions!
We’ve been following the trail all the way, but now, the Kentucky Derby is finally here. The field is drawn, with twenty main entries plus one also-eligible. The field is competitive, with a little something for everybody: fountains of raw talent yet to be forged in the fire, hard-trying and plucky sorts who have yet to prove best against the big boys, and everything in between. (Well, except for a filly, anyway…Rayya had 40 points on the strength of a second-place finish in the UAE Derby, but she’s off to Friday’s Kentucky Oaks instead.)
Below, we dive into the Kentucky Derby field, horse by horse, and let you know our top picks and longshot. Below our Derby analysis, there is a chart with selections and longshots for all seven stakes races at Churchill on Saturday.
Kentucky Derby week is here. As always, Picks and Ponderings is on top of it.
This piece focuses on Friday’s action. We’ll have a horse-by-horse look at the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, which drew a full field of fourteen. The weather calls for some rain on Friday, so we’ll take that into account, and make notes on off-track acumen. And, below, we’ll have our selections in all six stakes races on Friday’s card.
This afternoon, Finley’sluckycharm extended her four-year-old record to a perfect three-for-three with a win in the Chicago Handicap (G3). The 3/10 betting favourite, she got to the lead quickly after the break and rated well despite Kathballu and Covey Trace pressing at her throatlatch early. Kathballu dropped away; Covey Trace pressed the issue into the far turn. No matter; Finley’sluckycharm moved easily through a 22.85 opening quarter, a 45.62 half. Turning for home, nine riders implored their mounts to gain, as Brian Hernandez still had Finley’sluckycharm in hand. He finally asked her; she maintained comfortable daylight to the wire. Finley’sluckycharm finished the seven furlong main-track trip in 1:22.17, two and a quarter lengths clear of Ivy Bell.
The preceding paragraph made sense, in a way. It has verbs with subjects and objects. The names, times, distances, and grade all correspond to an actual race contested today.
As always we go horse-by-horse, point/counterpoint. Some horses, we see fairly similarly. Others, we disagree on. As always, we’re full of both information and snark.
In addition, I share my picks — including longshots — in all the stakes races this Saturday at Churchill Downs. Though, you’ll be hard pressed to find a longer shot than my top overall pick in the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2), a runner in perfect form to try a bit of an ambitious spot (particularly if the rain in the forecast comes to fruition).
So, head over to Picks and Ponderings, get to know the Derby field, and let us know your thoughts on Saturday’s Churchill Downs action in the comments!
Friday’s card at Churchill Downs features the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, as well as five other undercard stakes races. I preview the Oaks in depth over at Picks and Ponderings, and will post my selections and longshots for the other stakes races as I finish handicapping them. As always, if you have any questions about my logic on the undercard, leave a comment or send me a tweet.
The race drew a field of ten this year…strong, top to bottom. It should also be a good betting race, particularly because the morning line favourite is one of the most dependable “use underneath only!” horses in training.
Every year, Picks and Ponderings does a Thanksgiving Handicapping Feast. This year, it gets underway with a pair of graded stakes at Churchill: the Falls City and the River City.
Both races drew some familar local faces. The River City, a turf route for open company, drew The Pizza Man…and a very intriguing Illinois-bred on the also-eligible list. The Falls City drew a tightly matched group of distaffers…including a three-year-old ready to make a splash against older, and an Illinois-bred returning to her best game.