I’m thrilled to return to the panel for the Big Race Showdown at America’s Best Racing this year! Also on the panel are Candice Hare, Emily Gullikson, Brian Zipse, Dan Tordjman, Mike McCormick, Megan Devine, and Dan Cronin. Each week we’ll zoom in on a few of the biggest races, share our top picks, and have a little friendly competition to see who can get the most winners, as well as the sweetest exacta and trifecta payouts. First week was a little tough for me…but some of the others in the panel rocked it on Pegasus Day, and I’ve got plenty of time to catch up.
This week we tackle a trio of Kentucky Derby points races: the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream, the Withers (G3) at Aqueduct, and the Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita. See who we like, and sound off with your thoughts!
In Episode 4 of Book Six, we head to Indiana to look at a filly from Elusive Bluff’s first crop since moving to the Crossroads of America.
Though the sale is a mixed sale, we continue with the fall theme of yearlings. This episode focuses on Hip 6: a filly named Explosive Justice, by Elusive Bluff out of Explosive Miss. Elusive Bluff is by Elusive Quality, a son of Gone West. Explosive Miss is by Gone West. This 3×2 inbreeding to Gone West made me wonder: what happens when Gone West is crossed closely with Gone West?
Find out in Episode 4 of Book Six!
Today’s Arlington second is a maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies, at five and a half furlongs on the polytrack. It’s a smaller field than most recent two-year-old maidens at Arlington, with just seven entered. It also, unlike most of the juvenile races over the last month or more, contains only first-time starters.
When you have a racetrack, and want to honour your late wife, you can hardly do better than running one of the premier filly and mare turf races of the year in her name. The Beverly D. Stakes takes its name from Beverly Duchossois, wife of Arlington Park chairman Richard Duchossois. Beverly Duchossois passed away in 1980; this race has been run in her name since 1987. Once, a horse in Richard Duchossois’s silks won the race run in his late wife’s honour: in 2010, Eclair De Lune kicked home in the final furlong to win it for the home team. Other winners of the Beverly D have included Hall of Fame inductee Flawlessly (1991), as well as Eclipse champions Possibly Perfect (1995), Stacelita (2011), and Dank (2013).
The Beverly D. drew a competitive field of nine fillies and mares. To the winner goes the best share of a $600,000 purse, as well as a Win and You’re In berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. To date, just one horse has won both races: Dank, who did so her championship year.
Fox Valley Gemini is a star.
The Illinois-bred three-year-old pacer is undefeated in his fifteen-race career, and is going for win number 16 tonight in the third leg of the Carey at Hawthorne.
In my latest for the Illinois Harness Horseman’s Association, I look at his win streak, a few other harness racing win streaks with Illinois ties, and what win streaks mean.
The Preakness is coming up tomorrow, which means you’re probably already sick of hearing the phrase “tight turns”. The bad news is, I haven’t yet been able to reliably trace the origin of that horse racing myth.
This weekend features the second to last Saturday of Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks points preps, and they will run from coast to coast. This piece focuses on the pair of points preps at Keeneland: the Ashland (G1) for the fillies, and a loaded renewal of the Blue Grass (G2) for open company. Each offer 100-40-20-10 points toward their respective goal races, guaranteeing their winner a ticket to Louisville in May, and likely ensuring their second-place finishers berths as well.
Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Saturday’s pair of three-year-old preps at Keeneland, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Last week, I returned to one of my favourite tracks: Tampa Bay Downs. Over at Brisnet, I talk about my trip in words and pictures.
The big races of the weekend were the graded stakes on Saturday, and you’ll certainly see the likes of McCraken and Isabella Sings here. But, you’ll also see the other race days, the mornings, and the unique events that give Tampa Bay Downs its character.
Go see Tampa Bay Downs through my eyes — and then plan a trip there when you can, so you can see it through your own!
I shied away from it for a long time given my questionable photography skills, but finally gave it a shot in 2015. Posting horse pictures there has been fun, as has looking at everyone else’s horse pictures. Though my Twitter and Facebook pages are a little bit of everything, I’ve focused my Instagram to be completely horsey. I post nothing but horse-related pictures on there. My timeline abounds with racehorses, foals, and riding horses. It’s my Internet happy place.
Still, there’s one thing on Instagram that makes my blood boil: accounts that take other people’s pictures and use blanket phrases like “photos not mine” or “credit to the photographer”. No, that’s not evidence of permission, and that’s not proper credit. There are plenty of pieces out there already about why stealing people’s photos and posting them without credit is not okay. This won’t be a treatise on copyright law.
Instead, I will be positive. If you are going to post on Instagram, focus on posting your own pictures. Your pictures are you, and your pictures are enough.
Gulfstream opens Saturday, and we all know what that means: Claiming Crown Day!
I love the Claiming Crown — love, love, love the Claiming Crown. As someone who spends so much of my time handicapping, following, and adoring claiming horses, I love that racing takes a day to put them on centre stage.
And, if you are coming into it from more of a wagering perspective? The Claiming Crown features huge, well-matched fields. There’s something in it for everyone.
In my latest piece for Picks and Ponderings, I preview the pair of turf routes, the Emerald and the Tiara. In addition, I will have picks for all nine of Saturday’s stakes races at Gulfstream.
Jockey Julio Felix has been on fire through the first three weeks of the Hawthorne meet. This week’s Chicago Railbird takes a look at his riding statistics so far, as well as a pair of the races in which he rides on Wednesday and Thursday. We look at Wednesday’s 8th and Thursday’s 8th. Both races drew big fields. In one, Felix rides the top selection; in the other, he rides an interesting price horse.
This Sunday’s Arlington 4th is a contentious and classy affair: a wide-open two-year-old maiden special weight going a mile on the grass.
The race drew a field of eight, and, an argument can be made for most of the field. However, there is one horse who looks to have an experience edge and a pace edge — and who looks to be a playable price, to boot.
This Saturday’s feature at Saratoga is a deserving one, even amid the Breeders’ Cup quality card: the Grade I Travers Stakes.
The Classic-distance race for three-year-olds drew a capacity field of fourteen. The field includes two of the three Triple Crown race winners, the winners of both local preps, and a lot of horses who have been coming close against such illustrious company all spring and summer. The Travers deserves its Grade I status, easily.
Over at Picks and Ponderings, we have analysis whether you like written words, video, or both. I have full written analysis of my reasoning. On video, Paul Mazur and I go horse-by-horse, since so many of the runners have a shot.
In addition to covering the Iowa Festival, Picks and Ponderings also wanders to the Jersey Shore this weekend for the Grade I Man o’ War.
We see a few familiar faces from Arlington: 2015 American Derby winner World Approval, and 2015 Arlington Million entrant Triple Threat. However, I like an always-dangerous graded stakes jockey with a live mount on his home turf.