But first there’s the Arkansas Derby aboard Long Range Toddy When the starting gate opens for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (GI) at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, 58-year-old jockey Jon Court will be aboard Long Range Toddy, the 5-1 third choice behind — who else? — trainer Bob Baffert’s Improbable. A solid effort by the Ellis Horton-owned Long Range Toddy (he’s already Derby qualified with 53.5 points), and it’s off to Churchill Downs for the $3 million Kentucky Derby (GI) in three weeks. Court expects to be there too, and when the gates spring open, he’ll become the oldest rider
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Saturday’s $200,000 Lexington Stakes (GIII) at Keeneland, named for the beautiful central Kentucky city where the famed track and sales company is located, is the last Road to the Kentucky Derby (GI) points race, offering 20 to the winner and 10-5-2 for second through fourth. And while it’s not one of the more marquee preps, it has done its fair share in contributing to Triple Crown history over the years. The most recent — though it has been 20 years — is Robert and Beverly Lewis’ former claimer Charismatic, who took the Lexington Stakes just two weeks before he went
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If you consider yourself a thoroughbred handicapper and a reader, there is a new title available that would be a valuable addition to your bookshelf. Author and long-time professional horseplayer, Barry Meadow, has written, in my opinion, the best and most comprehensive book on thoroughbred handicapping in recent memory — maybe ever — with his new release, The Skeptical Handicapper: Using Data and Brains to Win at the Racetrack. As Meadow says, “It is crucial to differentiate between truth and opinions.” This book is Meadow’s way of seeking truth through the analysis of real statistics from real race results. If there was
Each year, the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) marks the end of yet another grueling Road to the Kentucky Derby (GI) journey and, as such, it’s often the most anticipated prep of them all — as well as one of the most productive in producing Derby winners. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah used the Hot Springs Derby prep as a springboard to racing immortality in 2015 and, this year, 11 will line up to race the 1 1/8 miles over the Oaklawn Park oval. The final 170 points will be awarded to the top-four finishers (on a 100-40-20-10 scale), a
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April 11, 2019 (Oaklawn) – Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (GI) at Oaklawn Park marks the return of the winners of both divisions of the Rebel Stakes (GII) – California shipper Omaha Beach and local star Long Range Toddy – in their first matchup. A full field of talented challengers is set to take the top two on, including Improbable, who also is shipping in from the West Coast, and Risen Star Stakes (GII) runner-up Country House. Other notable names looking for some of the 170 Road to the Derby points available in the Arkansas Derby include Galilean, Gray Attempt
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All the latest happenings on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, including what Kentucky Derby preps the top contenders are pointing for. Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes winner Vekoma returned to his winter base at Palm Beach Downs in Florida, where George Weaver’s charge will do the majority of his training ahead of the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 4. Weaver said he is hopeful that Javier Castellano, who rode Vekomoa in the Blue Grass Stakes, will accept the mount for the Kentucky Derby and that previous rider Manny Franco will likely be the alternative should Castellano opt for
Everyone loves dessert, especially when it’s the kind that can help you grow your bankroll and not your waistline. Even seasoned handicappers who are making a living playing the races have periodic handicapping obstacles they need to overcome. Regardless of the problem, there is a strategy to overcome these obstacles and keep your betting in the black: D.E.S.S.E.R.T. D – Determine Determine your obstacles. Identify them. List them out. What is the most troubling to you and your handicapping right now? Prioritize them either by how much they are impacting your handicapping or how easily you think it will be
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One of the things I find fascinating about horse racing — well, life, really — is what folks accept as true that isn’t. Conclusions that seem logical are often considered fact regardless of how strong or weak the supporting data is — or whether there is any supporting data at all. Take, for example, the popular belief that if you eat something and go swimming immediately afterward, you will invariably cramp up and die from drowning (presumably while cursing yourself for supersizing that Happy Meal on your rigid descent to the bottom of the pool). On the surface, this sounds
An older sibling, an interest in livestock and exposure to the sport at a young age, were among the variables that were critical components in helping to direct the career path Journeyman Stud’s Brent Fernung would eventually follow. The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA) president has spent the preponderance of his life in the Thoroughbred industry, something that was fostered during his youth. Fernung’s older brother John — 12 years his senior — had graduated from high school, and went to work for a horseman named M. K. Essig, who had a farm in Noblesviille, Indiana. Brent was
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All the latest happenings on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, including what Kentucky Derby preps the top contenders are pointing for. Trainer Bob Baffert reported that his one-two finishers in the April 6 Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, Roadster and Game Winner, were doing well a day later and plans are to be determined for shipping them to Churchill Downs for the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 4. Instagrand, who set the pace before being passed by the Baffert duo in the Santa Anita Derby, remains under consideration for the Kentucky Derby, as well as the Grade 3