Tag: Churchill Downs

Kentucky Derby 2019 – Weekend Selections

When the sun comes up over Louisville on Saturday, shining down on the roses and through the twin spires, it will be time for the greatest two minutes in all of sports.  Few moments in sports can capture so much history.  Winners.  Champions.  Legends.  They all come together in the heart of racing.  It is neither the oldest, nor the longest Triple Crown race, yet it is the most important.  It was 1875 when Aristides was the first to come down the famed Churchill Downs stretch and be named the winner of the Kentucky Derby.  Yet it wasn’t until the 1890s when the race truly became what it is today, with the famed twin spires as the backdrop of a mile and a quarter test for the garland of roses.  Ben Brush, the first to taste the roses, became an instrumental part of the pedigree of 48 of the past 50 Derby winners.

Just a year removed from a Triple Crown, our second this decade after a long, and at many times seemingly endless, drought, we begin again with a new set of three year olds, all with a chance to cement themselves in history.  As the sun sets on Churchill Downs, a winner will be crowned, perhaps even a champion, and maybe, just like a year ago, a legend will be born.  Twenty horses.  Ten furlongs.  Two minutes.  One victor.  145 years of history – all down to 1.

Kentucky Derby weekend is unlike any other.  While the Breeders’ Cup may have the champions, Royal Ascot the pageantry, Saratoga the unchanged history, and Dubai the riches, nothing shares the same feeling that is felt come the First Saturday in May.  Moments after the Breeders’ Cup Classic wraps up, the focus of racing shifts away from the championship division and goes towards a bunch of then two year olds, all full of energy – and inexperience – that are gunning for one goal, be one of the twenty in the starting gate come 6:50pm on May 4th.  As the months tick by, the list slims and the cream of the crop rises to the occasion.  Races, in all corners of the world, name their representative to send to Kentucky.  From California to Florida, Ireland to Japan, horses across the world compete for much more than putting their name on a local trophy.  This weekend is another such occasion, when a culmination of months of work joins to one.

This weekend, champions of yesterday and today will arrive to the famed circle of Churchill Downs to compete for the ultimate prizes.  While we will watch many greats race on the undercards on Friday and Saturday, the features are for the three year olds in the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks.  With that, let’s get into my selections for the weekend.  I will note, these races were handicapped for a projected wet ground, as heavy rains are in the forecast for the weekend in Louisville.

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Kentucky Derby 2019 – Contenders & Pretenders

With the untimely scratch of our Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach, this field takes a slightly different turn for home.  While the predicted pace doesn’t look to have been changed by much, although Maximum Security will look to have a bit more breathing room without Omaha Beach running right with him, the odds have, with the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Game Winner the new favorite.  If he stays as the favorite come post time, he will be the first Kentucky Derby favorite not to have won on the year since Timber Country in 1995.

Now, as we take a look at the field, we need to see who is a contender and who is a pretender.  With the scratch of Omaha Beach, this has shaken things up and moved some talented horses up.

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Kentucky Derby 2019 – Field Analysis

There is no better week of the year than Kentucky Derby Week. The Run for the Roses is just days away so its time to analyze the field as we search for who will come out on top under the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs.

All this week I will have analysis on the field, leading up to my selections for all the weekends big races on Friday morning. Today, we will look at the field now that the post positions have been drawn to find out a bit more about the field of 20.

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Breeders’ Cup 2018 – Friday Analysis

The Breeders’ Cup 2018 Weekend is about to begin, and what a way to kick off the festivities at the end of the main portion of the racing calendar.  On Friday, the Breeders’ Cup debuts the new Juvenile Turf Sprint, the start up to the rebranded Friday card – Future Stars Friday.  Five championship races for two year-olds will be on tap as we begin the World Championships of Thoroughbred Horse Racing.  Joining me to cover the Friday card is John Piassek (@theyreoff), the co-founder and handicapper for The Daily Gallop and the managing editor and handicapper for DanonymousRacing.com.

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