Tag: Essential Quality

The Kentucky Derby is only Rock Your World's second start on dirt. He is the fastest horse in the field based on speed figures. (Image: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

Almost Back to Normalcy: Breaking Down the 2021 Kentucky Derby

Welcome to the 2021 Kentucky Derby. And welcome back to what a normal Kentucky Derby looks like. Almost. The crowds? Well, they’re back – about 40,000. That’s a quarter of what normally turns Churchill Downs into a sporting bacchanalia. But there’s people in the stands. We’ll take it. The horses? […]

Hot Rod Charlie owns the second-fastest Beyer Speed Figure of anyone in the Kentucky Derby field. His trainer, Doug O'Neill, owns two Kentucky Derby victories in the last nine years. (Image: Ernie Belmonte)

Hot Rod Charlie Roars to Life for Kentucky Derby Vet O’Neill

Doug O’Neill already has two of these Kentucky Derbies on the mantle, both with colts he planned on taking to Churchill Downs —  I’ll Have Another and Nyquist. But when Hot Rod Charlie came to his Santa Anita Park barn as a $110,000 yearling purchase, the trainer looked at his […]

Tuesday morning's draw for the 2021 Kentucky Derby from post 20 Bourbonic to post 1 Known Agenda. Those are two of trainer Todd Pletcher's four entries in Saturday's Run for the Roses. (Image: Churchill Downs)

Essential Quality Opens as 2/1 Favorite for 147th Kentucky Derby

As expected, Essential Quality checked in as the 2/1 morning-line favorite for the 147th Kentucky Derby. And Tuesday’s post-position Derby draw sends the undefeated colt and his favorite status into post 14 for Saturday’s 2021 Triple Crown opener. As he watched the posts fill up on Tuesday morning, this put […]

After a year's hiatus due to the pandemic, Wesley Ward returned to his native habitat: winning Keeneland training titles. With 20 victories, the conditioner won his seventh Keeneland Spring Meet title. (Image: Coady Photography)

Keeneland’s Spring Meet Hops Into the Books With Strong Handle

Despite selling limited tickets for its 15-day Spring Meet, Keeneland’s just-concluded meet brought a 7.55% handle increase from its 2019 numbers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic scrubbing Keeneland’s 2020 Spring Meet, 2019 represents the last comparable year. Headlined by Essential Quality’s Blue Grass Stakes victory, Wesley Ward’s seventh training title […]

Super Stock reeled in a Kentucky Derby spot by reeling in Caddo River (2) and heavy favorite Concert Tour in the Arkansas Derby. (Image: Coady Photography)

Kentucky Derby Points Show the 20 Survivors of the Derby Trail

The Kentucky Derby Trail ended Saturday, which means it’s time to parse the Derby qualifying points ladder and see who’s in, who’s on the bubble, and who won’t be discussed as a Kentucky Derby starter. It took 40 points to make the top 20, the usual target number connections shoot […]

By the time Essential Quality finds the stretch, few of his pursuers are this close. He enters Saturday's Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland as the 3/5 morning-line favorite. (Image: Coady Photography)

This Year’s Blue Grass Stakes Come Loaded With Essential Quality

The biggest problem horseplayers have with the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes is not figuring out who will win. That essential question will likely be answered by 3/5 favorite Essential Quality. No. The biggest issue here is figuring out how to profit off a race where one horse is so […]

Rombauer's furious El Calmino Real Derby stretch drive brought him his first stakes title by a nose over Javanica. But the Southern California colt is in deeper Derby prep waters in this weekend's Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. (Image: Golden Gate Fields)

For Rombauer, the Grass is Greener in Baffert-Free Blue Grass

In his past life, John Fradkin, the owner of Kentucky Derby Trail runner Rombauer, was a successful institutional bond salesman for Citigroup. This means he understands the risk/reward dynamic as well as anyone. This, in turn, explains why Fradkin took the long way home for Rombauer. Instead of running him […]

By winning the Florida Derby Saturday, Known Agenda affected the Kentucky Derby Future Wager final pool without being listed individually. He's counted as "All Other 3-Year-Olds" for this pool. (Image: Derbe Glass/Coglianese Photos)

Essential Quality Closes as Your Favorite in KDFW’s Final Pool

The fifth and final Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool closed Sunday afternoon with Essential Quality the 4/1 favorite to win the May 1 Run for the Roses. Unbeaten Essential Quality makes his final Derby tune-up in Saturday’s Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes during Keeneland’s opening weekend. He opened the weekend […]

Essential Quality follows up his Southwest Stakes victory here with next week's Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. He opens as the 3/1 favorite in the final Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool Friday. (Image: Coady Photography)

Essential Quality Opens as KDFW Final Pool Favorite

Essential Quality opened Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager as the favorite. Now, the undefeated Tapit colt opens the fifth and final KDFW pool as the 3/1 favorite. Pool 5 of Churchill Downs’ plunge into the Derby futures market opens Friday at 9 am PT and closes Sunday […]

This tongue-wagging victory at 17/1 in the Saudi Cup vaulted Mishriff to the No. 1 spot in the first 2021 Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings. (Image: Douglas DeFelice/Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia)

Mishriff Takes Top Spot in Initial 2021 Longines Rankings

Led by Charlatan, American Thoroughbreds took three of the top eight spots, but it was Ireland’s Mishriff who seized the top spot in the 2021 first edition of Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings. The John Gosden-trained 4-year-old earned a 122 rating from the racing officials and handicappers compiling the rankings […]

The betting bandwagon piled on Life Is Good after he and Mike Smith rolled to an eight-length victory in Saturday's San Felipe Stakes. He is as low as 2/1 on one Kentucky Derby futures board. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Kentucky Derby Futures: When is it Too Late to Jump In?

Here is your Kentucky Derby futures reminder that the typical Derby favorite opens around 5/2 or 3/1 when Mike Battaglia issues the Churchill Downs morning line come Derby Week. We issue this reminder because right now – nearly eight weeks before the May 1 Derby – Life Is Good sits […]

Yes, Essential Quality is No. 1 in the Kentucky Derby Future Pool 4. The Tapit colt opens at 7/2 when the KDFW's Pool 4 begins Friday. (Image: Coady Photography)

No Surprise: Essential Quality Opens as 7/2 Favorite in KDFW Pool 4

Essential Quality turned his Southwest Stakes victory on Saturday into 7/2 favored status for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) Pool 4. The KDFW’s Pool 4 runs concurrently with the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager’s sole pool. Clariere opens as the 5/1 favorite for that pool. The KDFW opens Friday at […]

After Jose Ortiz pointed the way to a stretch victory in the Fountain of Youth, Greatest Honour reached his lowest Kentucky Derby odds mark to date. He's 7/1 at Circa Sports, 5/1 at William Hill Nevada. (Image: Lauren King/Gulfstream Park)

Derby Futures: Just When You Thought the Favorites Can’t Go Lower

As the calendar turns to March – a mere two months out from the Kentucky Derby – Circa Sports and William Hill Nevada pared 53 horses from their Derby futures boards. There are 150 horses remaining. The value on many of the favorites? The books sliced that away long ago. […]

After their resounding Southwest Stakes victory, Essential Quality and Luis Saez point to either the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland or the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn. (Image: Coady Photography)

What’s Next on the Derby Trail for Essential Quality, Greatest Honour?

Essential Quality and Greatest Honour came out of their weekend Kentucky Derby prep victories none the worse for their victorious efforts. And, their respective trainers have already plotted their next stops on the Derby trail. Essential Quality, who splashed through the Oaklawn Park slop for a 4 ¼-length victory over […]

Undefeated Essential Quality makes his 3-year-old debut in Saturday's Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. He's the 3/2 favorite in the Grade 3 Kentucky Derby prep.  (Image: Oaklawn Park)

Southwest Stakes: Answering One Question Picks Your Winner

From a betting standpoint, Saturday’s Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park lacks value. Do you want 3/2 Essential Quality or 8/5 Jackie’s Warrior? There are five other horses in the field, but this isn’t a rhetorical question. From a watching standpoint, the 1 1/16-mile Southwest lacks nothing. How can […]

Fire At Will proved he is great on grass with this Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf win. Can he give favorite Greatest Honour a dirt duel in Saturday's Fountain of Youth? (Image: Coady Photography)

Weekend Stakes: Third Time Should be Oaklawn Park’s Charm

This weekend’s stakes card gives us another shot at seeing the 2021 debuts of Essential Quality, Jackie’s Warrior, and Monomoy Girl. After two weather postponements over the past two weekends, Oaklawn Park finally gets a thumbs-up from Mother Nature. That means the Arkansas track finally gets to turn loose its […]

Life Is Good, who won January's Sham Stakes with the fastest Beyer Speed Figure of any 3-year-old, clocked a bullet 59.6-second workout last Saturday. Both trainer Bob Baffert and racing writer and historian Jon White called his talent "freaky." (Image: Benoit Photo)

White Goes Beyond Black and White Breaking Down Derby Prospects

When it comes to Kentucky Derby prospects, Jon White makes things simpler than they really are. To the author of Santa Anita Park’s morning line and a regular television presence on XBTV, breaking down Derby prospects in February begins with three elements. “You’re looking for horses who give the indication […]

For the second consecutive weekend, Oaklawn Park canceled its weekend racing card due to inclement weather forecasts. (Image: Richard Rasmussen/The Sentinel-Record

Citing More Storms, Oaklawn Park Postpones Weekend Card Again

Oaklawn Park announced late Monday evening that it canceled this weekend’s Thursday through Sunday racing card, citing stormy forecasts for the Hot Springs, AR, region. This once again pushes back three Grade 3 races, including a key Kentucky Derby prep involving Champion 2-Year-Old Essential Quality. That race, the Southwest Stakes, […]