Tag: Hot Rod Charlie

Hot Rod Charlie (back) finished ahead of Mandaloun by the proverbial nose in Saturday's Haskell Stakes. But the 4/5 favorite was taken down moments later for interfering with Midnight Bourbon. Mandaloun was declared the winner of his first Grade 1 amid questions about New Jersey's no-crop rule. (Image: Bill Denver/EQUI-SPORT)

Controversy, Near-Catastrophe, Marks Haskell Stakes Finish

The inherent danger of riding horses combined with a controversial rule change to create a frightening finish to Saturday’s Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park. Hot Rod Charlie crossed the finish line first, nipping Mandaloun by a nose. That apparently gave him his long-sought first Grade 1 victory. However, the 4/5 […]

Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie hasn't finished worse than third in his last six races. He looks for his first Grade 1 victory as the 6/5 favorite in Saturday's Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park. (Image: Jamie Newell/TwinSpires.com)

A Triple Crown Placers War by the Jersey Shore Headlines Haskell Stakes

The first thought that comes to mind when you see Mandaloun, Midnight Bourbon and Hot Rod Charlie lined up as the three headliners for Saturday’s Grade 1 Haskell Stakes is that deja-vu sense of familiarity. You’ve seen these three clash repeatedly, but there’s something else about them that stands out. […]

Essential Quality (left) and Hot Rod Charlie separated themselves from their 3-year-old rivals at Saturday's Belmont Stakes. Both came out of the 1 1/2-mile race set for future summer contests. (Image: Al Bello/Getty)

Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie Ready For More After Belmont Stakes

Even after Hot Rod Charlie reeled off record early fractions, and even after Essential Quality caught and passed him in the stretch, both leading protagonists from Saturday’s Belmont Stakes came out of their 1 ½-mile “Test of the Champion” in fine form. “He looks amazing. It doesn’t look like he […]

Jockey Luis Saez won Saturday's Belmont Stakes for his first Triple Crown victory. He piloted 6/5 favorite Essential Quality to his third stakes win in 2021. (Image: Wendell Cruz/USA Today Sports)

Essential Quality Seizes His Moment, Wins 2021 Belmont Stakes

As the 153rd Belmont Stakes hit its stretch crescendo, Essential Quality would not be denied. At the end of this Triple Crown season, Essential Quality would not be denied his Triple Crown race victory. He would not be denied his place in history and trainer Brad Cox would not be […]

Hot Rod Charlie hit the board in his last five races: two wins, a second and two thirds. Four of those came in graded stakes races, making him a legitimate Belmont Stakes threat. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Back to Being a Real Test: Breaking Down the 2021 Belmont Stakes

The 153rd Belmont Stakes wraps up an unpredictable 2021 Triple Crown season with what should be the best race of the three for horseplayers. If 12/1 Medina Spirit winning the Kentucky Derby was a shock to the handicapper’s system, what was 11/1 Rombauer winning the Preakness Stakes? Two horses considered […]

Essential Quality's Blue Grass Stakes wire victory over Highly Motivated was the Champion 2-Year-Old's fifth consecutive win. After finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby, the colt seeks to rebound as the 2/1 morning-line favorite in the 153rd Belmont Stakes. (Image: Kentuckyderby.com)

Essential Quality Returns to Triple Crown Trail as Belmont Stakes Favorite

Essential Quality duplicated the favorite status he enjoyed for the Kentucky Derby five weeks ago, taking 2/1 morning-line favorite odds into Saturday’s 153rd Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. Tuesday morning’s Belmont Stakes draw put the Brad Cox-trained, Tapit progeny in post 2. He’s one of four Grade 1 winners and […]

If Flavien Prat celebrates after the Belmont, he'll do it on a different horse than Preakness winner Rombauer. Prat takes the reins of Hot Charlie for the Belmont Stakes. He rode Hot Rod Charlie in the Kentucky Derby. (Image: Patrick Smith/Getty)

Belmont Musical Jockeys: Prat Trades Rombauer for Hot Rod Charlie

Trainer Doug O’Neill, who proved his nimbleness by quickly securing Flavien Prat’s jockey services for the Kentucky Derby, proved them once again for the Belmont Stakes. He said Prat will ride the Derby’s third-place runner in the June 5 Belmont Stakes. That, of course, means Michael McCarthy needs to find […]

Maryland-bred Jaxon Traveler returns to his home state as the favorite for the Grade 3 Chick Lang Stakes. The one-time 60/1 futures choice to win the Kentucky Derby found a different path to success. (Image: Maryland Jockey Club)

Taking the Shorter Trail, Jaxon Traveler Puts the Odds in His Favor

Last November, Jaxon Traveler occupied the fast lane of Kentucky Derby prospects. At 60/1, he kept double-digit futures odds company with the likes of 45/1 Highly Motivated, 50/1 Hot Rod Charlie, 75/1 Midnight Bourbon, and 75/1 Keepmeinmind. Jaxon Traveler’s odds were lower than Hidden Stash and Super Stock (both 100/1). […]

Bob Baffert said Medina Spirit was his most improbable Kentucky Derby winner. The Hall of Fame trainer said Medina Spirit came out of the Derby well and is likely for the Preakness Stakes. (Image: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

Medina Spirit Comes Out of Derby Well, Likely for Preakness

Less than a day after Medina Spirit’s remarkable Kentucky Derby victory, trainer Bob Baffert said he’s on track for the May 15 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. Tentatively. “He came out of it well. It takes about a week to determine, so I’m going to come back next weekend and see,” […]

Medina Spirit and John Velazquez illustrate their tenacity in deep stretch, holding off Mandaloun to capture the 147th Kentucky Derby. (Image: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

The 2021 Derby: 12/1 Medina Spirit wins Baffert His Record Seventh

The primary lesson coming out of the 2021 Kentucky Derby is as simple as it is frustrating for everyone not named Bob Baffert. Even when Baffert brings his third-string horse to Churchill Downs, he wins Derbies. That would be Medina Spirit, who gave Baffert his seventh Derby victory Saturday, passing […]

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 […]

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 […]

Hot Rod Charlie pulled away from Midnight Bourbon and the rest of the Louisiana Derby field for a two-length victory that clinched him a spot in the Kentucky Derby. (Image: Jamie Newell/Twin Spires)

How Hot Rod Charlie Brought One Small Syndicate to the Derby

In October 2019, Greg Helm took a call that changed his horse racing ownership life forever. On the other end was bloodstock agent Dennis O’Neill, brother to trainer Doug O’Neill, with a proposition for Helm and the rest of his small Roadrunner Racing syndicate. “He asked me if I wanted […]

Proxy finished second in both Fair Grounds Derby preps: the Lecomte and the Risen Star. Can the 7/2 third-favorite break through in the Louisiana Derby? (Image: Hodges Photography)

Louisiana Derby Offers Big, Familiar Names in the Big Easy

Yes, the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby has a familiar look to it that goes beyond bringing us familiar names like Mandaloun, Midnight Bourbon, Proxy – and yes, California import Hot Rod Charlie. It’s those first three that give the first of the 170-point Kentucky Derby preps that déjà vu look. […]

Candy Man Rocket parlayed his Sam F. Davis Stakes victory into a spot on Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager's Pool 3. (Image: SV Photography)

New Entries, Same Favorites in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3

Nine new offerings entered the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3 picture, but two familiar names continue holding court as the KDFW favorites. Essential Quality and Life Is Good opened as individual 8/1 morning-line favorites in the third of five KDFW pools. As expected, however, the overall favorite is “All […]

Hot Rod Charlie is one of two Doug O'Neill horses in the Saturday's Robert B. Lewis field. He's seeking a repeat of his out-of-nowhere second as a 94/1 longshot in the Breeders' Cup Classic. (Image: Horsephotos)

Lewis Stakes Recount Historic Horses, Revive Current Rivalries

In 2012, little-known 43/1 long shot I’ll Have Another won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park. This feat drew mild murmurs and a few curious looks throughout the horseracing world. After all, the Doug O’Neill-trained colt came into the Lewis off a horrible sixth in the Hopeful […]

Santa Anita canceled Friday's racing card due to expected showers. The Southern California track will make up the races next week. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Santa Anita Scratches Friday’s Card Due to Expected Downpour

Citing a major winter storm expected this weekend, Santa Anita Park canceled its Friday racing card. The Southern California track announced the move Tuesday morning. Track officials announced that two turf stakes, the Grade 2 San Marcos on Saturday and Sunday’s Black-Type $75,000 Baffle, will move to next week. The […]