Tag: Midnight Bourbon

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 […]

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. […]

Mandaloun won his first two races, including this maiden-breaker at Keeneland last October. He looks to rebound off a disappointing third last out as the 9/2 favorite in the Risen Star Saturday. (Image: Coady Photography)

Risen Star: Your First Win-And-You’re-In Derby Race for 2021

The Risen Star Stakes is, to paraphrase Drew Carey from the old “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” improv show, the race where the points begin to matter. Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds is the season’s first Kentucky Derby prep offering 50-20-10-5 qualifying points to the […]

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 […]

Midnight Bourbon leads the top four finishers of last month's Lecomte Stakes into this weekend's Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. That race gives 50 points to the winner, virtually guaranteeing a Kentucky Derby spot. (Image: Hodges Photography)

Risen Star Brings Rising Derby Points to the Weekend Stakes

This weekend’s stakes races bring us Essential Quality making his 3-year-old debut in one Kentucky Derby prep. They bring us the first win-and-you’re-in Derby prep, and they bring us a Derby prep that gives the winner a berth in the Preakness Stakes. They also bring back Monomoy Girl for her […]

Between them, Todd Pletcher (left) and Bob Baffert own eight Kentucky Derby victories. Pletcher (45) and Baffert (23) have the most Triple Crown early nominated horses for 2021. (Image: Doug Engle/AP File)

Essential Quality Leads 326-Strong Triple Crown Nomination Parade

Getting your horse a Triple Crown nomination used to be so simple that connections to this year’s 3-year-old hopefuls nominated 326 horses to compete in the three American Classic races this spring. Those 326 nominations represent a slight, 6.1% dip from last year’s 347 early nominees. Those connections paid $600 […]

Lecomte Stakes winner Midnight Bourbon opens at 30/1 in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2. (Image: Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography)

The Field is Your Favorite in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2

While Life Is Good yielded his favorite status in at least one Las Vegas future book, he holds down 6/1 individual favorite status in Pool 2 of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) pool. At the same time, the Derby field of “All Other 3-Year-Olds” is the overall 9/5 […]

Mandaloun brings a versatile running style into the closer's haven that is the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. The Into Mischief offspring is the 3/1 favorite in the Kentucky Derby prep. (Image: Coady Photography)

Lecomte Stakes: Kind to Closers, Anything but to Derby Prospects

The Lecomte Stakes takes center stage this week because it’s a Kentucky Derby prep, it’s a Kentucky Derby prep run in mid-January, and because there are some interesting candidates among its 11-horse field. Eventually, the wheat separates from the chaff, and races like the Grade 3 Lecomte start the Derby […]

Unbeaten in three races, including this Saratoga Special win, Jackie's Warrior is the favorite for Saturday's Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. (Image: Coglianese Photo)

Champagne Stakes Uncorks Juvenile Horses in Vintage Race

The Champagne Stakes dates to 1867, making this a vintage race if there ever was a non-American Classic vintage race. Yet, it holds its vintage status while turning loose 2-year-olds upon the racing world. Call it a vintage race with fledgling racers. But while you’re at it, call Saturday’s Grade […]