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Horse Racing

We're just over a week away from the Run for the Roses and it's time for the annual Degrees of Separation column where we separate the contenders from the pretenders. It's a light look at the horses that have qualified for a gate on the first Saturday in May, a week out and before the post position draw to help segregate the horses I'm high on versus the throwouts come …

Horse Racing

The $1 million Grade 1 Arkansas Derby is the last of the 170-point races to qualify for the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby. The first four finishers of Saturdays’ race at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs will attain 100-40-20-10 points, respectively, on the road to Louisville. The top 20 finishers in points make the starting gate at Churchill Downs. Master Fencer, th…

Horse Racing

The battle for the final few gates for this year’s Kentucky Derby is scheduled from coast-to-coast within 90 minutes Saturday afternoon. In New York, the $750,000 Grade 2 Wood Memorial (6 p.m.) at Aqueduct will kick things off, followed by the $1 million Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes (6:23 p.m.) at Keeneland and concluding with the most-anticipated race, the $1 million Grad…

Horse Racing

It was a walk in the park for Maximum Security that earned him an all-expense paid trip to Louisville. The undefeated son of former Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day went right to the lead from post No. 7 and never looked back at balmy Gulfstream Park to win the 68th edition of the $1 million Grade 1 Florida Derby. With the lack of early pace, he cruised t…

Horse Racing

Of all of the prep races on the Kentucky Derby trail, the Florida Derby is one that deserves particular attention. The past 67 editions of the race have produced 44 starters with subsequent victories in one of the three Triple Crown races. Twenty-four have worn the roses at Churchill Downs, 19 have gone on to win the Preakness, and 16 have donned the carnations at the B…

Horse Racing

The race of the week is at the Fair Grounds Race Course and the first 170-point qualifying race of the year features the horse sitting on top of the Derby leaderboard in War of Will (60 points). Assured of a spot in the gate in Louisville on the First Saturday in May, the Mark Casse-trained colt has won the two Fair Grounds prep races for Saturday’s $1 million Grade 2 L…

Horse Racing

Rebel, rebel, how could they know? It’s double trouble at Oaklawn Park on Saturday with two divisions of the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes heading your way. After the cancellation of last weekend’s San Felipe at Santa Anita Park, horses from the west coast on the Derby trail had to adjust schedules and look for qualifying races. Several landed here, including two of the top h…

Horse Racing

The Kentucky Derby trail winds through three tracks across the nation this weekend.  Tampa Bay Downs (Tampa Bay Derby), Aqueduct (Gotham) and Turfway Park (Jeff Ruby Steaks) all host qualifying prep races Saturday. The Tampa Bay Derby and Gotham will offer the top four finishers Derby qualifying points totaling 50-20-10-5. The feature at Turfway, located just outside Ci…

Horse Racing

The Kentucky Derby trail points to South Florida and the Fountain of Youth on Saturday afternoon. Hidden Scroll (9-5), was donned the morning line favorite for the Grade 2 $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth Stakes. A key prep race for the Florida Derby, the Fountain of Youth is a 1 1/16 mile trek around the Gulfstream Park oval. The 16-race "Kentucky Derby Cham…

Horse Racing

With the Derby trail on hiatus until next weekend’s Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream, we’ll go through some early thoughts on what’s transpired so far on the trail and what’s to come. So far only War of Will has caught my eye as a horse that could do some damage in Louisville on the First Saturday in May in a points race. His performance from the outside post in last w…

Horse Racing

The "Kentucky Derby Championship Series,” comprised of 16 prep races, kicks off this weekend with the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Coming off the 19-race “Prep Season,” the qualifying points start to grow in value. Points to the top four finishers of the Risen Star will be distributed on a 50-20-10-5 basis. The 1 1/6-mile …

Horse Racing

The Derby trail winds down south to the gulf coast and Tampa Bay Downs this weekend for the $250,000 Grade 3 Sam F. Davis. The 1 1/16-mile affair will be contested by eight colts and two geldings seeking valuable Derby points. The last two runners up have gone on to bigger things later in the year. The 2017 Davis runner-up Tapwrit, ended up going on to become the Belmon…

Horse Racing

The Derby trail winds from coast to coast Saturday with the Grade 2 Holy Bull at Gulfstream, the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita and the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct. The Withers will be run at 1 1/8-miles and the other two at 1 1/16-miles with each race worth 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top four finishers. All three races can be seen live …

Horse Racing

Pegasus World Cup  We’re just over a week away from the third annual $9 million Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Jan. 26, the race that will be the feature event on a big card at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla. The race has yet to sell out its 12 slots, each costing $500,000, with one remaining open gate and 11 contenders set to run the 1 1/8-mile tr…

Horse Racing

It’s time to start paying attention to the 3-year-olds and Saturday’s Sham Stakes at Santa Anita is the latest Derby trail race with Kentucky Derby points at stake. A field of seven is scheduled to leave the gate at 7:04 p.m. ET from the Arcadia, Calif. track. Bob Baffert sends out the favorite, Coliseum (Even) looking to collect a record improving sixth win in the race…