Trainer Ian Wilkes Retains Confidence After Blue Grass Loss

Trainer Ian Wilkes had his humor intact and his perspective on point on the Sunday morning following McCraken’s third place showing in the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2), the colt’s first loss in five career starts.

Source: Wilkes Retains Confidence After Blue Grass Loss

The Kentucky Derby Donald Trump-style

“First Saturday in May” Visitors can Purchase $100,000 Marriott package for the weekend

It’s a little over a month away to the Kentucky Derby, which means that hotels, motels, Airbnb rentals and any other accommodations in and near Churchill Downs are going fast – especially at economic rates. However, if you’re not on a budget, you have the chance to live like royalty the first weekend of May courtesy… [Read more…]

Handicapping Tip #29 – The Quarter Pole in Horse Racing

The big red and white pole at Churchill Downs

Handicapping tips from

by Art Parker

There two critical points in the running of the Kentucky Derby: the start and the quarter pole. Located at the very top of the stretch at Churchill Downs is the quarter pole, meaning it is a quarter of a mile to the finish line from that point. The race does not end there but one should always view the race, in some ways, as if it does stop at the quarter pole. Why? Because if a horse cannot gain position by the time he hits the quarter pole his chances of winning the roses are greatly diminished.

All too often we hear the talk of distance runners that will close with all the extra ground in the Derby, but that really doesn’t happen much. Those that are on or near the lead at the top of the stretch have the best opportunity to win the Derby. So when you handicap the Kentucky Derby, ask yourself the question, “Who can win the race, without emptying the tank, if the race were only one mile?”

Handicapping Tip of the Day #28 – Who Can Win the KY Derby?

2013 KY Derby contender Verrazanoby Art Parker

In the last several decades over 80% of the Derby winners finished either first or second in one of the following major prep races: Spiral Stakes, Florida Derby, Louisiana Derby, Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby, Arkansas Derby and the Blue Grass Stakes.

On occasion there will be exceptions to this rule but it is hard to ignore the Derby results these races have posted.

There are a couple of reasons for these races being so important to the Derby. First, most of these races serve as the last “big prep” before the Derby and almost all serious contenders will run in one of these, plus the purses of these races are very appealing. Secondly, the cream of the crop shows up at these races, which are generally held four to five weeks before the Derby making these races the best indicator of current form.

It’s unlikely the winner on the first Saturday in May will exit a race other than one these major preps.

KY Derby Watch: Super Saturday 4-9-16

Animal Kingdom - Derby Museum The Super Saturday of the Kentucky Derby prep season is upon us. With it, comes the last chance for already established contenders to shore up their cases for classic success and for those outside the velvet rope of contention to try and bust into the club that only allows for a maximum crowd of 20. There… [Read more…]

KY Derby Watch: Influence of leading sire Tapit continues to be far-reaching

Kentucky Derby Top Dozen

churchill downs ky derby day If one buys into the concept of Derby Gods, it is hard not to think this could be the year ‘The Powers That Be’ reward a certain, well-respected figure. The fact he already has a classic winner, not to mention multiple Breeders’ Cup victors, makes his legacy secure regardless if he ever gets a Kentucky Derby… [Read more…]

Visiting Louisville for Derby? A Quick Guide

 KY Derby 2015LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – When the azaleas and dogwoods burst into springtime bloom, thoughts in Louisville turn to parties, fashion and fast horses in the days leading up to the Kentucky Derby. This city along the Ohio River spends weeks celebrating a two-minute horse race on the first Saturday in May. It has a growing reputation…

Sisters are ‘Riding the Dream’ of Thoroughbred Horse Racing

 Metaboss DRF03215As young girls growing up in Oakville, sisters Denise Bond and Julie Wright were so crazy about horses that their parents purchased a family pony, rather than make them take piano lessons. They watched anything to do with horses on television, but both were particularly drawn to thoroughbred racing. As teenagers, they maintained a healthy debate…

What’s in a Name? A Derby Winner. Top 10 List for 2015.

The first time I see some of these names I instantly send up a prayer and ask that this horse not win the Derby because of the ridiculous name.



Every year about this time I take a look at the list of two year olds that are receiving wagers in the Kentucky Derby future books in Vegas. I always thought it amazing that folks would wager on horses six months or so before a race. It is even more amazing that they wager on them with such limited information.

Last week I looked at a list of about 300 juveniles. Like most folks I only know or remember a few from their two old year season, and most I have never heard of. The majority, I am assuming, have never raced as of this date. It’s still fun to look at the list and see the odds and take particular note of the few with odds anywhere close to reality.

2013 Derby contender Verrazano

2013 Derby contender Verrazano

The other thing that is interesting is looking at the list and noticing the names the owners give their stock. The first time I see some of these names I instantly send up a prayer and ask that this horse not win the Derby because of the ridiculous name. Of course I think that some have great names and I praise the owners for their effort.

I took this year’s list and marked about 20 names I liked. My wife is not a handicapper but she enjoys the races and loves horses. She gets a big kick out of the names. I handed her the latest list of those in the Derby future book and told her to pick her top 20 to see where we could agree, as far as names are concerned. When it was over, we agreed on 10 names that were suitable for a great champion and Derby winner. Here are the current 2 year olds on the list the Parker’s have decided were “good ‘uns.”


Carpe Diem, Danny Boy, Eagle, Exodus, First Down, Lord Nelson, Moon River, Titan, War Envoy, War Story.


The only one with a solid track record worthy of a Derby wager, as far as I know, is Carpe Diem, which happened to be my pick to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but he finished second. According to some translations his name means “to seize the day,” and I cannot think of a better way to describe the winner of the Run for the Roses after the Derby field crosses the line. But he is just one of many that have a chance.

The reason why I bring up the game Mrs. Parker and I play with names is because so many people do not know the rules associated with naming a thoroughbred. The Jockey Club makes the rules regarding names. The most important thing to know about naming a thoroughbred is to forget what you can do and understand what you cannot do.

There are many rules regarding the naming of a Thoroughbred. The most important rules for names NOT eligible for use are:

  1. Names consisting of more than 18 letters (spaces and punctuation marks count as letters);
  2. Names consisting entirely of initials such as C.O.D., F.O.B., etc.;
  3. Names ending in “filly,” “colt,” “stud,” “mare,” “stallion,” or any similar horse-related term;
  4. Names consisting entirely of numbers. Numbers above thirty may be used if they are spelled out;
  5. Names ending with a numerical designation such as “2nd” or “3rd,” whether or not such a designation is spelled out;
  6. Names of living persons unless written permission to use their name is on file with The Jockey Club;
  7. Names of persons no longer living unless approval is granted by The Jockey Club based upon a satisfactory written explanation submitted to the Registrar;
  8. Names of racetracks or graded stakes races;
  9. Names that are suggestive or have a vulgar or obscene meaning; names considered in poor taste; or names that may be offensive to religious, political or ethnic groups;
  10. Names that appear to be designed to harass, humiliate or disparage a specific individual, group of individuals or entity;
  11. Names that are currently active either in racing or breeding
  12. Names of winners in the past 25 years of grade one stakes races;
  13. Permanent names. The list of criteria to establish a permanent name is as follows:
  14. Horses in racing’s Hall of Fame;
  15. Horses that have been voted Horse of the Year;
  16. Horses that have won an Eclipse Award;
  17. Horses that have won a Sovereign Award (Canadian Champions);
  18. Annual leading sire and broodmare sire by progeny earnings;
  19. Cumulative money winners of $2 million or more;
  20. Horses that have won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes, The Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Breeders’ Cup Classic or the Breeders’ Cup Turf; and
  21. Horses included in the International List of Protected Names.

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Odds to Win the 2015 Kentucky Derby

Future Book Odds to win the 2015 Run for the Roses, courtesy of Wynn Las Vegas, the premier horse racing sports book in Nevada.

A LOT 200/1 225/1
A. ROD AGAIN 175/1 175/1
ACCEPTANCE 300/1 100/1
ADROSA SKY 250/1 250/1
ALDRIN 250/1 200/1
ALL RISE 275/1 275/1
APOSTROPHE 150/1 150/1
ASTOUNDING 250/1 150/1
ATTA’ BOY WOODY 175/1 175/1
AWESOME INDIAN 350/1 350/1
BAD READ SANCHEZ 200/1 200/1
BARBADOS 250/1 250/1
BATTLE RED 250/1 350/1
BAYERD 125/1 150/1
BENCH WARRANT 200/1 200/1
BIG SWAG 150/1 150/1
BLAME JIM 150/1 150/1
BLOFELD 100/1 30/1
BLUE DANCER 275/1 275/1
BOLD CONQUEST 100/1 75/1
BOLLYWOOD 275/1 275/1
BO TALON 225/1 225/1
BOW TIE BOSS 175/1 175/1
BRIDLED TRANZ 275/1 275/1
BROKEN CLOUD 325/1 325/1
BRONZE STAR 250/1 85/1
CALCULATOR 100/1 50/1


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