2016 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Preview and Kentucky Derby Day Selections

The traditional race before the Kentucky Derby is the G1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. It will be contested once again and has a half million dollars at stake. The race was first run in 1987, and it featured Manila – the incumbent Breeders’ Cup Turf winner and Eclipse winner for Turf Champion at three –... Read more »

2016 Kentucky Derby Preview

The Kentucky Derby. The Run for the Roses. The First Saturday in May. The first leg of the Triple Crown. The finest two minutes in sport. This piece focuses only on the Derby, but Picks & Ponderings hasn’t neglected other races.  Picks & Ponderings also offers selections for the other stakes on the undercard as... Read more »

2016 Kentucky Oaks Preview

It’s here: Oaks weekend, Derby weekend, the one weekend in which horse racing is most likely to come up in casual conversation among your non-racing friends!  As always, we are here to shine some light on the marquee races.  In addition to this piece, Picks and Ponderings will feature a point-counterpoint preview of the Kentucky... Read more »
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2016 Miami Mile Preview

For the thirtieth time, the Miami Mile will be contested.  Such a race will be run not in Miami (as it used to be), but will be run at a mile.  The Miami Mile serves as the feature of the Saturday April 30th card at Gulfstream Park as the south Florida transitions from its championship... Read more »

2016 Bewitch Stakes Preview

Last week, open company got a chance to go three turns on the Keeneland grass in the Elkhorn.  On Keeneland’s closing day (Friday, April 29), the long-winded fillies and mares get their day in the mile and a half Bewitch Stakes. This race, being run for the 55th time this year, takes its name from... Read more »

2016 Elkhorn Stakes Preview

As it has been through the winter and spring, this weekend’s theme at Picks and Ponderings remains the number three. However, instead of three-year-old preps…this weekend features three-turn races. In another piece, Paul Mazur previews the Charles Town Classic, a three-turn, nine-furlong race over the West Virginia bullring.  This piece instead focuses on the twelve-furlong... Read more »
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2016 Charles Town Classic Preview

“If you build it, they will come.” It may be one of the most often quoted lines of cinema, but a practical application of it exists in the horse racing world at an oval in the mid-Atlantic.   A more representative quote would be “if you fund it, they will come.” Hollywood Casino at Charles Town... Read more »

2016 Beaumont Stakes Preview

The Beaumont Stakes is the final three-year-old points race of the year.  Keeneland hosts one final Derby prep on Saturday, and then this final Oaks prep on Sunday.  Unlike most of the recent preps, they do not offer enough points to get their winners into the big race — but for horses on the bubble,... Read more »

2016 Lexington Stakes Preview

Any horses waiting for the last minute to qualify for the Kentucky Derby or the Kentucky Oaks have found that proverbial last minute. One 100-point Derby prep — and a perennially live one, at that — remains this weekend.  Paul Mazur takes a look at that race, the Arkansas Derby (GI). Keeneland, on the other... Read more »
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2016 Arkansas Derby Preview

This piece is jointly submitted for Thorofan’s Handicapper’s Corner. Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas brings down the curtain on its 2016 meet with its traditional closing day feature, the Grade One $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby.  It carries, like other April preps, a 100-40-20-10 allotment of Kentucky Derby qualifying points.  The Arkansas Derby was first created... Read more »