Final Kentucky Derby Rankings


1. California Chrome – There is no questioning the talent this horse has…can he take his show on the road is the only question mark left to answer for this Kentucky Derby Favorite. He brings a huge fan following with him, and also a bit of mystery as he won’t arrive to Churchill Downs until the week of the race. One of the more unlikely and entertaining favorites in Kentucky Derby history!

2. Hoppertunity – Just keeps getting better and better with each race and workout. He’s been clearly defeated by California Chrome, but if Chrome doesn’t show up with his best effort this is the horse that can take him down. His work on Wednesday morning was very strong.

3. Wicked Strong – Can he give his best effort outside of the state of New York? Wicked Strong is one of the few horses to win from off the pace which is great news in this field that should have a fast pace, but he’s ran a few duds outside of New York. Will Churchill suit him?

4. Intense Holiday – He’s been forgotten about since finishing second in the Louisiana Derby, but I look for him to rebound with a nice race. The long Churchill Downs stretch will be to his liking.

5. Samraat – This might be the toughest horse out of them all. He’s yet to run a bad race, and in the only loss of his career he was still a game second to Wicked Strong. Has a little bit of pedigree problems, but you can’t underestimate him.

6. Tapiture – Fairly disappointing effort in the Arkansas Derby, but perhaps he can rebound at the right time. Pedigree has always been in question…looked flat going a mile and one eighth.

7. Candy Boy – The Santa Anita Derby was not a good effort at all, but I do believe he’ll improve in this one. The extra distance should be right up his alley, and hopefully they can get him to settle early and make one big run at the end.

8. Wildcat Red – He’s outrunning his pedigree distance wise so you can’t discredit this ones heart. Most likely will be close to the lead the whole way, and also will most likely be the one fighting to stay around at the end.

9. Danza – Is he for real…or is he a one hit wonder? The first Saturday in May will give us an indication, but as of now this one has me puzzled.

10. Ride On Curlin – His level of improvement throughout the prep season has been great, and many are raving about his workouts leading up to this race. Can he make those workouts translate into a big time victory? Maybe…you also have to like that Calvin Borel has jumped aboard.

11. Uncle Sigh – Pedigree wise this one is shaky, but he’s another that has a lot of heart. I don’t look at him as a horse that can win, but he might keep trying while others will quit.

12. General A Rod – I’ve wanted to like this horse for awhile now, but he just has kind of developed into a hanger. In both his last two races at Gulfstream it looked like he was going to win during the stretch, and both times he’s come up short.

13. Dance With Fate – Really great performance in the Bluegrass, but his connections even hinted that this one is a poly track specialist. Will make him beat me.

14. Commanding Curve – Definitely a logical longshot pick here. Had a pretty nice closing kick last time out, and this trainer proved to us last year that you can’t leave him off any tickets.

15. Vicar’s In Trouble – I love the talent this one has…his natural turn of foot and early speed is something to be respected. However, I just have zero confidence that he can get the mile and one quarter Derby distance. If by some chance he can he could become very dangerous.

16. Vinceremos – Forget about his performance last time out in the Bluegrass Stakes as it was obviously he didn’t care for the surface. His races on dirt have been ok, but I’m not sure he’s quite good enough to make an impact in a tough spot like the Derby. You could find worse longshots though…

17. Medal Count – Certainly looks like a poly track specialist to me. He’s had a few chances on the dirt and none have turned out to be very pretty.

18. Ring Weekend – Usually horses don’t lose the Calder Derby and then come back to win the Kentucky Derby. He was able to win the Tampa Bay Derby by getting the right trip, but that most likely won’t happen again.

19. We Miss Artie – Got into the Derby by winning the Spiral Stakes, but that race wasn’t all the impressive. It’s also worth mentioning…he’s been terrible on dirt.

20. Harry’s Holiday – Complete toss for me as even if he brought his poly track form to this one he still wouldn’t be fast enough to compete.


Wednesday 4/23/14 Late Pick Four Selections


Tampa Bay Ticket

Race 7: 2,6,4

Race 8: 2,1,5,7

Race 9: 2,7

Race 10: 5,3,2

Ticket Cost: $36 (.50 cent)


Aqueduct Ticket

Race 6: 3

Race 7: 8,9,2,5,6

Race 8: 1,2,4

Race 9: 2,3,5,8,10

Ticket Cost: $37.50 (.50 cent)


Keeneland Ticket

Race 5: 9,3,7,8

Race 6: 11,2,5,8

Race 7: 7,3,1,11

Race 8: 9,1,3,7

Ticket Cost: $128 (.50 cent)


Evangeline Ticket

Race 7: 1,2,6,7

Race 8: 3,1,7,8

Race 9: 9,1,7

Race 10: 6,1

Ticket Cost: $48 (.50 cent)


Hawthorne Ticket

Race 6: 1,9,10

Race 7: 2,11,4,1

Race 8: 3

Race 9: 7,1,3,4,6,9,10,11

Ticket Cost: $48 (.50 cent)


Racing Dudes Divisional Rankings

All Eyes will be on California Chrome

All Eyes will be on California Chrome

Older Males

1. Game On Dude – He holds a head to head match up win over Will Take Charge and Mucho Macho Man so he assumes the top spot for now.  Most people are down on him for his second place effort in the Charles Town Classic, but I still think he ran well.

2. Will Take Charge – From a consistency standpoint he is well clear of the others so far this year.  He’s ran two winning type races when finishing second, and was able to redeem himself with a home track win last time out at Oaklawn.  Looks like he is on his way to another big year.

3. Wise Dan – Most of his big races are still to come so he’s third for now, but what a nice comeback race he had last time out at Keeneland.

4. Palace Malice – Already has two wins under his belt, with the last one being a monster effort in New Orleans.  Came back looking better than ever.

5. Mucho Macho Man – Dull performance at Santa Anita last time out, but he stays ranked out of respect.  Needs to pick it up if he wants to move past the monsters ahead of him.

Sleeper: Normandy Invasion – Obviously he’s come back strong, but he was beaten decisively by Palace Malice last time out.  Wouldn’t toss him out yet though…

Older Females

1. Beholder – Freak of nature!  Not sure if anyone can beat her in this division.

2. Close Hatches – Two very workman like performances at Oaklawn has me thinking she has progressed even further since last year.

3. Princess of Sylmar – Easy winner in her return race.  She’s one that is easy to root for considering she could have easily won the eclipse award last year.

4. Groupie Doll – I put her on here out of respect, and because some of the stars of last year haven’t started yet.  What a great career for this champion.

5. On Fire Baby – Ran two decent races to start the year, no disrespect in losing to Close Hatches…lets see if she can keep improving and stay healthy.

Sleeper: Dreaming of Julia – If she ever makes it back in good form we don’t know how good she could end up being…

3 Year Old Males

1. California Chrome – There is no doubting he’s the top horse in this bunch as of now…can he take his show on the road?

2. Hoppertunity – He’s improving at a rapid rate.  With one more progression he could be the best of the bunch.

3. Wicked Strong – He’s the “now” horse, but like California Chrome he also must prove he can take his show on the road.  Hasn’t ran well outside of New York.

4. Samraat – Yet to run a bad race.  Horse is talented and as steady as they come…pedigree in question for the Derby though.

5. Tapiture – Took a step backwards in the Arkansas Derby, but could see him rebounding.  The talent is there.

Sleeper: Kid Cruz – Quietly winning the smaller races for three-year olds, but could sneak up on a lot of people come Preakness time.

3 Year Old Females

1. Untapable – Cleary above and beyond anyone in this group by a wide margin.

2. My Miss Sophia – Her blowout wins of late make her the intriguing challenger to Untapable in the Oaks

3. Awesome Baby – Declared that she is not running in the Oaks, but still like her talent.

4. In Tune – Has progressed extremely well at Gulfstream, but can she run that well away from her home track?

5. Sugar Shock – Another that has gotten better with each race.  She’s a cut below the best at this point though.

Sleeper: She’s a Tiger – Never ran a bad race as a two-year old, but yet to see her this year.


1. Secret Circle – This division hasn’t heated up yet, but when it does he’ll be the top dog.

2. Goldencents – Haven’t seen him yet this year, but has already proven to be a monster at a mile.

3. Gentleman’s Bet – Another that is training forward for his 2014 debut.

4. Sahara Sky – Has found his stride after a slow start to 2013.

5. Wild Dude – This is a rising star in the division who has run three strong races in a row at Santa Anita.

Sleeper: Vicar’s In Trouble – He may be pointed to the Derby, but when they shorten him up he could really be something special.



Blinkers Off 069: Oaklawn Recap and Weekend Racing Podcast Released

Blinkers Off Logo2Blinkers Off has released a new episode!

Blinkers Off provides weekly insights into the world of horse racing including race selections and previews, handicapping methods and exclusive stories.

You can view all episodes of Blinkers Off by visiting our podcast page.

COMING SOON: Stayed tuned for our brand new website and logo update! It will be a major upgrade across the board and we hope you all will enjoy it!

Blinkers Off 069: Oaklawn Recap and Weekend Racing – April 18, 2014

The Thoroughbred Racing Dudes recap the 2014 Oaklawn Park meet and preview the notable stakes races for the weekend, including the Grade II Charles Town Classic, Grade III Illinois Derby and Grade III Coolmore Lexington Stakes.


Oaklawn Swag Part 1: A Tribute to Will Take Charge

Many of you have probably seen the amazing photo’s over the last year from Mike Sekulic, who captures Santa Anita like no one else can.  Well today we are posting pictures from our personal collection of last weekend’s action at Oaklawn Park.  WARNING…the pictures aren’t as good as Mike’s, but we still think you’ll enjoy him.  The first Oaklawn Swag post will be an all WILL TAKE CHARGE tribute post!  Tomorrow we’ll post an all Arkansas Derby picture collection.  Enjoy!

Racing Dudes Handicapping Challenge: Halterman vs. Black vs. Rapko


Welcome to another week of the Racing Dudes Handicapping Challenge! Each weekend we select 8 to 10 races from around the country and offer up a little handicapping challenge to anyone interested. We’ve received a massive amount of interest to take on the Dudes! So much so that we’ve had to resort to drawing randomly to see who gets to take on our back-to-back defending champ Mr. Halterman (Dude #1). Everyone will get a shot! And now, we’re adding one more challenger each week!


Fake $2 Win/Place wagers ($2 to Win and $2 to Place) and (1) mandatory $4 Win/Place wager will be made on the horse a player selects in each race. Only one horse may be selected per race. If a player’s horse wins, the player score is credited on both the Win and Place payouts. If the horse finishes second, the player score is credited only on the Place payout. And just so we’re clear, all wagers and payouts from races are NOT REAL and will be used for scoring purposes only.

In the event of a late scratch or change of track conditions, players may change picks provided given race has not started. If picks have already closed, the scratched horse will be replaced with the post-time favorite for that race.

Past results:

Week 1: Aaron Halterman (Dude #1) defeats Kelby Von Hemel $43.60 – $21.00

Week 2: Paul Mazur defeats Dude #1 $25.00 – $17.80

Week 3: Aaron West defeats Dude #1 and Paul Mazur $31.30 – $28.80 – $8.00

Week 4: West defeats Dude #1 and Oaklawn Wizard $53.30 – $27.00 – $25.60

Week 5: West defeats Dude #1 and Chance Moquett $42.40 – $37.40 – $22.20

Week 6: Dude #1 defeats West and Zack Gillham $68.00 – $49.80 – $35.40

Week 7: Dude #1 defeats Nicolle Neulist and Brady Lukas $30.00 – $29.20 – $13.80

This week’s challengers:

Jared Black

imageJared is 23 years old and a Finance/Business Management major at Henderson State University (graduating in May) where he also played college golf for 4 years.

Jared started going to the races with his dad when he was 3 years old and now visits Oaklawn once a week. His family actually owns racehorses as well. His favorite track besides Oaklawn is Delta Downs because of the huge payouts. You can find him around the paddock area when Danny Caldwell has a horse running, as he is in the “Danny Caldwell Fan Club” along with Justin Lewis (@JustinLewisLR).

His favorite wager is the Win/Place bet. Show money is no good! His biggest win was a 60/1 winner at Delta Downs last year! You can follow him on Twitter at @JaredWBlack.

 Ryan Rapko

Ryan Rapko was born, raised, and still lives in Aliquippa, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh. Ryan started getting involved in handicapping in the Summer of 2008 after getting a job at his local OTB. He taught himself how to wager and how to read the form. For the past 6 years, he has continuously been improving his handicapping skills whether it would be wagering and learning from acquaintances at the OTB or from his long time good friend @Whattasurprise.

He bets a variety of wagers, but mostly likes to focus in on Win/Place, Pick 3’s, and Pick 4’s. His biggest day of wagering came at the 2012 Kentucky3utkoze65ytt9ucoudds Derby. He cashed 2 Pick 3’s totaling roughly $2,500 as well as the Exacta and Trifecta in the Derby for another $1,500.

If he is not wagering online, Ryan can either be found at either Mountaineer Park or the Meadows Casino reading the form, building tickets, and cashing winners. His favorite tracks he would like to visit someday are Del Mar, Saratoga, Keeneland, and Gulfstream.

Outside of racing, Ryan enjoys watching and wagering on sports. He is a fan of the Yankees, Big Blue Nation, and the Chargers. He is also a fan of the WWE.

Currently, Ryan is partaking in a mythical bankroll challenge for the Keeneland Spring Meet. He posts full card selections, Challenge Plays that affect the bankroll, and, after each racing day, updated stats. All of this, as well as other horse racing handicapping thoughts, can be found on his twitter page @Chuckles375.

Challenge races:


1  Toyota Blue Grass S. (4:45 CT)

2  Arkansas Derby (6:07 CT)


3  Keeneland Race 6 (2:40 CT)

4  Keeneland Race 7 (3:11 CT)

5  Keeneland Race 8 (3:42 CT)

6  Santa Anita Park Race 4 (4:00 CT)

7  Keeneland Race 9 (4:13 CT)

8  Santa Anita Park Race 5 (4:30 CT)

9  Santa Anita Park Race 6 (5:00 CT)

10  Santa Anita Park  Race 8 (6:00 CT)


Dude #1
KEE R11 #5 (Off) #4 (Off) #3 (3rd)
OP R11 #3 (Off) #4 (2nd 7.00) #8 (3rd)
KEE R6 #8 (2nd 4.80) #6 (1st 6.80 3.60) #6 (1st 6.80 3.60)
KEE R7 #1 (2nd 4.60) #1 (2nd 4.60) #7 (3rd)
KEE R8 #3* (1st 11.20 6.80) #2 (Off) #3* (1st 11.20 6.80)
SA R4 #7 (Off) #2 (2nd 4.60) #7 (Off)
KEE R9 #3 (2nd 4.00) #9 (Off) #6 (Off)
SA R5 #6 (2nd 3.00) #6 (2nd 3.00) #3 (1st 5.20 2.60)
SA R6 #1 (1st 11.40 6.60) #8* (Off) #8 (Off)
SA R8 #5 (1st 5.60 3.00) #5 (1st 5.60 3.00) #5 (1st 5.60 3.00)
Score $61.00 $38.20 $44.80

* Denotes player’s $4 Win/Place wager

You think you can hang with the big boys (or girls)? Want to take the winner? Shoot us an email by visiting our contact page and let us know you’re interested! We’ll even plug your website, blog, Twitter feed, handicapping skills, etc. And who knows… defend your title long enough and we may even throw in a prize!


Weekend SimplePlays™, Free PPs and Dudes Challenge

Can Bayern win the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby?

Can Bayern win the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby?

The final HUGE weekend before the Kentucky Derby has arrived! Whether it’s the Arkansas Derby, Oaklawn Handicap or Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, we’ve got you covered with FREE picks and SimplePlays™ at Oaklawn Park and Keeneland!

And if that’s not enough track coverage, here are even more weekend SimplePlays™ featuring Aqueduct, Pimlico and Gulfstream Park:

Saturday Cards

SimplePlays™ Single Day Cards for April 12, 2014 at Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park.

Buy Now

Sunday Cards

SimplePlays™ Single Day Cards for April 13, 2014 at Pimlico and Gulfstream Park.

Buy Now

Weekend Cards (Combined) 20% off!

SimplePlays™ Single Day Cards for April 12, 2014 at Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park.

SimplePlays™ Single Day Cards for April 13, 2014 at Pimlico and Gulfstream Park.

Buy Now

We also offer SimplePlays™ each and every race day at KeenelandOaklawn Park and Fonner Park.

About SimplePlays™

Using the information created by our custom, systematic approach, we give you a product that shows exactly how and what the Dudes bet at the track. With SimplePlays™ you not only receive your traditional Win, Place, and Exacta wagers, but also suggested multi-race (Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6), Trifecta and Superfecta wagers for every race on the card!

view sample

Free Past Performances

Oaklawn Park

G1 Arkansas Derby

G2 Oaklawn H.

Northern Spur S.

Instant Racing S.


G1 Toyota Blue Grass S.

G1 Madison S.

G1 Jenny Wiley S.

G3 Shakertown S.

G3 Commonwealth S.

Santa Anita Park

G2 Potrero Grande S.

G3 Las Cienegas S.

Racing Dudes Handicapping Challenge

Each Sunday we host what’s called the #DudesChallenge. We select 8 to 10 races from around the country and offer up a little handicapping challenge to anyone interested in taking on the Dudes! Fake $2 Win/Place wagers ($2 to Win and $2 to Place) and (1) mandatory $4 Win/Place wager is made on the horse a player selects in each race.

This week we’ve decided to incorporate the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby into the mix! The challengers picks can be found below and make sure to tune in tomorrow to check out the remaining challenge!

Dude #1
KEE R11 #5 (Off) #4 (Off) #3 (3rd)
OP R11 #3 (Off) #4 (2nd 7.00) #8 (3rd)


Blinkers Off 068: Racing Festival of the South Podcast Released

Blinkers Off Logo2Blinkers Off has released a new episode!

Blinkers Off provides weekly insights into the world of horse racing including race selections and previews, handicapping methods and exclusive stories.

You can view all episodes of Blinkers Off by visiting our podcast page.

COMING SOON: Stayed tuned for our brand new website and logo update! It will be a major upgrade across the board and we hope you all will enjoy it!

Blinkers Off 068: Racing Festival of the South – April 11, 2014

The Thoroughbred Racing Dudes preview the entire Racing Festival of the South at Oaklawn Park including the Grade I Arkansas Derby and Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap. The Dudes will also take a visit to Keeneland and preview all the stakes racing including the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile Stakes.


Arkansas Derby (Grade 1) Preview

1. Danza

DanzaRace Record:(3) 1-0-2


Jockey: Joe Bravo

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Graded Stakes Victories:0

The Verdict:One of two Pletcher entries kicks us off as we move through this competitive field of nine!  Pletcher won this race last year with Overanalyze, but Danza comes in lightly race and needs to step up big time to compete.  He’s had just one race since August of last year.  In his lone start this year he was third in an allowance at Gulfstream, so it’s hard seeing him beating this talented group.

2. Knock Em Flat

Oaklawn 2011Race Record: (5) 1-2-0


Jockey:Luis Quinonez

Trainer:Donnie K Von Hemel

Graded Stakes Victories: 0

The Verdict:Tough to see how this one can match up class wise with most of these.  I think the light bulb finally came on last time out in his crushing maiden win, but this will be asking too much.  He is cross entered in a smaller stakes earlier on the card, and that should probably be where he ends up

3. Tapiture

tapRace Record: (6) 2-2-2


Jockey:Joel Rosario

Trainer:Steve Asmussen

Graded Stakes Victories:2

The Verdict:He was the clear-cut winner of the Southwest Stakes, and with a clean trip he probably would have won the Rebel Stakes as well.  He currently sits at number two on our Kentucky Derby rankings list, and deserves favoritism in this race.  The son of Tapit has gotten a mile and one-sixteenth without any problems at all, and I think he’ll stretch out to this distance fine.  Likely winner with the right trip.

4. Ride On Curlin

ROCRace Record:(8) 2-1-4

Earnings: $214,687

Jockey:Jon Court

Trainer:William Gowan

Graded Stakes Victories:0

The Verdict:We saw a major progression from him last time out in the Rebel Stakes, as he battled with Strong Mandate all the way around the track before finishing a close third.  The workouts since that race have been huge, and many locals are picking this horse to pull off the upset.  We know the breeding is there, and we’ve seen flashes of brilliance talent wise, but can this “wise guy” horse get it done on the big stage?

5. Thundergram

Oaklawn 2011Race Record:(6) 1-3-1


Jockey: Norberto Arroyo Jr.

Trainer:Mark Casse

Graded Stakes Victories:0

The Verdict:Curious spot for him to land…especially since trainer Mark Casse has a much more worthy competitor in Conquest Titan.  You can’t see much in the past performances that gives Thundergram any kind of a chance against this tough bunch of runners.

6. Commissioner

Commissioner_Top-Billing_Coglianese-684x533Race Record: (5) 2-1-1


Jockey:Mike Smith

Trainer:Todd Pletcher

Graded Stakes Victories:0

The Verdict:I’m not ready to give up on him just yet!  Commissioner will finally get off of a track that favors speed when he runs in this one, and should benefit greatly from it.  He’ll need a little pace to run at, which he should get, and I love the mile and one-eighth distance for him.  Many people think the horse is too slow, but I believe the tracks he’s been running on made him look that way.  He’s my long shot pick!

7. Conquest Titan

ConquestTitanSwynfordStakes2013MB298Race Record:(7) 2-1-0


Jockey:Calvin Borel

Trainer:Mark Casse

Graded Stakes Victories:0

The Verdict:While most have jumped off he Commissioner bandwagon, I’ve jumped off the Conquest Titan bandwagon.  Actually I was never on it to begin with.  I’ve never seen why this one had all the hype that he’s had, and I’ll make him beat me before I believe.  It is a little scary that so many still believe in him though…if you are one of those people maybe you can comment on this preview and explain why.

8. Bayern

bayern1Race Record:(2) 2-0-0


Jockey:Gary Stevens

Trainer:Bob Baffert

Graded Stakes Victories:0

The Verdict:File this one under the “wouldn’t be surprise with anything” category.  He’s a wild card in every sense of the word.  Lightly raced, been off for a while, but he’s showed a tremendous amount of talent.  I’ve heard lots of comparisons to Bodemeister this week, but Bode came to Hot Springs off a second place effort against a tough stakes field.  Bayern comes in off an easy allowance victory.  That lack of seasoning might keep him from winning.

9. Strong Mandate

Strong MandateRace Record:(7) 2-1-1


Jockey:Luis Saez

Trainer:D Wayne Lukas

Graded Stakes Victories:1

The Verdict:It’s put up or shut up time for Strong Mandate.  There is no question he had legit excuses when finishing third in the Breeders Cup Juvenile and second in the Southwest Stakes, but his fourth place effort in the Rebel with a perfect trip was concerning.  His breeding suggests he can run all day, but his races suggests one turn races are best of him.  He truly is a question mark.