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MINUTES TO POST!

It’s Post Time!

Join our COFFEEBREAKWITHFRIENDS

Table of Discussion with

2 time Kentucky Derby, Preakness,

and Belmont Stakes Winner 

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who will bring you up-to-date thoroughbred horseracing news

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THE THOROUGHBRED HORSE RACING  Season!

And don’t forget to share your favorite picks or questions

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Bellafina draws post 4 as

Kentucky Oaks favorite

Marty McGeeApr 29, 2019

not available

Emily ShieldsBellafina has won her three starts, all in Southern California, thus far this year.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – An oversubscribed field of 3-year-old fillies headed by Bellafina was entered Monday for the Grade 1, $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks, to be run Friday for the 145th time at Churchill Downs.

Bellafina, a winner of all three starts this year on her home Southern California circuit, was assigned post 4 with Flavien Prat to ride. She is the 2-1 favorite on the Churchill morning line, followed by one of the also-eligibles, Dunbar Road, at 5-1. Then come Champagne Anyone (6-1), Restless Rider (6-1), Jaywalk (8-1), and Serengeti Empress (8-1). In all, 16 are entered, with only as many as 14 being allowed to start.

A fast pace seems likely for the 1 1/8-mile Oaks, with trainer Tom Amoss intent on Jose Ortiz sending the speedy Serengeti Empress to the early lead. In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last fall at Churchill, Jaywalk outgunned Serengeti Empress to the front and proceeded to go wire to wire.

“She took our spot, and we’re not going to let that happen this time,” said Amoss.

Among the longshots in the lineup, and another speed horse, is Motion Emotion (15-1), whose trainer, Tom Van Berg, is the son of the late Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg.

“To win this would be something I couldn’t even describe,” said Van Berg. “The Oaks is huge. You don’t get a lot of chances in a race this big, so you’d like to take advantage of it if you can. The filly is doing great, so we’ll hope for the best.”

The Oaks also-eligibles, in order of preference, are Dunbar Road and Point of Honor, who can only make the race in case of late defections. Final scratch time for both the Oaks and Kentucky Derby cards is 9 a.m. Eastern on Friday.

Jose Ortiz is named on two mounts and has a preference of Dunbar Road if she draws in. In that case, Tyler Gaffalione gets the mount on Serengeti Empress.

Cookie Dough, who would have been the first alternate, was not entered and will be diverted instead to the May 17 Black-Eyed Susan, said trainer Stanley Gold.

Post time for the Oaks, the 11th of 13 races Friday, is 6:12 p.m. Eastern. First post on a card that will include five other stakes is 10:30 a.m. NBCSN will have live Oaks coverage.

The weather forecast for Friday calls for a chance of rain and a high of 71.

The Oaks is part of several two-day wagers, including the traditional Oaks-Derby double and a new pick six.

KENTUCKY OAKS

(PP/prog., Horse, Jockey, CD M/L)

1. Out for a Spin, I. Ortiz Jr., 15-1

2. Chocolate Kisses, J. Leparoux, 20-1

3. Lady Apple, R. Santana Jr., 20-1

4. Bellafina, F. Prat, 2-1

5. Flor de la Mar, J. Rosario, 20-1

6. Positive Spirit, M. Franco, 30-1

7. Jaywalk, J. Castellano, 8-1

8. Motion Emotion, M. Smith, 15-1

9. Liora, C. Hill, 20-1

10. Champagne Anyone, C. Landeros, 6-1

11. Jeltrin, L. Saez, 15-1

12. Street Band, S. Doyle, 15-1

13. Serengeti Empress, J. Ortiz, 8-1

14. Restless Rider, B. Hernandez Jr., 6-1

15 (ae) Dunbar Road, J. Ortiz, 5-1

16 (ae) Point of Honor, J.V elazquez, 30-1

Jerry’s Picks!

Kentucky Oaks

in order of preference(not by program number)
1. Champagne Anyone
2.Bellafina
3. Street Band
4. Jaywalk

Suzee’s Picks!

1.Bellafina

2. Street Band – (gotta go with the female rider 😉)

3. Serengeti Empress

4. Champagne Anyone

(Dunbar Road if she gets in)

Californians looking golden

after Kentucky Derby draw

Jay PrivmanApr 30, 2019

 

not available

Debra A. RomaOmaha Beach is the morning-line favorite for the 145th Kentucky Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It was a tumultuous winter in Southern California, but if two noted oddsmakers are correct, the public will deem the first four choices in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday colts who did the bulk of their training out there.

Omaha Beach was installed as the Derby favorite, with the Bob Baffert-trained trio of Game Winner, Improbable, and Roadster holding the next three spots, when Daily Racing Form’s Mike Watchmaker and Mike Battaglia of Churchill Downs set their lines following the draw for posts on Tuesday at Churchill Downs.

Omaha Beach landed post 12 and is the 5-1 favorite on the line of Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper, with Battaglia listing him as the 4-1 favorite.

Watchmaker has Game Winner and Roadster as the co-second choices at 6-1, followed by Improbable at 8-1. Battaglia has Game Winner the second choice at 5-1, with Improbable and Roadster next at 6-1.

A field of 21 was entered on Tuesday for the 145th Derby. A maximum of 20 can run, so Bodexpress – who had Chris Landeros named as his rider – was relegated to the also-eligible list. He has until scratch time on Friday morning to draw into the race. After that, he’s out, and his connections have said he will go straight to the Preakness on May 18 if that happens.

The Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown, is also the target for Signalman and Sueno, who were next on the points list after Bodexpress but were not entered when it became apparent they would be stuck on the also-eligible list.

Bodexpress earned 40 points for his second-place finish in the Florida Derby, the same amount as Spinoff. But Spinoff was preferred owing to the tie-breaker, unrestricted stakes earnings. Spinoff has $224,000 compared to Bodexpress’s $188,000.

This is the seventh year Churchill Downs has used a points system to determine the field for the Derby, and this year marks the highest amount of points required to make the field. Never before has a horse with 40 points been excluded. Bodexpress also was squeezed out by Master Fencer, the Japanese invader who got a berth via the separate Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby series.

When Omaha Beach got post 12, only that and post 3 remained during the random draw. By My Standards ended up with post 3.

“It’s nice being outside a little bit,” said Richard Mandella, who trains Omaha Beach. He said jockey Mike Smith would have options from there. “It’ll give him a chance to size the race up, not have to commit too early,” Mandella said.

For Baffert, Improbable got post 5, with Game Winner in 16 and Roadster in 17, those two in the six-horse auxiliary gate parked outside the main 14-horse gate.

“At the end of the day you have to have the horse; if your horse shows up that’s more important,” Baffert said.

Roadster’s post 17 is winless in 40 starts.

“Apollo curse. Can’t be done,” Baffert said, jokingly referencing that Justify last year became the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the Derby without a start at 2.

Baffert said that “After watching Big Brown gallop in the 20 hole, it really doesn’t make a difference.”

The horse who seemed most impacted by the draw was War of Will, who landed the rail, causing his trainer, Mark Casse, to shake his head in resignation when the post was announced.

Casse has said repeatedly that War of Will is going to be sent early in the race, which now seems even more paramount, as he’ll need an alert beginning to avoid being shuffled back in traffic coming through the lane the first time of the 1 1/4-mile race.

“You know what, it could be worse I think,” Casse told the Churchill Downs publicity team. “Our horse is really on his game, so he’ll come away from there running. We’ll probably be on the lead. I think we’ll probably be on the lead and play catch me if you can. And you know if we come away from there like he normally does, we’re going to come away from there running. At least we have the shortest way around. I’ve thought I had great draws before and gotten wiped out.”

The only other news development Tuesday was that trainer Todd Pletcher officially named Corey Lanerie as the rider for Cutting Humor, the Sunland Derby winner.

Jerry’s Picks!

Kentucky Derby
1. Omaha Beach-scratch

1.Game Winner
2. Tacitus
3. Max Security
4. Improbable

 

Suzee’s Picks!

1.Tacitcus

2.Omaha Beach -scratch

2.Maximum Security

3.Game Winner

4. Improbable

(Love these long shots War of Will and

-Long Range Toddy,…but Jerry said he doesn’t like the slop)

Watchmaker:

Track bias shouldn’t detract from

performances by Omaha Beach, Improbable

Mike WatchmakerApr 14, 2019

not available

Coady PhotographyOmaha Beach (right) and Improbable put on a show battling to the finish in Saturday’s Arkansas Derby.

An important rule in handicapping is to devalue performances from horses who rode the crest of a strong track bias as those performances were artificially enhanced, and likely are not replicable.

An even more important rule in handicapping is to not be so dogmatic about rules.

The above comes to mind after Saturday’s Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. Heavy rain prior to Saturday’s card there turned Oaklawn’s main track sloppy. Now, it goes without saying that not all wet tracks are biased toward specific paths or horses with certain running styles. But in this instance, weather did produce a profound track bias.

While there was absolutely nothing wrong with the inside on Friday’s fast track at Oaklawn – Lady Apple came up the rail to great avail to win the Fantasy – the inside there was absolutely dead on Saturday’s sloppy surface. This was clear from the very first race of the day and became only more obvious with each passing event.

Omaha Beach, who gamely turned away the hard-trying Improbable through the stretch to win the Arkansas Derby by one length, was steered four wide on the first turn and stayed three to four wide on the far turn. Improbable was angled away from the inside on the first turn and was safely well outside down the backstretch.

Oaklawn’s track announcer seemed incredulous that Improbable was going to lose so much ground into the far turn after breaking from the one post, but being four wide, as Improbable was on the far turn, was the best thing that could have happened to him. And as Omaha Beach and Improbable engaged in their tremendously entertaining stretch battle, they pulled almost six lengths clear of the third-place finisher – Country House, who was four to five wide on the far turn.

In a vacuum, the inclination going forward might be to mark down Omaha Beach and Improbable’s Arkansas Derby performances because they went with the flow of a strong track bias. But nothing happens in a vacuum, and in this case, I feel it would be a mistake to be harsh with what Omaha Beach and Improbable did Saturday.

The Arkansas Derby was not a situation like, say, Maximum Security’s Florida Derby. Maximum Security did not cash in on a profound track bias in the Florida Derby, but he did the next best thing. He got away with setting an extremely slow and uncontested pace, and had that critical Kentucky Derby prep handed to him on a silver platter. The Florida Derby was Maximum Security’s first attempt around two turns, but because of the way that race was run, we still don’t have a good idea of what his capabilities might be in a truly run route.

The difference with Omaha Beach and Improbable, and why one should resist the temptation to devalue their Arkansas Derby efforts on the basis of track bias, is we already knew going into Saturday that both are among the very best of their generation. Omaha Beach gamely held off last year’s champion 2-year-old male champion Game Winner in the second division of the Rebel in his stakes debut, and that performance was no surprise. Omaha Beach had always been highly regarded, and he announced to the world he had turned a corner one month earlier with an explosive maiden win.

Improbable was so impressive winning all three of his starts last year that he was a finalist for the 2018 2-year-old male Eclipse Award, and he lost nothing in stature when a narrowly beaten second in the first division of the Rebel after a wide trip on a day at Oaklawn when wide trips were not necessarily helpful.

In regard to the Kentucky Derby, Omaha Beach is without question one of the ones. He has the positional speed that is so critical to working out good trips. By no means does he need the lead to be effective, and yet he can go that way if he must. Omaha Beach is bred to run all day, and he’s a fighter. There is just a lot to like about him.

Improbable is more of a tricky call. He was unsettled in the gate before the start Saturday, and that couldn’t have helped. Still, my view of Improbable, and the reason why I’ve found him so intriguing, is he did what he did in his first four starts while seemingly extending himself only to the bare minimum, leaving the distinct impression there was a lot more there. Well, Improbable tried Saturday. He tried hard, and yet was only second-best. But in Omaha Beach, Improbable was second-best to one of the ones, and the margin between them was close enough that it is not unreasonable to think tables can be turned under different circumstance

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