On the Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, all roads lead to Louisville. There are, of course, different ways for a 3-year-old to get there and on Saturday, the Louisiana route opens with the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds.
Making the Grade, which will run through the 2021 Triple Crown races, focuses on the winners or top performers of the key races, usually from the previous weekend, who could make an impact on the Triple Crown. We’ll be taking a close look at impressive winners and evaluating their chances to win classic races based upon ability, running style, connections (owner, trainer, jockey), and pedigree.
While racing saw a quarter of its race days eliminated in 2020 because of precautions and restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, bettors supported the available product while owners saw a decline in purses that mirrored the loss of race days.
The economics of horse ownership and playing the ponies are uphill battles, with owners strapped by the high cost of training fragile Thoroughbreds and horseplayers pitted against a takeout significantly higher than sports wagering.
Heavily Favored Life Is Good passed his first two-turn test and improved to 2-for-2 in the $100,000, Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park Jan. 2, though a diminishing three-quarter-length margin of victory suggests the promising 3-year-old may still be in need of fine-tuning.