Vance Hanson

Vance Hanson has been a contributing writer and editor for, and since 2008. Prior to joining the Churchill Downs Inc. family, he served as a publicity assistant at Canterbury Park and as a handicapper/writer for Daily Racing Form.

Hanson: Newmarket Spot Plays for July 13

Fri Jul 12 2024Vance Hanson

The third and final day of Newmarket's July Festival on Saturday features two Group events, one that yielded eventual Epsom Derby (G1) winner City of Troy a year ago and the other one of the most significant sprints on the European calendar.
Sprint great Groovy deserving of a Hall of Fame nod

Thu Jul 11 2024Vance Hanson

Groovy, arguably the most significant Texas-bred since the days of King Ranch, was a powerhouse. When he was allowed to specialize at what he did best, that is.
Royal Ascot 2024: Selections for Friday

Thu Jun 20 2024Vance Hanson

A pair of Group 1s highlight Day 4 of Royal Ascot on Friday, led by the Coronation (G1) for three-year-old fillies.
2024 Royal Ascot: Selections for Thursday

Wed Jun 19 2024Vance Hanson

Several strong favorites, including the decorated stayer Kyprios, will be prominent in Royal Ascot's Group race offerings on Thursday. But I'll take a stand against all of them in the hope of hitting one or more home runs.
The best longshot to bet in the 2024 Belmont Stakes

Wed Jun 05 2024Vance Hanson

Although I find the race itself potentially formful on paper, especially if the track is wet, there is one longer-priced hope bettors might consider to hit the frame.
Hanson: Spot play for the 2024 Derby at Epsom

Fri May 31 2024Vance Hanson

Those of us with an historical bent might equate Saturday's 2024 edition of the Derby (G1) at Epsom with that of the 1966 Kentucky Derby. It's still the Derby, and the winner will be a good horse on the day if not a potential great, but it's simply not the race it might have been.
Hanson: Value Play for the 2024 Epsom Oaks

Wed May 29 2024Vance Hanson

Derby weekend at historic Epsom Downs outside London kicks off Friday with two Group 1s on the schedule, the Oaks (G1) for three-year-old fillies and the Coronation Cup (G1) for older runners, both over 1 1/2 miles.
Hanson: Spot Plays for Sandown May 23

Wed May 22 2024Vance Hanson

My journey through the English flat season continues Thursday when Sandown hosts a meeting held primarily during the evening hours local time, but early afternoon for those of us in the U.S.
Hanson: Spot Plays for Newbury, Pimlico May 18

Fri May 17 2024Vance Hanson

It'll be a long and exciting day of racing around the world on Saturday, as my attention will be focused on the action at Newbury in England in the morning and the Preakness Day program at Pimlico the remainder of the day.
Hanson: 2024 Black-Eyed Susan Day Spot Plays

Wed May 15 2024Vance Hanson

Some of the more intriguing betting races on Friday's Black-Eyed Susan Day card at Pimlico will be found in the lower-level overnight events, rather than in the stakes.
Ghostwriter the pick to topple Troy in 2000 Guineas

Fri May 03 2024Vance Hanson

Before the Kentucky Derby Day card gets into full swing on Saturday, I'll continue my betting journey through the English flat season with a play in that country's first classic of the year, the 2000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket.
Hanson: 2024 Kentucky Derby Day spot plays

Wed May 01 2024Vance Hanson

You can find my selections for the Kentucky Derby (G1) and several other stakes on Saturday's Churchill Downs card in the TwinSpires Kentucky Derby Betting Guide. For this piece, I'll mention my firmest opinion on that selection grid plus thoughts on a couple other stakes earlier in the afternoon.
Hanson: 2024 Kentucky Oaks Day spot plays

Wed May 01 2024Vance Hanson

Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs figures to be a spectacular appetizer ahead of the bigger Saturday program, though an unfavorable forecast will perhaps put a slight damper on things.