(The Fair Grounds preps for Louisiana Derby / Photo by Gene McLean)
Fair Grounds Media Team:
According to Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones, with the draw just two days away, at least 19 horses have designs on competing in the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2), to be run as part of an eight-stakes extravaganza on Saturday, March 21.
The field will be limited to 14 starters, with two horses listed as “also eligibles.” First preference will be given to graded or group winners in order (G1, G2, G3), and then to horses that have accumulated the highest lifetime earnings.
Previously run over nine furlongs on dirt, the distance of Louisiana Derby will be run at 1 3/16ths miles for the first time. The third and final local prep for the Run for the Roses, the Louisiana Derby is worth 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers on the Road to the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) presented by Woodford Reserve.
Run at 1 1/16 miles, the 52nd running of the $400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) for 3-year-old fillies offers the same number of points en route to the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Headlining the list of expected Louisiana Derby runners is Pam and Martin Wygod’s Modernist, winner of the second division of the Risen Star (G2) presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln, and John Oxley’s Enforceable, who won the Lecomte (G3) in advance of a second place run behind the recently sidelined Mr. Monomoy in the first division of the Risen Star.
Off five consecutive victories, including a recent score in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton, Winchell Thoroughbreds and J. R. Thomas’ Finite is expected to be the defined favorite in the Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).
With an early first post of 11 a.m. CDT, the 13-race Louisiana Derby Day card will feature eight stakes worth a total of $2.425 million. A pair of nine furlong, high-impact events for older horses are also scheduled on the program – the $400,000 New Orleans Classic (G2) and the $300,000 Muniz Memorial Stakes (G2), to be run over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course.
In addition, four undercard stakes are slated for the lucrative card, including the $100,000 Tom Benson Memorial for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on grass and a trio of Louisiana-bred events – the $75,000 Costa Rising Stakes, a 5½-furlong turf sprint, the $75,000 Crescent City Derby for 3-year-old males at 1 1/16 miles and the $75,000 Crescent City Oaks for females at 1 mile and 70 yards.
Among those pointed for the New Orleans Classic are the Bret Calhoun-trained pair of 2019 Louisiana Derby champ By My Standards for Allied Racing and multiple graded stakes winner Silver Dust for Tom Durant. China Horse Club International Ltd and WinStar Farm LLC’s Fearless, who is undefeated from two starts, is expected to make his stakes debut in the New Orleans for trainer Todd Pletcher. The 4-year-old son of Ghostzapper recently won a first-level allowance over 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream by 8 ½ lengths while under wraps, earning a 107 Bris speed figure in the process.
Trainer Chad Brown, who won last year’s Muniz with eventual Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar, has a trio of lawnmowers pointed to this year’s renewal: Oxo Equine LLC’s Instilled Regard, a recent winner of the Ft. Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream, Sanford J. Goldfarb and Samuel Abraham’s Devamani (FR), who just missed in the Tampa Bay (G3) last out, and Madaket Stables LLC, Michael Dubb, Wonder Stables, Michael E. Kisberr and Bethlehem Stable LLC’s Euro import Rockemperor (IRE), who will be making his third U. S. start in what will be his 4-year-old debut. Gaining Ground Racing LLC’s Factor This and Pin Oak Stable’s Synchrony, one-two in the Fair Grounds (G3) last month, are also expected for the Muniz.
The official Louisiana Derby post-position draw will take place on Saturday, March 14 at 11 a.m. CDT on the fourth floor of the Fair Grounds clubhouse.
The draw will be hosted by track announcer John G. Dooley with commentary from racing analyst Joe Kristufek and Mike Diliberto’s Louisiana Derby morning line will be revealed.
The event is open to the public and there will be photo and interview opportunities for the media. It will also be broadcast on “Facebook Live” via the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Facebook page.
Any media questions, please contact [email protected]
As the first leg of their “Road to the Kentucky Derby” coverage, NBCSN will broadcast both the Fair Grounds Oaks and Louisiana Derby LIVE from 5 to 6 p.m. EDT. Ahmed Fareed, Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss will anchor the coverage.
Possible runners for the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby, according to Fair Grounds racing secretary Scott Jones.
Rank Horse Trainer Likely Jockey Career Earnings Derby points
1 Modernist Mott J. Alvarado $288,800 50
2 Enforceable Casse Leparoux $343,550 33
3 Wells Bayou Cox Geroux $254,293 4
4 Ajaaweed McLaughlin $139,850 7
5 NY Traffic Joseph L. Saez $136,970 10
6 Silver State Asmussen Santana $136,106 14
7 Major Fed Foley Rosario $116,500 20
8 Lynns Map Casse Gaffalione $100,012 0
9 Mailman Money Calhoun G. Saez $95,012 5
10 Portos Pletcher I. Ortiz $93,900 2
11 Social Afleet Stewart $64,068 0
12 Shake Some Action Cox $62,700 0
13 Chestertown Asmussen Velazquez $61,540 0
14 Sharecropper Stall Mena $58,469 0
15 Royal Act Eurton Cedillo $52,844 0
16 Mr. Big News Calhoun $47,053 0
17 Farmington Road Pletcher $45,000 0
18 Winning Impression Stewart $41,900 0
19 Fort Knox Desormeaux $36,422 0