(Tiz the Bomb is one that is nominated the 109th Louisiana Derby / Coady Photography)
From the Fair Grounds Media Team:
Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie, Midnight Bourbon, Country House, War of Will, O Besos and By My Standards. The list of recent 3-year old stars who have thrown down the gauntlet in the series of Kentucky Derby prep races at Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots is long, and 2022 will be no different.
Nominations for the 109th running of the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) have closed and the headliners include Epicenter, Pappacap, Tiz the Bomb, Smile Happy, Rattle N Roll, Cyberknife, Oviatt Class and Zandon. Final nominations for The Louisiana Derby close on Saturday, March 12, 2022 by subscription of $800. $4,000 to enter, $4,000 additional to start. Supplemental nominations of $20,000 will be accepted at time of entry which shall include all fees.
The leader of Steve Asmussen’s 19 entries and stabled at Fair Grounds is Epicenter. Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, this colt by Gun Runner fittingly won the inaugural stake named for his sire at Fair Grounds on December 26, starting off 2022 with 10 Kentucky Derby points.
Winner of his first two, Mark Casse nominates Rustlewood Farm’s Pappacap. Last seen running second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile (G1), Pappacap is one of 5 nominees for the trainer, who saddled War of Will to victory in both Lecomte and Risen Star in 2019. Two more stand-out nominations for the Casse barn are Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber’s God of Love, winner of the Grey (G3) on November 28 at Woodbine, and Barber’s Louisiana-bred standout Bron and Brow, who broke his maiden in the Louisiana Futurity Stakes at Fair Grounds on December 31.
Three of the five Kenneth McPeek nominees are considered early divisional front-runners – Phoenix Thoroughbred’s Tiz the Bomb, the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), and the Lucky Seven team of Smile Happy and Rattle N Roll. Winner of the Bourbon (G2) and the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile, the pedigree and success point Tiz the Bomb off the turf and towards the Derby trail. Rattle N Roll most recently won the Breeders Cup Futurity (G1) at Keeneland on October 9 while Smile Happy took the Kentucky Jockey Cup (G2) at Churchill Downs on “Stars of Tomorrow” day.
Led by Golden Square’s “Road to the Derby Kickoff Day” maiden special weight winner Cyberknife, Brad Cox nominated eleven horses to the Louisiana Derby. Cyberknife finished first on debut but was disqualified to 2nd. Also nominated is Mark Detampal’s Naval Aviator, who looked impressive at Fair Grounds last out in nearly beating fellow nominee Trafalgar in a first-level allowance race last out.
Last seen winning the December 11 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), Reddam Racing’s Slow Down Andy is nominated by Doug O’Neill, the trainer of last year’s Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie.
Finishing third in the Sham on January 1 for trainer Keith Desormeaux, James Downey’s Oviatt Class is another Louisiana Derby nominee to take note of.
The highlight of Joseph Saffie Jr.’s three nominations is Red Oak Stables’ Make It Big. Perfect from three starts, he was last seen defeating Osbourne in the Remington Park Springboard Mile on December 17.
Al Stall Jr. nominated a two-time winner in Columbine Stable’s Trafalgar and Spendthrift Farm’s Underhill’s Tab, who finished second in the Sugar Bowl Stakes last out.
Finishing second in the Remsen (G2) on December 4, Jeff Drown’s Zandon has been nominated by Chad Brown.
One of five nominees for Dallas Stewart, Valene Farm’s Unified Report is three-for-three after two impressive stakes victories, including the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile.
Run at 1 3/16ths miles for the second time last year, the Louisiana Derby is worth 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers. It is the fourth and final local prep on the Road to the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) presented by Woodford Reserve to be run at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 7.
On February 19, the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2), which was extended from 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles two years ago, offers the top four finishers 50-20-10-5 points.
Up first on the January 22 “Road to the Derby” Day at Fair Grounds, it’s the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (G3), which was extended from a mile to 1 1/16 miles last season, and for the fillies on the Kentucky Oaks trail, the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes. The Lecomte awards the top four finishers in each race with 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Derby points.
For a list of nominees who are also eligible for the January 22 Lecomte (G3) and the February 19 Risen Star (G2); click here for their past performances, click here.