Mo Tom Heads Strong Field in Louisiana Derby
The signature horse race in New Orleans goes this Saturday when the 103rd Louisiana Derby kicks off the first of the 170 Kentucky Derby points races in the Run for the Roses. The $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) awards 100 points to the winner (100-40-20-10) with the top four finishers receiving Derby qualifying points.
Eleven horses are scheduled to meet at the starting gate going nine furlongs (1 1/8 miles) at the Fair Grounds. With a strong mix of local runners and some new shooters in the mix, a most anticipated Derby awaits. Big betting interest expected with Churchill Downs company Twinspires.com providing wagering action.
MO TOM is the early morning line favorite at 5/2. He’s owned by Gayle Benson, wife of New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson. Mo Tom will be tough to beat as the son of Uncle Mo has been training well at the Fair Grounds since his third place finish in the 1 1/16 mile Risen Star over this track February 20. The two-time stakes winner encountered trouble in the stretch and was checked in the Risen Star, but he’ll have a solid chance to turn the tables on Risen Star winner GUN RUNNER, who breaks from the rail as the 3-1 second choice.
Like Mo Tom, TOM’S READY is owned by GMB Racing and those two colts have twice finished 1-2 in stakes races with Mo Tom besting Tom’s Ready both times.
CANDY MY BOY set all the early fractions but weakened in the stretch to finish fourth in the Risen Star at 34-1. FOREVEMO finished second in that race at 40-1, and the son of one of the hottest sires in the nation, Uncle Mo, will have to come from the back of the pack again as he breaks from the far outside post.
GREENPOINTCRUSADER ships in will be one to watch as the runner-up to Mohaymen in the Holy Bull. The Grade I stakes winner and son of Bernardini has graded class and versatility making him a definite contender in here. He’s been off since that second place finish in early January, but is an even stronger choice if the track turns sloppy. There is a 40 percent chance of rain in New Orleans Saturday morning.
DAZZLING GEM was impressive in a pair of Oaklawn wins this year and the lightly-raced 3-year old is 2-for-2 for trainer Brad Cox. The horse he’s beaten in both those races have come back to run well in wins. Dazzling Gem was forced to miss last week’s $900,000 Rebel Stakes due to a minor foot abscess, but has since come back with two solid works over the Arkansas oval and has a five furlong bullet work in 1:00.50. His toughest competition to date but one to watch at longer odds.
ONQUEST WINDYCITY is the son of Tiznow with a classic and stamina pedigree. He’s won two in a row in allowance company.
Todd Pletcher-trained BATTERY has won two of his last three including at this distance last time out at Gulfstream. He finished second to Cherry Wine the previous race, and Cherry Wine rallied to finish fourth in the Rebel Stakes. Top jockey Javier Castellano will ride again looking to improve against stronger.
103rd Louisiana Derby – Saturday, March 26, 2016
POST NAME JOCKEY MORNING LINE ODDS
1 – Gun Runner (Florent Geroux) 3/1
2 – Greenpointcrusader (John Velazquez) 7/2
3- Battery (Javier Castellano) 10/1
4 – Conquest Windycity (Joe Rocco Jr.) 15/1
5 – Candy My Boy (Francisco Torres) 15/1
6 – Mo Tom (Corey Lanerie) 5/2
7 – Tom’s Ready (Brian Hernandez Jr.) 15/1
8 – Uncle Walter (Robby Albarado) 20/1
9 – Dazzling Gem (Shaun Bridgmohan) 12/1
10 – Zapperini (Julien Leparoux) 20/1
11 – Forevamo (Colby Hernandez) 10/1