Will Another Longshot Win Louisiana Derby and Emerge on the Kentucky Derby Trail?
It’s been a difficult for many handicappers and horsemen to determine a true Kentucky Derby contender you can count on, and this year’s Louisiana Derby on the deep Fair Grounds dirt is only likely to make the projections muddier. Saturday’s forecast in New Orleans should feature a fast track with partly cloudy skies and near 80 degree temps with winds up to 18 MPH but little chance of precipitation.
Some winners and runners in recent Kentucky Derby prep races will try to secure their spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate with a victory or top-3 finish in the $1 million Louisiana Derby. They will also try to show us that they are stronger and ready to carry a longer distance in the 1 1/8 mile Louisiana Derby. The race is loaded with front-end speed, but the morning line favorite is not one you can count on, My Boy!
There is no clear-cut favorite with Risen Star winner #1 Bravazo (7-2) and trainer D. Wayne Lukas the co-second choice with #2 Noble Indy (7-2), who is one of two Todd Pletcher-trained colts in this race with #6 Hyndford (8-1). The false favorite is #9 My Boy Jack (5-2), who won the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn last month from a biased rail post over a muddy track. But My Boy Jack failed to show the same kick in the Sham (G3) at Santa Anita in January. We’re going to throw him out on top and beat him.
Bravazo and Snapper Sinclair dueled in a photo finish here last month in one of the strangest races in the Derby trail. Bravazo won the Risen Star at 21-1 odds while Snapper Sinclair was 41-1 and each was 8-1 on the morning line. Bravazo gets a ground-saving trip from the rail with Gary Stevens back aboard but still not picking him on top with more pressers in the proceedings. Snapper Sinclair is definitely improving for trainer Steve Asmussen, and one to watch and include in your vertical wagers including one on top as top jock Jose Ortiz takes over the mount. Asmussen also has Retirement Fund (12-1) retuning to the Fair Grounds where he won his first two races and then ran 7th in the Southwest where he didn’t like the muddy track. Don’t think he’ll factor here, but I expect Noble Indy, lightly race and talented, to run better. Noble Indy failed to fire and finished 3rd in the Risen Star, and he adds blinkers and should run more confidently near the front in second stakes start for Pletcher with his Derby-winning jockey John Velazquez in the saddle. Top choice among the betting contenders.
Dallas Stewart has accounted for nearly all of the big bomber long shots that have hit the Superfecta in this race over the past 5 years, but we won’t include his #4 Givemeaminit, who is clearly better sprinting and not one to count on here going 1 1/8 miles against many other front-runners.
Lone Sailor (20-1) trained by Tom Amoss is the upset special and one to include as well underneath in your vertical and exotics. Training well this month after a strong closing 2nd in allowance race last month behind Dark Templar, who had a perfect trip on the front end but is in too tough up front from the outside in this Louisiana Derby race. I throw out Lone Sailor’s Lecomte race and look back to November’s Kentucky Jockey Club 5th place finish, where he finished ahead of Bravazo in a race featuring placed runners Tiz Mischief and Promises Fulfilled and won by Derby contender Enticed. We’ve already seen some Derby prep scores by longshots Bravazo 21-1, Quip 19-1 and Promises Fulfilled 18-1, and value lies with Lone Sailor to be the next longshot surprise on the Derby trail. Be sure to bet him across the board and add him on top and underneath in your exacta, trifecta and superfecta’s so you can make a bigger score!