A field of nine line up on Saturday in the $400,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds with Derby points on the line.
The Steve Asmussen trained Epicenter is the 7-5 morning line favorite. The colt took the field gate to wire to win the Lecomte (G2) over the Fair Grounds main track on Feb. 19. Joel Rosario has the return call.
“First, I want to say how pleased I am with the distance of the series (Lecomte, Risen Star, Louisiana Derby) for the 3-year-olds here,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “It was important for him to start at the mile then progress like he has through the longer distances and now we get to this race and the mile and three-sixteenth could be a separator. He has progressed well through each of these steps and his progress has been very encouraging up to this point and he will just have to prove it again on Saturday.”
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The race is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race with 100-40-20-10 points awarded to the top four finishers. The Kentucky Derby will be held this year on May 7 at Churchill Downs.
Here is a quick look at the field for the Louisiana Derby in post position order:
A winner of just 1 of 8 starts, this longshot comes in off a fourth-place finish against restricted company in the Big Drama at Delta Downs going seven furlongs. He would have to take a major step forward to be a player in this much tougher spot.
This Brad Cox trainee is perfect in two starts and makes his stakes debut. He trounced first level optional claimers last out at Oaklawn Park by 10 ¼ lengths earning a solid speed figure. The colt looks as if he has as much upside as any in this field. Cox won this race in 2020 with Wells Bayou.
It took five tries for this guy to break his maiden and then he was not a threat in a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) which has become a very productive race. Last out he pulled off the upset in the Lecomte with a late run to get up late at 28-1. The extra ground suits him but not sure he is going to get enough pace to run at and his price will be much shorter in this race.
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The Dallas Stewart trainee broke his maiden last out which was his sixth career start. The son of Curlin has a late running style and is bred to get the extra ground. Stewart is known to have live longshots in major stakes, but this colt looks overmatched here.
The colt ran second against firsts level allowance company in his first start against winners last out over the main track here. He has shown steady improvement through his four career starts but catches a much tougher spot here for the Bret Calhoun barn.
Beaten a nose by Call Me Midnight in the Lecomte, this colt came back with a smart looking gate to wire score in the Risen Star last out, earning the top last out speed figure. The Asmussen trainee has worked sharply over the Fair Grounds main track since his last start and comes in here looking very dangerous; His main knock is going to be his short price.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, this colt chased Epicenter in the Risen Star after getting bumped coming out of the gate. The colt did not have enough punch left late and lost a photo for the third spot. He has improved with each outing and should get a similar trip here. Pletcher is a four-time winner of this race, the most recent coming with Noble Indy in 2018.
This colt drew a tough post in the Fountain of Youth and after racing wide jumped over a fallen foe losing his jock. The colt was the pacesetter two back in the Holy Bull (G2) before weakening to finish fourth. There is not a ton of pace in here and he should get a good trip sitting just off the early leader. This colt is a full brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Songbird, who earned $4.6 million and won 13 of her 15 career starts.
This colt ran sixth in the Fountain of Youth and looked as if he needed one, the effort coming off a five-month break. The Ken McPeek trainee won the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland last November in his stakes debut at 8-1. The colt is capable of better than his last and should be tighter second off the bench.