The Louisiana Derby

This edition of the Grade 2, $1 million dollar Louisiana Derby for 3-year-olds comes with one big change.  The race now measures 1 & 3/16 miles, giving most of these 2020 Kentucky Derby hopefuls a true stamina test before heading to Churchill Downs in September.

The Louisiana Derby is the final race of the day at the Fairgrounds on a card of 12.  Scheduled  Post Time is 5:49 p.m. Eastern.  Here then is a look at the field and Morning Line odds for the season’s first Derby trail race awarding points on a 100-40-20-10 scale.

1. MAJOR FED  [8-1]  Trainer: Gregory Foley.  Jockey: Joel Rosario.  To his credit, he did run wide in the second division of the Risen Star Stakes.  He only lost to MODERNIST by one length, and that horse came up through the inside.  The second Risen Star is considered the weaker of the two divisions.  Now he faces a couple of runners from the first division and newcomers as well.  The Post Position is no bargain either, as he does not possess the speed to clear the inside.   

2. MAILMAN MONEY  [15-1]  Trainer: Bret Calhoun.  Jockey: Gabriel Saez.  In the second division of the Risen Star, he had a poor first turn and went wide.  He came into contention in the stretch run but failed to sustain his bid while fading slightly to 4th.  He has unanswered distance questions, and now he stretches even farther.  While there is talent, he needed a stronger performance in the Risen Star to elicit confidence here.   

3. WELLS BAYOU  [8-1]  Trainer: Brad Cox.  Jockey: Florent Geroux.  Great job in the Southwest Stakes.  He stepped up to stakes company and almost took them wire to wire. But SILVER PROSPECTOR enjoyed a great trip right behind him in the pocket and mowed down WELLS BAYOU in the stretch.  Will he handle the extra distance?  His pedigree  says yes. 

4. CHESTERTOWN  [15-1]  Trainer: Steven Asmussen.  Jockey:  John Velazquez.  The $2 million dollar New York-bred has finally developed to a point where his ability matches some of the hype thrust upon him.  The extra ground looks perfect for this grinder, who will use all of the distance to wear down his opponents.   

5. SOCIAL AFLEET  [50-1]  Trainer: Dallas Stewart.  Jockey: Adam Beschizza.  On paper, this Louisiana-bred appears over-matched.  Winning a state-bred restricted allowance is a nice feat, but he now faces open 3-year-old company in a Derby prep.  The trainer, Stewart, has defied the odds more than once before, as his long-shot entries always seem to find their way into the bottom part of trifectas and superfectas.  Despite the steep class hike, if searching for a big price to toss underneath, this is your guy. 

6. SHAKE SOME ACTION  [15-1]  Trainer: Brad Cox.  Jockey: Colby Hernandez.  He has Won two nine-furlong races, one on turf and dirt.  Both of the races came locally.  Some pedigree handicappers may scoff at his sire in longer routes. But at some point pedigree analysis becomes useless as the horse gains more experience and shows on paper what he can accomplish.

7. SHARECROPPER  [20-1]  Trainer: Albert Stall.  Jockey: Miguel Mena.  Last October, he broke his Maiden at Churchill Downs.  He returned on February 15th and finished 4th by four lengths in that race, while SHAKE SOME ACTION and CHESTERTOWN ran 1st and 2nd.   

8. ROYAL ACT  [10-1]  Trainer: Peter Eurton.  Jockey: Abel Cedillo.  He finished 2nd to THOUSAND WORDS in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) at Santa AnitaTHOUSAND WORDS then returned in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) and failed to hit the board.  While ROYAL ACT does not face the strongest Derby prep field here, he bolted the left coast for a reason and doesn’t pose much of a threat.   

9. PORTOS  [8-1]  Trainer: Todd Pletcher.  Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.  He broke his Maiden at Aqueduct by 10 ¾ lengths but got exposed in the Withers Stakes (G3) with his late bid only getting him 3rd, 3 ¾ lengths behind the inexperienced MAX PLAYER.  This years group of New York 3-year-olds is considered the weakest out of all the regions.  In all likelihood, a bottom trifecta spot is his limit in this one.

10. ENFORCEABLE  [7-2]  Trainer: Mark Casse.  Jockey: Julien Leparoux.  If nothing else, he is consistent.  After a closing 4th in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last fall against some heavy hitters, he Won the Lecomte Stakes (G3) and then finished 2nd in the first division of the Risen Star.  His gradual late-closing style will get him into traffic problems at some point.   

11. NY TRAFFIC  [15-1]  Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.  Jockey: Luis Saez.  He finished 3rd in the second division of the Risen Star after contesting the pace and running slightly wide on the turns.  As previously stated, the second Risen Star division was considered weaker.  The extra distance is a question.   

12. LYNN’S MAP [30-1]  Trainer: Mark Casse.  Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione.  With a 5th place finish in the Smarty Jones Stakes and a 6th place finish in the weaker division of the Risen Star, it is hard to back this guy.  The talent does not seem to be there.

13. SILVER STATE  [6-1]  Trainer: Steven Asmussen.  Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.  He had a disappointing effort in the Risen Star.  Despite a clean break and a reasonable early position, he failed to out-kick the grinder ENFORCEABLE for 2nd place.  He lost as the 3-1 favorite, which means he burned significant money for two starts in a row after finishing 2nd in the Lecomte Stakes at 3-1.  He figures to make another mild bid for a minor award.   

14. MODERNIST  [6-1]  Trainer: William Mott.  Jockey: Junior Alvarado.  He came up the rail to Win the second division of the Risen Star.  There is no incentive for him to Win this race, as 50 qualifying points earned last time is enough to start in the Kentucky Derby.  He drew a poor Post Position, too.  For those interested in him to Win, wait until the Derby.  But he will make some kind of bid for the lead regardless. 

Conclusion: In a field this big there is Value to be had, so the Daily Racing Blog will give consideration to what we feel are three live longs-shots; #3 WELLS BAYOU, #4 CHESTERTOWN, and #6 SHAKE SOME ACTION.  All three should offer decent Value and are the best options going a longer distance.

The Play: We’ll take those three horses and throw in #14 MODERNIST and box all four in both an Exacta, and Trifecta, along with Win Bets on the #3, #4, and #6.

Best of luck no matter how you play it.


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