There aren’t many Kentucky Derby prep races older than the Louisiana Derby (G2), held at the Fairgrounds in New Orleans.
The historic race dates back to 1894, which makes the Louisiana Derby almost as old the KD itself.
The conditions of the Louisiana Derby have varied widely through the years. It’s been held over four different distances, most recently shifting to 1 3⁄16 miles in 2020.
The purse has risen from a few thousand dollars early on, all the way up $1 million beginning in 2011.
Upgraded from Grade 3 to Grade 2 status in 1999, the Louisiana Derby continues to produce a steady stream of high-profile horses.
Fan favorite FUNNY CIDE used his losing effort in the Louisiana Derby as a springboard to a Victory in the 2003 Run For The Roses.
2019 KD Winner COUNTRY HOUSE followed the same path, losing in the Louisiana Derby before capturing the Derby– albeit from a disqualification.
As a lucrative Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race, offering qualification points to the top four finishers on a 100-40-20-basis, the Louisiana Derby has cemented its position as a key steppingstone toward the first Saturday in May.
During the 2010s, the Louisiana Derby churned out 29 Kentucky Derby starters (averaging nearly three per year), including 2013 Belmont Stakes Winner PALICE MALICE, 2017 Horse of the Year GUN RUNNER and 2019 Preakness Winner WAR OF WILL.
There is no such thing as a sure thing in horse racing. But the Louisiana Derby with its rich purse and hefty offering of qualification points, seems a lock to continue its influence on the Kentucky Derby.
On Friday the Daily Racing Blog will take a look at this years edition of the race. So stop back and see who we like.