Saturday’s Grade 2, $1 million dollar Louisiana Derby is the final official prep races at Fair Grounds on the 2023 road to the Kentucky Derby.
The 1 3/16-mile race attracted a field of twelve 3-year-olds who will compete for the 100-40-30-20-10 points that go to the top five eligible finishers.
Here is a look at the field.
1. SHOPPER’S REVENGE [ML 12-1] Trainer: Steve Asmussen. Jockey: Ricardo Santana. The well-bred son of TAPIT broke his Maiden in his second start at Oaklawn Park and then finished 2nd in an Allowance in Arkansas. This will be his first start on the Derby trail or any other Stakes race.
2. INSTANT COFFEE [ML 2-1] Trainer: Brad Cox. Jockey: Luis Saez. He already has two Wins on the Derby trail; the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) as a 2-year-old and then at Fair Grounds in the Lecomte (G3) in his 2023 debut, where his speed figures took a big jump forward as he drew off to Win. Once again, INSTANT COFFEE will be racing at his winter home base, and he should handle the added distance.
3. CURLY JACK [ML12-1] Trainer: Tom Amoss. Jockey: Edgar Morales. Is one of three horses in this field who has already Won on the Derby trail. He made his 3-year-old debut in the Risen Star (G2) last month but ran a disappointing 8th. He picked up his training right after that race and will need to get back to his last year’s form, when he had a pair of Wins and 2nd place finishes.
4. SUN THUNDER [ML 5-1] Trainer: Ken McPeek. Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr. Ran a big race in the Risen Star when he had to rally from the back of that large field. He made up plenty of ground getting to the lead in the stretch but was run down by ANGEL OF EMPIRE. It is risky to play deep closers here because in a big field there are so many chances for a bad trip. But SUN THUNDER should do well with the added distance, and he seems to have taken a liking to the Fair Grounds.
5. DISARM [ML 10-1] Trainer: Steve Asmussen. Jockey: Joel Rosario. Was an impressive Winner at Saratoga when he broke his Maiden by more than six lengths going seven furlongs, but then he did not race again until February. At Oaklawn Park he stretched out to a mile in an Allowance as a heavy favorite and finished 2nd in a field of seven after a slow start. Time is running out on the Derby trail, so DISARM will need to prove that he can handle the distance and the step up in class.
6. KINGSBARNS [ML 6-1] Trainer: Todd Pletcher. Jockey: Flavien Prat. Won his only two starts for Pletcher, both coming in Florida. First, he broke his Maiden in a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park and then went two turns in a Tampa Bay Downs Allowance. In a field that is lacking in early speed, KINGSBARNS should be able to get to the lead.
7. CAGLIOSTRO [ML 12-1] Trainer: Cherie DeVaux. Jockey: Cristian Torres. Moved from his first start at Saratoga to Fair Grounds, where he broke his Maiden in January. He then was 2nd in an Allowance after having the lead at the stretch call. That race got very high speed figures that are competitive with the top-rated horses in this field. But this is a significant jump in class for him.
8. SINGLE RULER [ML 15] Trainer: Keith Desormeaux. Jockey: David Cohen. Needed five starts to break his Maiden, which he did at Fair Grounds going 1 1/16 miles. He then tried to make the move from Maiden racing to the Derby trail and finished 5th in the Risen Star after a wide trip around the final turn.
9. TAPIT’S CONQUIST [ML 10-1] Trainer: Brad Cox. Jockey: Manny Franco. The second of three Cox trainees in the Louisiana Derby. His last start was in the Risen Star, where he finished 4th behind a strong top three in a very competitive field. He also had to go wide turning into the stretch.
10. DENINGTON [ML 12-1] Trainer: Ken McPeek. Jockey: Junior Alvarado. The most experienced horse in the field with eight starts beginning last summer at Ellis Park and three starts on the Derby trail. He earned Derby points in each of those races- twice in January with the Smarty Jones and the Lecomte. The field is large in the Louisiana Derby, and the competition is stronger.
11. JACE’S ROAD [ML 12-1] Trainer: Brad Cox. Jockey: Florent Geroux. The last of the Cox runners in this field and certainly not the least. JACE’S ROAD Won the Gun Runner at Fair Grounds in December and then caught a sloppy track for the second time in the Southwest (G3), and again, was not to his liking.
12. BASELINE BEATER [ML 20-1] Trainer: Neil Pessin. Jockey: Corey Lanerie. Broke his Maiden in his fifth start at Fair Grounds last month. He is a deep closer, and after breaking from the far outside he will be at the back of this large field where he will have to work out a favorable trip in his Stakes debut.
The Louisiana Derby is listed as race 12 on a card of 14, with a scheduled Post Time of 6:45.
Best of luck with all your plays on Saturday.