Bourbon Courage (inside) closed gamely to finish second to Macho Macho in the West Virginia Derby. (Photo Courtesy of Holly Tonini)
The 33rd running of the $500,000 Super Derby (G2) features Blueskiesnrainbows, coming off a sharp win in the Swaps Stakes (G2) at the 1 1/8-mile Super Derby distance. Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Blueskiesnrainbows has now won three times in his last six races. Also having proven himself recently at Super Derby distance is Bourbon Courage, who closed from far back to miss the win by a half-length recently in the West Virginia Derby (G2). Key Donation won the local prep race for the Super Derby when drawing off by two lengths last month to take the Prelude Stakes. Runner-up and third-place Prelude finishers, Tensas Cold Front and Mr Bluegrass Music, respectively, will try to improve off those recent efforts and are not without a chance. Hero of Order, who posted a shocking victory at 109-to-1 odds this past spring in the Louisiana Derby (G2) but who is winless in five races since, is another trying to reverse his fortune. Similarly, Master Rick won the Northern Spur Stakes in April but has yet to come close in three races since then. Kentucky Derby (G1) eighth-place finisher Rousing Sermon enters the Super Derby off a runner-up effort in the Real Good Deal Stakes and could be a factor. Fly Lexis Fly rounds out the field, having won the Derby Nacional (Per-G1) in Peru last fall. Fly Lexis Fly is making his second start off a 7 1/2-month layoff and second since coming to the U.S. Fly Lexis Fly’s comeback race last month was a poor fifth-place finish in the Cougar II Handicap (G3) at Del Mar.
Bourbon Courage earned a career-best 109 Equibase Speed Figure when missing by a half-length recently in the West Virginia Derby. Bourbon Courage was far back (13 lengths) in the early stages of the race but closed gamely to get within a neck of the leader with an eighth of a mile to go before settling for the runner-up spot. Having continually improved his efforts and speed figures throughout the spring, from 97 to 103 to 105 then to 109 last month, and with an exceptional morning workout since leaving his home base in Kentucky, Bourbon Courage is showing every sign of running well enough to win the Super Derby.
Blueskiesnrainbows also put in a career-best race in his most recent effort, leading from start to finish when winning the Swaps Stakes (at the Super Derby distance) with a 109 Equibase Speed Figure earned in the process. In his only other start at 1 1/8 miles, Blueskiesnrainbows led from the start and missed victory by only a half-length in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), no disgrace at all considering the winner was none other than subsequent Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner I’ll Have Another. Although he has shown a desire to lead early in some of his races, Blueskiesnrainbows also has been able to come from behind for success and, with that kind of versatility, he has every right to win his second stakes race in a row.
BLUESKIESNRAINBOWS WINNING SWAPS STAKES
Photo Courtesy of Benoit & Associates
Key Donation won the local prep race for the Super Derby, the aptly named Prelude Stakes, at Louisiana Downs last month. Drawing off easily to win by two lengths, Key Donation earned his third win in as many tries in two-turn races on the main track in his career. Never worse than second in his last four races and with improving to do off a 94 last-race figure, Key Donation has a chance to post the upset in this year’s Super Derby.
The rest of the field, with their best representative Equibase® Speed Figure: Fly Lexis Fly (103), Hero of Order (107), Master Rick (101), Mr Bluegrass Music (99), Rousing Sermon (104) and Tensas Cold Front (91).
$500,000 Super Derby (G2)
Saturday, Louisiana Downs, Race 10, 6:10 p.m. EDT
3-year-olds, 1 1/8 Miles (dirt)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Mr Bluegrass Music, C. Landeros, R D Jackson
2. Key Donation, R.E. Eramia, T M Amoss
3. Blueskiesnrainbows, J. Talamo, B Baffert
4. Hero of Order, D.E. Simington, G Dorochenko
5. Fly Lexis Fly, M. Garcia, N D Drysdale
6. Master Rick, G. Melancon, S M Asmussen
7. Tensas Cold Front, M. Guidry, A M Stall Jr.
8. Rousing Sermon, M.E. Smith, J Hollendorfer
9. Bourbon Courage, L.R. Goncalves, K Gorder
All carry 124 pounds