The road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve has gotten longer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and so has the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby, which has been lengthened to 1 3/16 miles for its 107th running on Saturday.
In addition to a $1 million purse, the traditional Fair Grounds prep for the Kentucky Derby offers 170 qualifying points (100-40-20-10) that Churchill Downs will honor for the rescheduled run for the roses on Sept. 5. It is the climactic leg of an all-Grade 2 Pick 4 that goes through the $400,000 New Orleans Classic, the $300,000 Mervin Muniz Memorial and $400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks. An overflow field of 16 signed on, including two also-eligibles, one of which, Farmington Road, did not ship from his base at Palm Beach Downs and will await the Grade 2 Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct April 4, according to trainer Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher also entered Portos, a Tapit colt who comes off a rallying third in the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. Many horses in the race emerge from divisions of the Grade 2, 1 1/8-mile Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford in mid-February, headed by Modernist, who was on the pace throughout in winning the slower version over Major Fed, Ny Traffic, Mailman Money, Mr. Big News, and Lynn’s Map; and Enforceable, who was second in the faster heat behind Mr. Monomoy (now sidelined), and a half-length in front of third-place finisher Silver State. The latter is among two entered by Steve Asmussen along with Chestertown, a $2 million New York-bred Tapit colt who was a close second in an allowance race on the Risen Star undercard to Shake Some Action. That $300,000 son of Into Mischief is conditioned by Brad Cox, who also sends out Wells Bayou. Completing the field are Social Afleet, Sharecropper, and Royal Act.
Wells Bayou set the pace and held well to finish a clear second in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes in his stakes debut, winding up better than five lengths clear of the show horse and earning a solid 101 Equibase Speed Figure. He accomplished this while running on a fast track for the first time after catching slop and mud in three prior starts. He has inside position on rival early speed horses Ny Traffic and Modernist.
Royal Act invades from Southern California boasting two triple-digit figures: a 100 for finishing fifth in the Eddie Logan on turf and a field-best 106 for running second in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis in his first time on dirt. Since then, the son of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah has worked a total of 23 furlongs for trainer Peter Eurton, capped by three straight six-furlong drills.
Major Fed bears watching from the rail after making steady progress through three starts, most recently posting a solid second to Modernist in a division of the Risen Star with a 102 speed figure. That effort was preceded by a decisive maiden graduation with a figure of 96.
Enforceable has recorded consecutive figures of 97 winning the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes and finishing second in to Mr. Monomoy in the faster Risen Star five weeks ago. He is a consistent closer who should relish the added ground, but he will need some racing luck to navigate through a bulky field.
The rest of the field (with best Equibase Speed Figures): Mailman Money (97), Chestertown (93), Social Afleet (77), Shake Some Action (89), Sharecropper (88), Portos (97), Ny Traffic (97), Lynn's Map (92), Silver Slate (99), Modernist (93), and Mr. Big News (91).
Top Win Contenders:
Second-tier Win Contenders:
Equibase offers a comprehensive menu of handicapping products, statistical information, and video race replays. Its website includes everything from basic info on who’s racing to advanced data for longtime players. If you’re new to the sport and just want enough information to get you started and give you confidence when you’re betting a horse, check out Equibase’s Turf Club Analysts and STATS True Odds for FREE. Turf Club Analysts provides top picks for each race along with a, brief analysis that’ll help you learn the game as you’re playing along. STATS True Odds is a visual, easy-to-use handicapping product that predicts how the race may unfold and which contenders may be there at the finish line.