2019 Louisiana Derby Cheat Sheet

Racing
Spinoff (left) will provide a new challenge for War of Will in the Louisiana Derby. (Lauren King/Coglianese photo and Eclipse Sportswire)

Saturday’s $1 million, Grade 2 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby ratchets up the excitement on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve as the first prep offering 170 qualifying points for the May 4 run for the roses and as culmination of a fantastic, stakes-packed racecard on the penultimate day of the 2018-19 meet at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

The 1 1/8-mile race distributes those 170 points to the top four finishers on a 100-40-20-10 scale. Eleven horses are entered, headlined by War of Will, who has won the Lecomte Stakes and the Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford, Fair Grounds’ two preps for the Louisiana Derby, by a combined 6 ¼ lengths.

Post time for the 106th Louisiana Derby is set for 6:13 p.m. Eastern. The race will be televised on NBCSN as part of their “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series in a broadcast that runs from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

Read on for information about all 11 Louisiana Derby contenders, presented in post-position order and with morning-line odds.


Roiland
Coady Photography

1. Roiland (12-1)

Jockey: James Graham

Trainer: Tom Amoss

Owners: James and Mary Durlacher

Career record: 6 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $119,660

Earnings per start: $19,943

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 91

Pedigree: Successful Appeal – Anabranch, by Congaree

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This one-dimensional closer picked off horses in the stretch in his most recent race, the Risen Star Stakes, to finish third behind War of Will and Country House. He entered that race after finishing a no-threat seventh in Fair Grounds’ first Kentucky Derby prep, the Lecomte Stakes, but got a faster early pace in the Risen Star and a patient ride from jockey James Graham, resulting in an improved showing. He has started slowly in all three of his most recent starts and dawdled in last each time before getting in gear, and is a good bet to do the same in the Louisiana Derby. With the presence of Lemniscate and Spinoff to put pace pressure on War of Will, Roiland could rally once again to get a minor share and some more Kentucky Derby points. Tom Amoss and James Graham, who is the current leading rider at Fair Grounds by purse earnings, teamed up to finish second by a neck in last year’s Louisiana Derby with Lone Sailor, who is entered in the New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds on Saturday.


Lemniscate
Leslie Martin/Coglianese photo

2. Lemniscate (15-1)

Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

Trainer: Ken McPeek

Owners: Susan Moulton and Magdalena Racing

Career record: 3 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $41,450

Earnings per start: $13,817

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 95

Pedigree: Exchange Rate – Meet At Lola’s, by Smoke Glacken

Color: Gray or roan

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This lightly raced colt ships from Gulfstream Park, where he has made all of his three career starts, and figures to join Spinoff and War of Will in the front rank of horses during the early stages of the Louisiana Derby. He did not make his first career start until Jan. 19, finishing fourth in a six-furlong maiden race at Gulfstream, and then tried that distance again and improved to finish second on Feb. 9. Switched to turf by trainer Ken McPeek, Lemniscate controlled the pace throughout and posted a one-length win going a mile and a sixteenth on March 3. This colt faces a tough challenge against War of Will and other more seasoned horses as he moves back to race on a dirt main track for the Louisiana Derby, and his pedigree is sprint-oriented as well. McPeek and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. each have one win in the Louisiana Derby. McPeek’s came in 2002 with Repent, and Hernandez won in 2017 aboard Girvin.


Limonite
Keeneland/Coady Photography

3. Limonite (20-1)

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owners: Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing

Career record: 5 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $92,300

Earnings per start: $18,460

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 89

Pedigree: Lemon Drop Kid – Colina Verde, by Know Heights

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Like several other starters in the Louisiana Derby, this son of Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid is a closer who is dependent on a swift early pace to have any shot at winning. After winning one of his first three starts as a juvenile – involved in close finishes each time – he rallied late to nab third in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs in November and then returned after a 2 ½-month break to finish fifth in the Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 18 after being steadied in early stretch. He faces all four horses that defeated him in that race on Saturday, but is eligible to improve in his second start at 3 and draws the services of 2017 Eclipse Award-winning jockey Jose Ortiz. Trainer Steve Asmussen has three Louisiana Derby wins, most recently with Gun Runner in 2016; that horse, co-owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, would to on to finish third in the Kentucky Derby and then win Horse of the Year Honors in 2017.


Sueno
Eclipse Sportswire

4. Sueno (8-1)

Jockey: Corey Lanerie

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Owner: Silverton Hill

Career record: 5 starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $190,440

Earnings per start: $38,088

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 99

Pedigree: Atreides – Class Above, by Quiet American

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This California-based colt ships back east again and adds intrigue to the Louisiana Derby after posting a good runner-up finish in the Feb. 18 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on his first trip outside of the Golden State. In the Southwest, Sueno stalked the pace and closed well in the stretch to lose by three-quarters of a length, a result that was flattered last weekend when third-place Long Range Toddy won a division of the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn. Sueno has finished in the money in all five of his starts, and if he continues that form on Saturday he’s got a shot at ending War of Will’s three-race winning streak and shaking up the Derby points standings. He has a good stalking running style for this race and should sit two or three lengths behind the leaders through the backstretch before making his run at the top of the stretch under Fair Grounds-based rider Corey Lanerie.


5. By My Standards (12-1)

Jockey: Gabriel Saez

Trainer: Bret Calhoun

Owner: Allied Racing Stable

Career record: 4 starts – 1 win – 2 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $53,710

Earnings per start: $13,428

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 93

Pedigree: Goldencents – A Jealous Woman, by Muqtarib

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The first of two colts entered for Allied Racing Stable and Bret Calhoun, this son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents has made three of his four career starts at Fair Grounds. He has shown gradual improvement in each start, finishing second in his first two appearances, both at six furlongs, and then third in his first two-turn race after leading at the quarter pole before putting it all together and winning a 1 1/16-mile maiden race at Fair Grounds by 4 ¼ lengths on Feb. 16. He has trained well since that race and, if he can progress once again off of his last start, stands a decent chance of hitting the board in the Louisiana Derby, although he is taking a big leap in class facing winners for the first time. Jockey Gabriel Saez won the 2009 Louisiana Derby aboard Friesan Fire.


War of Will
Eclipse Sportswire

6. War of Will (6-5)

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Trainer: Mark Casse

Owner: Gary Barber

Career record: 7 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $491,569

Earnings per start: $70,224

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 107

Pedigree: War Front – Visions of Clarity, by Sadler’s Wells

Color: Bay

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This colt currently leads all Kentucky Derby contenders in the points standings with 60, having earned those by posting two dominant wins in the Lecomte Stakes (by four lengths) and the Risen Star Stakes (2 ¼ lengths). He is 3-for-3 on dirt after making his first four career starts on turf last year, where he was Grade 1-placed. The quality of his competition at Fair Grounds is suspect, and those concerns may linger again after the Louisiana Derby since he’s facing many of the same horses he’s already beaten yet again. But the addition of Sueno and Spinoff do make this race more challenging – and there’s a chance this budding star won’t have as easy a time pressing the pace and taking over by ‘war of will,’ so to speak, in his third try over Fair Grounds’ dirt track. He is safely in the Kentucky Derby field as it stands, but trainer Mark Casse and owner Gary Barber obviously want to see progression as he stretches out another sixteenth of a mile, so expect another quality performance on Saturday. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione has been aboard for each of War of Will’s three wins; he finished second in the 2017 Louisiana Derby riding fan favorite Patch.


Mr. Money
Coady Photography

7. Mr. Money (20-1)

Jockey: Adam Beschizza

Trainer: Bret Calhoun

Owner: Allied Racing Stable

Career record: 5 starts – 1 win – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $154,400

Earnings per start: $30,880

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 92

Pedigree: Goldencents – Plenty O’Toole, by Tiznow

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The second Louisiana Derby starter owned by Allied Racing Stable and trained by Bret Calhoun raced in third through the backstretch of the Risen Star Stakes and remained in contention into early stretch, but was no match for War of Will and tired to finish seventh after having his momentum stopped by wavering runner-up Country House. He made his 3-year-old debut in the Risen Star following a decent fourth-place showing at huge odds in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall, and he’s maintained a solid workout pattern at Fair Grounds heading into Saturday. It’s worth noting that Gabriel Saez, who rode Mr. Money in all five of his career starts, took the mount on stablemate By My Standards for the Louisiana Derby. Young jockey Adam Beschizza, who currently leads all Fair Grounds riders in wins and is second in purse earnings, picks up the mount, his first in the Louisiana Derby.


Country House
Leslie Martin/Coglianese photo

8. Country House (9-2)

Jockey: Luis Saez

Trainer: Bill Mott

Owners: Mrs. J. V. Shields Jr., E. J. M. McFadden Jr., and LNJ Foxwoods

Career record: 4 starts – 1 win – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $120,175

Earnings per start: $30,044

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 94

Pedigree: Lookin At Lucky – Quake Lake, by War Chant

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This highly regarded colt from the barn of Hall of Famer Bill Mott turned in a green, but encouraging, effort in the Risen Star Stakes, starting slowly and racing well back in the 14-horse field before mounting a five-wide rally in early stretch to take aim on War of Will. Under urging from Luis Saez, Country House then lugged in and stalled for a couple of strides but recovered to finish well along the rail, holding second over Roiland. The Risen Star was only his fourth career start – all four coming at different racetracks – and it followed an eye-catching maiden win by 3 ½ lengths going 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 17. If he returns on Saturday and displays some much-needed maturity, he’ll be a legitimate win contender as his pedigree suggests he should improve with added distance. Mott has won the Louisiana Derby twice, both early in his illustrious career: with Taylor’s Special in 1984 and Richman in 1991.


Bankit
Elsa Lorieul/NYRA

9. Bankit (20-1)

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owners: Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing

Career record: 8 starts – 2 wins – 3 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $345,625

Earnings per start: $43,203

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 98

Pedigree: Central Banker – Sister in Arms, by Colonel John

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This New York-bred colt with the same connections as Limonite makes his first start at Fair Grounds in a last-ditch attempt to earn Kentucky Derby points and with the hopes of recapturing the promise he showed during his juvenile season. He posted two wins and two seconds in five 2018 starts racing in his home state before shipping to Oklahoma for his final start at 2 and just missing in the Remington Springboard Mile, when he lost to recent Rebel Stakes division winner Long Range Toddy by a head. Since returning as a 3-year-old, however, Bankit has disappointed with a sixth-place finish in the Smarty Jones Stakes (as the 3-2 favorite) and then a fifth-place showing in the Southwest Stakes, both at Oaklawn Park. His pedigree profile suggests that a mile or a mile and a sixteenth is his best distance, and in his last three starts he has raced farther back in the field than he did before. Look for current Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who has ridden Bankit twice before but not since October, to position his mount closer to the early pace in the Louisiana Derby.


Spinoff
Lauren King/Coglianese photo

10. Spinoff (8-1)

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Owners: Wertheimer and Frere

Career record: 3 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $60,000

Earnings per start: $20,000

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 101

Pedigree: Hard Spun – Zaftig, by Gone West

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Here’s the Louisiana Derby wild card – a lightly raced but obviously talented colt who has the speed to make War of Will work during the early stages of Saturday’s race and a good stamina pedigree to boot. Spinoff actually began his racing career before any other Louisiana Derby contender, winning a five-furlong race at Gulfstream Park on June 23 of last year. Trainer Todd Pletcher then started him in the Saratoga Special Stakes Presented by Miller Lite, where he ran third in a race that only drew four starters. After a six-month break, the colt returned at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 22 in a one mile and forty yard allowance race, and ran off powerfully under John Velazquez to win by a widening 11 ¾ lengths. That was his first start around two turns, and it immediately made him one of Pletcher’s leading Kentucky Derby contenders among a smaller and less-accomplished group than usual this year. Owned by the internationally successful Wertheimer brothers (Alain and Gerard), Spinoff is a son of Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun and out of a Grade 1-winning dam, Zaftig, who was a sprinter-miler. His second dam (maternal grandmother), Zoftig, was a  Grade 1 winner at a mile and a sixteenth who also produced Zo Impressive, a Grade 1 winner at the same distance. Todd Pletcher has won the Louisiana Derby four times, and jockey John Velazquez twice. Both of Velazquez’s wins have been on Pletcher-trained horses: Circular Quay in 2007 and Noble Indy last year. Velazquez rode Noble Indy to victory a year ago using a forwardly-placed, pace-pressing strategy, one he very well may resurrect aboard Spinoff on Saturday.


Hog Creek Hustle
Coady Photography

11. Hog Creek Hustle (12-1)

Jockey: Miguel Mena

Trainer: Vickie Foley

Owner: Something Special Racing

Career record: 6 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $137,300

Earnings per start: $22,883

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 100

Pedigree: Overanalyze – Candy Fortune, by Candy Ride

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Vickie Foley-trained colt joins War of Will and Roiland as horses participating in all three Kentucky Derby preps at Fair Grounds. He ran on late to finish second behind War of Will in the Lecomte Stakes, beaten four lengths, and then encountered some early trouble in the Risen Star Stakes but once again churned on through the stretch to grab a share, finishing fourth. He’s a hard-trying type with only one outright poor performance on his résumé, and like several other local horses he’s been training well in preparation for this race. His prior two stakes efforts make Hog Creek Hustle a logical horse to use in trifecta and superfecta tickets on Saturday along with fellow closer Roiland, but anything better than that would be a surprise. Miguel Mena won the 2015 Louisiana Derby aboard International Star.

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