If there's a race I wish I could be at this weekend, it would be the Louisiana Derby. A year ago I was fortunate enough to attend the 100th running of the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds, and it was your typical fun time in the Big Easy. This year's edition of the Louisiana's biggest race might not have the historical significance of the number "100", but the party at the Fair Grounds on Saturday is still the place to be.
As for the field for this year's Louisiana Derby, Intense Holiday returns after his late-running victory in the Risen Star with hopes of fine tuning his form for the Kentucky Derby. With a robust 53 points under his belt, the Todd Pletcher trainee is a virtual lock for this year's Kentucky Derby. But as with all still-developing three-year-old colts, you know his connections are looking for another solid outing from this son of Harlan's Holiday.
Vicar's in Trouble, winner of the Lecomte but a well-beaten third in the Risen Star, is also looking to lock-down a spot in the Derby as his already-earned 20 points have him sitting currently in a tie for 13th position; a precarious spot if he were to fail to earn any more points on Saturday.
Anthony Dutrow's In Trouble could provide us a glimpse as to the strength of the New York duo of Samraat and Uncle Sigh. In Trouble was third, beaten only a half length, to Samraat and Uncle Sigh in the G3-Gotham at the beginning of the month. A big effort at the Fair Grounds by In Trouble on Saturday would, in my opinion, reflect well on the Aqueduct contingent.
The rest of Saturday's field includes:
- King Cyrus: Second in a minor stakes even at Calder on March 2nd.
- Louies Flower: Twelfth, beaten 26 lengths in the G3-Southwest; winner of the Springboard at Remington in mid-December.
- Flat Gone: Eighth, beaten 15 lengths in the Risen Star.
- Gold Hawk: The post-time favorite in the Lecomte where he finished third, 7 1/4 lengths back of Vicar's in Trouble. Most recently he finished fifth in the Risen Star.
- Commanding Curve: Sixth, beaten 8 1/4 lengths in the Risen Star.
- Rise Up: Seventh, beaten 13 lengths in the Risen Star but won the G3-Delta Jackpot in late November. Adds blinkers for the first time.
- Albano: A tough second by a nose in the Risen Star after leading the field for the entire length of the race.
Saturday's 13-race card at the Fair Ground features the Dixie Poker Ace Stakes (race 3), Crescent City Oaks (race 4), G2-Fair Grounds Oaks (race 7), G2-Mervin H. Muniz, Jr. Handicap (race 8), a 14-horse field in the Crescent City Derby (race 9), and the G2-New Orleans Handicap (race 10).
Below are the entries, post positions and morning line odds for the 2014 Louisiana Derby:
|1||Intense Holiday||M. Smith||T. Pletcher||2/1|
|2||King Cyrus||J. Graham||T. Pletcher||15/1|
|3||Louies Flower||M. Mena||W. Calhoun||20/1|
|4||Flat Gone||K. Desormeaux||J. Desormeaux||50/1|
|5||Gold Hawk||S. Bridgmohan||S. Asmussen||12/1|
|6||Vicar's in Trouble||R. Napravnnik||M. Maker||4/1|
|7||Commanding Curve||R. Albarado||D. Stewart||20/1|
|8||Rise Up||G. Melancon||T. Amoss||10/1|
|9||In Trouble||J. Rocco, Jr.||A. Dutrow||4/1|
|10||Albano||K. Clark||J. Jones||9/2|