Happy Louisiana Derby Day! 

This is the big day at Fair Grounds headlined by the Louisiana Derby. For reasons that escape me this race remains a Grade II, even though it has become a premier Derby prep especially since the distance was extended to a mile and three sixteenths in 2020. Recent winners have included Gun Runner,  Epicenter, and Hot Rod Charlie. 


Race 11 – The Fair Grounds Oaks – Grade II 

One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt for Three Year Old Fillies  

The Fair Grounds Oaks, which awards 100-40-20-10 points for entry into the Kentucky Oaks, has a surprisingly compact field of five. There are no monsters in here – but this is the first of the 100 points preps and maybe some of the fillies are aiming elsewhere. By comparison there are 88 nominations to the Ashland which is run in a couple of weeks at Keeneland. 

  1. Southlawn: Showed a thirty point Beyer improvement last out while crushing an N1X field at Fair Grounds for Norm Casse (86 Beyer). That race was the first effort with Lasix – which comes OFF today. Reylu stays in the irons but this one will have to prove it without Lasix. Should be sent from this inside post. Passing.   
  2. Christian d’Oro: Won twice this winter while sprinting at Zia and Sunland Park. Stretched out to a mile last out and faded badly after being up close. Now moves to the Steve Asmussen barn. But does this one want even more ground? Doesn’t appear so. Has worked only once since that February 28th effort.  Picks up Rosario. Outsider. 
  3. Pretty Mischievous: Godolphin homebred has won four of five career starts including the prep for this race, the Rachel Alexandra (87 Beyer), where she ran away from Hoosier Philly while battling Miracle. Likes to be up near the pace.  She has handled both Hoosier Philly and The Alys Look in her last two outings. Hoosier Philly got the better of her last Fall at Churchill in her lone defeat. Legit favorite. The Pick.
  4. The Alys Look: Brad Cox trained filly comes in with the highest Beyer fig (89) in the field that she earned last out in the Silverbullet Day Stakes over this course. She pressed the pace that day and outdueled her stablemate Chop Chop for the length of the stretch. She’ll need to be faster early to get the kind of trip she prefers. Loves the track – two wins and a second in three attempts.  Exacta play. 
  5. Hoosier Philly: Tom Amoss enters this Into Mischief filly off a distant third in the Rachel Alexandra. Had a bit of an excuse that day as she stumbled from the gate as she was defeated for the first time. But she didn’t lose that much ground and was leg weary in the last eighth of a mile as she tried to chase Pretty Mischievous but to no avail. All three wins were at Churchill, can she take it on the road? Bullet work last week. Hits the board.

Picks 3-4-5 



Race 12 – The Louisiana Derby – Grade II 

One Mile and Three Sixteenths on the Dirt for Three Year Olds 


  1. Shopper’s Revenge: Broke his maiden two back at Oaklawn for Asmussen (76 Beyer) where he went to the front and took them all the way.  Breeding is spot on to go long but this is alot to ask in a third career start.  Will be running late. Possible in exotics.
  2. Instant Coffee: Impressive Bolt d’Oro colt won the Lecomte Stakes last out (92 Beyer) by sitting off the pace and making a sustain drive for the final half mile. That was his first start since November when he won the Kentucky Jockey Cup. Should be able to save ground and take his shot as they turn for home. Win contender.
  3. Curly Jack: Had a tough trip in the Risen Star last month and faded badly. Won the Iroquois and finished second to Instant Coffee in the Kentucky Jockey Cup during a productive two year old season.  Should be near the pace. Will need a career best performance in his second race of the year – that’s possible, but not likely in career start number eight. Looking elsewhere.
  4. Sun Thunder: Late running colt didn’t relish the off going at Oaklawn two back in the Southwest. Last out in the Risen Star he finished a close second to Angel of Empire (89 Beyer) where he was out outrun late. Minor award.
  5. Disarm: Asmussen trained colt runs for the second time since August when he broke his maiden at Saratoga at seven furlongs with an impressive performance. Last out he was an OK second in N2L company (84 Beyer) but was clearly second best as he was outrun in the stretch after a ground saving trip.  Will need to move forward off that effort.  Wait and see. 
  6. Kingsbarns: It took a while for this $800k Uncle Mo colt to make it to the track but he hasn’t taken a wrong step in two efforts.  Blew away an N1X field last out at Tampa winning by more than seven lengths (85 Beyer).  That followed a maiden breaking effort going the flat mile at first asking. Lasix comes OFF. Gets the acid test today for Pletcher.  Slice of the pie.
  7. Cagliostro: Took a big move forward last time (90 Beyer) while losing by a neck to Denington who he faces again today.  Steps up to graded stakes company. If that fig is legit then he is a contender. Lasix comes OFF. Wait and see approach.
  8. Single Ruler: Needed five attempts to break his maiden but he scored going a mile and sixteenth over this track and followed that up with a respectable fifth in the Risen Star (81 Beyer) as he picked up the pieces late. Water is too deep.
  9. Tapit’s Conquest: He is a possible scratch as he may be redirected to the Wood Memorial by Brad Cox. Ran fourth last out in the Risen Star while finishing behind Sun Thunder as he flattened out late in the stretch after looming boldy at the eighth pole. Lasix comes OFF. Bottom side of Supers.
  10. Denington: Make his fourth start of the year for Ken McPeek – two back he was a distant fourth in the Lecomte behind Instant Coffee (75 Beyer). He rebounded last out against N1X company and scored with a career best 91 Beyer as Lasix went on. Lasix comes OFF today. Passing. 
  11. Jace’s Road: His form is dirtied up with two poor efforts in the slop (which he clearly does not like) including last out in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn.  Best career performance was two back in the Gun Runner where he wired the field (90 Beyer) over this surface. Geroux regains the mount for the “Other” Brad Cox runner. Should be the speed and could get loose without alot of pressure. The Pick. 
  12. Baseline Beater: Enters here off a maiden breaking effort over this surface where he got rolling in the stretch.  Late runner should be coming in the lane, expect him to take back from this post. Beyer top is a 74. Would need a 20 point improvement in his sixth career start. Don’t see it.     

Picks 11-2-4-6