Road to the Kentucky Derby: Louisiana Derby
The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues on Saturday with the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. The Grade II race headlines a 14-race card that includes eight stakes races and concludes with four graded stakes five stakes. The 1 3/16 mile Louisiana Derby has a scheduled eight-horse field, and Mandaloun (8-5) is the prohibitive morning line favorite.
Last month, Mandaloun captured the first Championship Series race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby by winning the Risen Star at the Fair Grounds.
The Louisiana Derby is restricted to 3-year-olds, and the top four finishers receive Kentucky Derby qualifying points (100-40-20-10). It’s the first of eight major Derby preps to award 100 points to the winner and assures a spot in the starting gate for the May 1 Kentucky Derby. Mandaloun already has 52 points on the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard, which is enough to qualify for the Run for the Roses.
Saturday, March 20, 2021. Post, odds, jockey, trainer. Race 14 with post time 6:44 p.m. EST.
1 – Starrininmydreams (20-1)
- Jockey: Luis Saez
- Trainer: Dallas Stewart
2 – Rightandjust (20-1)
- Jockey: Carlos Hernandez
- Trainer: Shane Wilson
3 – Run Classic (12-1)
- Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.
- Trainer: W. Bret Calhoun
4 – Proxy (7-2)
- Jockey: John Velazquez
- Trainer: Mike Stidman
5 – Hot Rod Charlie (3-1)
- Jockey: Joel Rosario
- Trainer: Leandro Mora
6 – Mandaloun (8-5)
- Jockey: Florent Geroux
- Trainer: Brad Cox
7 – Midnight Bourbon (5-1)
- Jockey: Joe Talamo
- Trainer: Steve Asmussen
8 – O Besos (15-1)
- Jockey: M Pedroza
- Trainer: Greg Foley
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Race contenders, including favorite Mandaloun
Mandaloun has had two sharp 5-furlong works since winning the Risen Star last month. The son of Into Mischief, who also produced last year’s Kentucky Derby winner Authentic, beat Proxy by 1 1/4 lengths in the Risen Star, with Midnight Bourbon a close third. He was more than 7 lengths better than fourth-place finisher O Besos and sixth-place runner Rightandjust. Also, Starrininmydreams, it turned out, was not fully healthy when he finished ninth in the Risen Star after winning his first two races at Churchill Downs.
Mandaloun posted a 97 Equibase Speed Figure in that race, which is the highest last race speed figure in this field. Mandaloun has won 3 of 4 starts, with a close third-place finish behind runner-up Proxy and winner Midnight Bourbon in the Lecomte Stakes here in January.
Hot Rod Charlie is a son of 2013 Preakness winner and Belmont runner-up Oxbow. He’s 1 for 6 and was runner-up in the November Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind Essential Quality, who won the Southwest Stakes and is a major Kentucky Derby contender. Hot Rod Charlie finished a neck short in third in his 2021 debut in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Hot Rod Charlie has never raced at the Fair Grounds, and eight of the last 10 Louisiana Derby winners had experience running a race over the track.
Run Classic just broke his maiden in his second start and first route last month. His impressive margin win over 1 1/16 miles included a winning time that would have been good enough to win the Lecomte Stakes. He’s an improving runner at longer odds and a son of Run Happy, a multiple Grade I winner who won the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
The Louisiana Derby is preceded in Race 13 by the Twinspires.com $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks, which is a major prep race for the Kentucky Oaks. The Grade II race drew eight 3-year-old fillies, with Clairiere (2-1) and Travel Column (5-2) the two favorites. Clairiere is currently second on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with 52 points, while Travel Column is sixth with 32 points.