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Louisiana Derby: Hotep On Track

Fair Grounds Race Course
Photo: CDI

Sam-Son Farms’ Hotep, the younger full brother to Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2009, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 Saturday morning and is being pointed for next week’s Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27.


“We were very happy with that work,” said trainer Mark Frostad of Hotep, a full brother to last year’s Grade I Queen’s Plate hero Eye of the Leopard. “We’re on track (for the Louisiana Derby) right now. We’ll see how he comes out of this (Saturday breeze) and we’ll be ready to kick on with him.”


Hotep won a $50,000 allowance optional claiming race at Fair Grounds in impressive fashion Feb. 1, but was compromised by the extreme outside post position in his last start in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes Feb. 20.


El Caballo, Blues Street, Jet Propulsion Likely to Share Top Weight in Mervin Muniz Memorial ‘Cap

James Spence’s El Caballo won the first leg of Fair Grounds’ 2010 grass series for older horse by taking the Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap by 3 1/4-lengths in his last start Jan. 23.


Anstu Stables’ Blues Street won the second leg of the local turf trio by taking the Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap by 2 1/4-lengths in his last trip to the post Feb. 20.


Now those two are expected to face each other and share the starting top impost of 119 pounds in the Grade II Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap as the final leg of that grass series and as the richest grass race of the season over the Stall-Wilson turf course on Louisiana Derby Day March 27.


Also assigned 119 pounds and an expected starter in the Muniz Memorial is Farnsworth Stables’ Jet Propulsion, a Florida invader who won the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream Jan. 30 and then finished third in Gulfstream’s Grade III Canadian Turf Stakes in his last start Feb. 20.

El Caballo, second by a nose to Proudinsky in the 2009 Muniz, has been based at Fair Grounds for the winter and breezed five furlongs Friday in 1:02.60 after winning the Col. Bradley off a seven-month layoff.


“It was just a maintenance move,” said trainer Ralph Nicks Saturday morning. “He’s training well. He’s just a horse that needs between 45 and 60 days between races.”


Blues Street, trained by Todd Pletcher, breezed a half-mile over the Palm Meadows turf course in 48 last Monday, while Jet Propulsion, conditioned by Marty Wolfson, went four furlongs over the Calder main track in 49.80 breezing from the gate last Wednesday. Those two are expected to arrive at Fair Grounds on a flight from South Florida Tuesday.


Other expected starters in the Mervin Muniz Handicap, with their respective weight assignments published Friday, are Wachtel, Brous and Robinette Crawford’s Yate’s Black Cat (117), EMO Stables’ Pick Six (115), Martin Cherry’s Pickapocket (115), Castle Top Stable’s Baletti (114), and Kim and John Glenney’s Transduction Gold (112).


Nick Zito-trained Fly Down Flying Up from Florida for Louisiana Derby

Robert Pell’s Fly Down, trained by two-time Kentucky Derby winner Nick Zito, worked a bullet half-mile in 48.20 Saturday morning at Palm Meadows in advance of a planned start in the upcoming $750,000 Louisiana Derby March 27 at Fair Grounds.


Fly Down, a son of Mineshaft out of a Fly So Free mare, broke his maiden by a half-length Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs and won his next outing at Gulfstream Feb. 21 by a head in his only start in 2010.




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