WinStar Farm’s Revolutionary
, who overcame severe traffic problems to win Aqueduct’s Grade III Withers Stakes in his last start Feb. 2, has been installed as the lukewarm 3-1 morning line favorite in the 100th anniversary edition of the $1 million Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Saturday.
The nine-furlong Grade II Louisiana Derby, as always a significant gauge for Triple Crown candidates, will be Race 9 of 13 – seven of which are stakes – slated for the penultimate day of the New Orleans oval’s 2012-2013 Thoroughbred racing season. First post is 1 p.m. CDT with the Louisiana Derby post set for 5:44 p.m. CDT. The race will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network as part of a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” broadcast that starts at 5 p.m. CDT.
This year’s milestone 100th Louisiana Derby festivities include the first-ever Infield Festival, a celebration in the green expanse within the racing oval with concerts by Cowboy Mouth and Flow Tribe, as well as a gathering of 17 food trucks and pop-up vendors.
The Louisiana Derby is worth 170 points – 100 for first, 40 for second, 20 for third and 10 for fourth – in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series that determines qualifying for the world’s most famous horse race, held five weeks after the Louisiana Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
Revolutionary, conditioned by five-time Eclipse Award-winning and two-time Louisiana Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, will be ridden by Javier Castellano, who was aboard for his Withers win.
Pegged as the 9-2 second choice in Saturday’s Louisiana Derby is Gary and Mary West’s Code West
, who invaded from California last month to finish second by a nose in Fair Grounds’ Grade II Risen Star Stakes as the final local designed prep for Saturday’s showcase.
Code West is conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and will be ridden by West Coast-based jockey Martin Garcia.
Third choice at 5-1 in the Louisiana Derby morning line is Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice
, who finished third in the Risen Star – beaten a half-length for all the money – in the first start of his career around two turns. Palace Malice, also trained by Pletcher, has Edgar Prado up.
Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s undefeated Departing
and Paul Hornung et al.’s Titletown Five
are the co-fourth choices in the early line at 8-1.
Departing, conditioned by three-time Fair Grounds trainer champion Al Stall Jr., won Sam Houston’s $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes March 2 and remains undefeated after three career starts. Regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. is named once again.
Titletown Five, owned by NFL Hall of Famer Paul Hornung and others, is conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas and will have jockey Jon Court handling the reins.
Completing the Louisiana Derby field, with respective jockeys and morning line odds assigned, is: Mike McCarty’s Proud Strike, Corey Nakatani (10-1); GoldMark Farm’s Mylute, Shaun Bridgmohan (12-1); Brittlyn Stable’s Sunbean, Colby Hernandez (12-1); Charles Fipke’s Golden Soul, Calvin Borel (20-1); Marette Farrell et al.’s Ground Transport, Mark Guidry (20-1); Cindy Wade’s Hip Four Sixtynine, Jamie Theriot (30-1); Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Brazilian Court, Miguel Mena (30-1); Erich Brehm and Gene Voss’s Whiskey Bravo, James Graham (30-1) and Nina Bai Yuhong and Dave Currie’s Nina’s Dragon, Julien Couton (30-1).