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Zipse At The Track

How well do you know the Super Derby?

Ten Most Wanted
Photo: Louisiana Downs


In the first ten editions of the Super Derby, the winners also accounted for three wins each in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, as well as, two victories in the Belmont Stakes. The horses who enjoyed Triple Crown success before going on to victory at Louisiana Downs in the first decade of the Super Derby, included Temperence Hill, Sunny's Halo, Gate Dancer, Creme Fraiche, Alysheba, and Sunday Silence .


When Blame won the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic, he became the sixth horse to win it after competing in the Super Derby, and the third one to win the Classic after losing at Louisiana Downs, joining Unbridled, and Concern. The trio all finished second in their respective attempts in the Super Derby.


When inaugurated in 1980 at Louisiana Downs, the $500,000 purse of the Super Derby at that time became the richest race ever run for three-year-olds.


The Super Derby actually has two stakes record holders. At the original 1 1/4 mile distance, two-time Breeders' Cup Classic champion, Tiznow, owns the record of 1:59.84. While at the current nine furlong distance, it is My Pal Charlie who ran the fastest at 1:48.36.



My Pal Charlie represented the first Super Derby victory for trainer, and Louisiana native, Al Stall, who will go for his third with likely favorite, Departing on Saturday. Stall also trained Apart, the 2010 winner, as well as, the 2009 runner-up, Blame. 



In 1987, Alysheba became the first Super Derby winner to go on to be named Horse of the Year. He followed up his three-year-old championship by grabbing the top year-end award the following year, but in the Super Derby, California invader, Candi's Gold gave him all he wanted ...


When 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic winner, Unbridled was upset in the Super Derby at odds of 9-10, his trainer, Carl Nafzger was still a winner. Nafzger also trained the 15-1 shot, Home at Last, who beat Unbridled by 3 1/2 lengths.


Seven different times the Travers winner jumped on the Saratoga Springs to Bossier City pipeline by following up a win in the Mid-Summer Derby by lining-up in the Super Derby starting gate. Ten Most Wanted became the last horse to pull of the double, ten years ago.


Sunny's Halo may have been the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby and the Super Derby, but his ten length romp in the 1983 Super Derby came while not favored. Play Fellow was the choice that year. It also marked the Canadian champion's final career victory.


While three jockeys (Eddie Maple, Laffit Pincay, Jr., and Chris McCarron) have won the Super Derby three times, no trainer has won it more than the record of two times shared by D. Wayne Lukas, Jack Van Berg, Wallace Dollase, and Al Stall.


And finally ... while the Super Derby has seen a number of horses win at odds-on, none were lower than the Hall of Famer, Sunday Silence, who won the 1989 edition at odds of 2-5.


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Older Comments about How well do you know the Super Derby?...

Now I know the Super Derby much better than I did before. Thanks, Brian.
Absolutely ... it is a tricky time of year on my working schedule, but I will get to Louisiana Downs and the Super Derby sometime soon. Thanks, CFC!
One side note, Brian. Through all your journeys to numerous tracks, I don't believe you have ever experienced Louisiana Downs. I seem to have remembered that you had thought about going to a recent Super Derby, to include this track on your list, but, you didn't make it(if I remember correctly). Will you, or are you, going to try and make a Super Derby?
For being in existence only 32 years, this race has had a major impact on horse racing. Seems that they had a visionary that appropriately titled the race "Super" Derby. Very interesting article, Brian.
Other than Blame, it seems that the race's significance has diminished with the reduction in distance.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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