The Louisiana Derby is likely the final prep for many in this field before the 2015 Kentucky Derby. The top-4 finishers from the Risen Star are back to battle again including International Star and War Story but a field of five others are stepping up to the plate for their shot at Kentucky Derby points and a share of the $1 million purse. Let’s not waste any more time and get right into it.
Race: Louisiana Derby (G2)
Location: Fair Grounds
Distance: Mile and a eighth
Purse: $1 million
Age: 3 Year Olds
Date: Saturday, March 28th 2015
Post Time: 6:24 PM ET, 5:24 PM Local
TV Coverage: Can be found on TVG (online) and HRTV
|1||5-1||Stanford||Geroux||A bit of a head scratcher. The first three starts were all sprints where he sat off the pace and closed to take two wins. Once he lengthened out, Pletcher seems to have pushed him to the front of the pack. He appears to be speed but not the stamina to stick around.|
|2||4-1||Mr. Z||Desormeaux||I am not as high on him as many other people are. He is mature and he is experienced but he also has a propensity to bear out in the stretch. That does not bode well. Plenty of stakes in the performances but none with a win tied to them. Just not my guy even with the blinkers off.|
|3||12-1||Defondo||Hernandez Jr||I could look like a fool on Saturday night but I will keep this short. He is outclassed and outmatched here, period.|
|4||20-1||Fusaichi Flame||Torres||Wins on the turf and wins in the slop. The son of Fusaichi Pegasus, has the bloodline but has not delivered in the clean dry weather. I would avoid…unless…the weather gets bad then the intrigue has me.|
|5||12-1||A Day In Paradise||Clark||Winner of a listed stakes at Sam Houston last out in his only 2015 start. He is rested but loves to run from the front. However, the front will have some other competition this week and he can expect to be torched down the stretch.|
|6||4-1||War Story||Talamo||Here you have a horse with two schools of thought. Some argue that he got off slow in his last two, caught bad spots and rough trips. Others will argue that those things did not impact his final finish in either race. The answer for me is somewhere in the middle. The 2nd in the Risen Star was good but not great. His moves were good but not great. All that tells me he will hit the board but not the title.|
|7||5-1||Keen Ice||Graham||The son of Curlin needs some love here. He needs a pace to run at since he will have zero issue with 10 furlongs. Guess what he will get here? Pace…pace…pace…and make no mistake about it, he will be coming hard late. 3rd to IS and WS in the Risen Star but this race brings volumes of pace by comparison. Yep its true, I like him in this spot and the value will be there compared to others.|
|8||10-1||St Joe Bay||Albarado||He likes to go and he like to go fast on the lead. Expect nothing different here. But at 10 furlongs and this group it should be a bridge two far unless a jump forward that I cannot see occurs.|
|9||3-1||International Star||Mena||The battle with War Story could continue here. The other here out of Fusaichi Pegasus has all the class needed to get the job done. Since he turned three he has shown an affinity for winning here at Fairgrounds. Yes he checked War Story in the Risen Star but he won. Yes he won the LeComte the race prior but... While he is a deserving favorite he is no lock.|
Louisiana Derby Breakdown and Betting
The top-4 from the Risen Star are back to do battle again. The two at the top are widely considered to be International Star and War Story. I take nothing away from either as both ran well in recent efforts, well at least that is what the past performances read.
Digging deeper you see that War Story has issues with slow starts. That contributes to the trouble he seems to get into. But the addition of Talamo, who tends to get horses out of the gate, should help him get the best out of the time.
International Star is third off the layoff and has been improving steadily. The bloodlines suggest there is no issue here with 10 furlongs or in May. He will break from the outside which means all the heat will be to his inside. That pace pressing should be expected from St. Joe Bay, Stanford and A Day In Paradise. If he can avoid getting hung into the first time he should be fine. International Star will have no excuse on Saturday if he fails to deliver.
Many believe that this is a two horse race. However, if you want value I would look to Keen Ice. Curlin’s boy will be uncorking late and could challenge if the front torches as should be expected. The stretch out to 10 furlongs falls squarely in his wheelhouse as well. Also, he seems to prefer the surface of Fair Grounds over the dirt at Gulfstream. When you consider that International Star and War Story are probably staring at 7-5 and 2-1 respectively when they load into the gate, there is solid value in Keen Ice who can probably be had in the neighborhood or 5-1 or 7-1 at the gate.
Below are some betting options for the race. You can take all, some or none but I wanted to give you some combinations that just make come true when making your 2015 Louisiana Derby picks. Remember the morning line odds for the Louisiana Derby are suggestions/opinions and frankly nothing more. As always if you are struggling to raise a couple of dollars to make a bet, please don’t. Pay a bill, which is more important. Remember, this is supposed to be fun. On to my win picks, predictions, and betting strategies for the 2015 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.
|$1 Exacta Box||6 with 7 with 9|
|$1 Trifecta Box||6 with 7 with 9|
|$1 Exacta Box||6 with 7 with 9|
|$ 1 Trifecta||7,9 with 4,6,7,9|
|$3 Win/ Place||7|