The first of the 100 points to the winner of a Kentucky Derby prep takes place Saturday with the running of the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds.
The race is the 13th on the Fair Grounds card and is set for a 3:13 p.m. PDT post.
This is the time of the prep season where the contenders start to get separated so let’s look at the key horses in the race:
War of Will (6/5, Mark Casse trainer, Tyler Gaffalione jockey): The easy favorite and it’s easy to see why. The winner of three straight, the horse has won both the Derby prep races over the Fair Grounds track. He took the LeComte by four lengths followed by a two-length win in the Risen Star. Gaffalione has been on the horse for the last three races, all wins. Not a lot of reason to expect much different to happen here. Should sit right off the pace and when they turn for home, he will be right there.
Country House (9/2, Bill Mott, Luis Saez): One win in four starts, but that second-place finish in the Risen Star is what has the horse second on the morning line. He had a slow start, went five-wide, then lugged in during his stretch run and still managed a second-place finish. Would a clean trip make up for the two lengths he was back of War of Will? That’s the question to be pondered by bettors as they head to the windows.
Sueno (8/1, Keith Desormeaux, Corey Lanerie): No worse than third in five career starts, Sueno is coming off a pair of second-place finishes in Derby preps at two different tracks. He was second in the Sham at Santa Anita, then went to Arkansas and was second in the Southwest at Oaklawn. I find it somewhat interesting that the connections go a third track as many races, but he is a legit threat here and will be another coming from off the pace.
Spinoff (8/1, Todd Pletcher, Johnny Velazquez): When Todd Pletcher sends out a runner, that get attention and that’s the case here. Two wins in three career starts, but one was a maiden win last June and the other an optional claimer in late February at Tampa Bay Downs. But it is Pletcher and he does have Velazquez up for the third straight race, so it is something to take a long look it.
I always look for a double-digit odds horse as a price horse to play, but no matter how much I looked at the rest of the 11-horse field, no one looked worthy of a mention.
The fully expect the winner to come from the four aforementioned horses Saturday and take the momentum on to Kentucky and the first Saturday in May.