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Free PPs, Odds, Analysis of Louisiana Derby 2021

Churchill Downs returns post COVID-19 with Maxfield in the G3 Matt Winn

At 1 3/16th miles, 8 three year old colts will contest Louisiana Derby 2021 on Saturday at Fair Grounds. To date, it will be the longest race of any of the Kentucky Derby preps already in the book for Derby 147, which makes it a good test of stamina. And, at $1 million, it’s also the richest purse offered to date.

Baffert, Pletcher, nor any other “leading trainer” who stables a 3YO star with Derby DNA elsewhere this time of year is shipping in a contender for the longest, richest race to date on the Derby 2021 trail in North America, and the first Derby prep on the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby to offer 100 points to the winner.

Hot Rod Charlie Ships In for Louisiana Derby 2021

He may not be a “leading trainer” yet, but Leandro Mora, otherwise known as the number one assistant to two-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer Doug O’Neill, will saddle Hot Rod Charlie in Saturday’s Derby prep while O’Neill serves out a 10 day suspension for a medication violation.

Currently in the hot seat at 20th on the leader board with only 10 points, it’s probably do or die for this one-time winner of a MSW at Santa Anita last October. But don’t count him out yet.

Runner up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile two races back behind undefeated Essential Quality, ‘Charlie’ dueled in a three-way battle down the lane in the R.B. Lewis to finish a neck behind the Baffert trained Medina Spirit and Roman Centurion. He’ll make his second start of the year for top connections looking to make sure his place is secure in the starting gate on Derby Day.

The field of 8 for the 2021 Louisiana Derby (G2) is set for Saturday. The morning line odds have not been posted but expect to see Mandaloun open at 8 to 5 or less.

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Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Derby is the only Kentucky Derby points prep this weekend. It’s the first Derby prep worth a bonanza of 170 total points, with the winner scoring the biggest prize of 100 to automatically leap into first place on the Derby leader board, and a guaranteed spot in the starting gate on Saturday, May 1.

Louisiana Derby 2021 (G2) Field and Analysis

Distance: 1 3/16 miles
Purse: $1,000,000
Points: 100-40-20-10

In post position order, here’s a quick rundown of the field for the 2021 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on Saturday, March 20.

1 Starrininmydreams – After taking home his first two at the home of ‘the Derby’, he made his first start as at 3 in the Risen Star as a warm up for this one. Bet down to 10-1, he was slow to start and tough to handle through a half-mile. Part owner/trainer Stewart is having a decent FG meet and gives this son of Super Saver (winner of the 2010 Kentucky Derby for Pletcher) another shot with new rider Saez. Was off slow from the rail in the Risen Star, but expect him to get a much better start with Saez hustling him into contention early. Too much competition, today.

2 Rightandjust – Returns off a sixth place finish in the Risen Star in his last with NO LASIX, after winning back-to-back two-turn races taking them wire to wire here vs lesser quality – WITH LASIX. Sitting on a bullet best of 43 going 5/8 in :59.3 a week before this one. Roussel let him go for $50K. And he stopped after setting early fractions in the Risen Star. Obviously benefits from Lasix and is not a Derby horse.

3 Run Classic – Sire Runhappy was a sprinter who finished 8th in the 1 mile 2016 Breeders’ Cup. And while Runhappy never won beyond 7 furlongs, Run Classic took his last out MSW here a month ago going 1 1/16 miles. Trainer Calhoun trying to take him to a new level against a very tough bunch of seasoned three year olds. Don’t see him in the top 4.

4 Proxy – Currently in 10th on the leader board with 24 points, Velazquez returns to reevaluate this Godolphin homebred for trainer Mike Stidham after two runner up finishes in the Lecomte when he finished a neck best of Mandaloun, and a length behind that one in the Risen Star. Note in each of his last three he had trouble getting away clean from the gate. Love to see Johnny V. back after surely recommending an equipment change to ‘blinkers on.’ Top 3.

5 Hot Rod Charlie – Runner up at 100 to 1 in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he gets another shot to make amends for a stumbled start in the R.B. Lewis to open 2021 a neck back of the Baffert trainee Medina Spirit. Rosario, who won the Rebel on Concert Tour to give Baffert his 8th, will ride this one for trainer Leandro Mora. Looks like the added distance in here will help his cause. And as one of two in Saturday’s Louisiana Derby who did not compete in the Risen Star, he comes in with a chance to expose the caliber of the best three year old horses to represent the Fair Grounds in the 2021 Kentucky Derby. UPSET SPECIAL.

Kentucky Derby Prep Race: Watch the replay of the R.B. Lewis at Santa Anita. Courtesy of AndHereTheyCome.com

6 Mandaloun – Entered the starting gate in all four career starts as the favorite, disappointing only once when 3rd two back in the Lecomte behind Midnight Bourbon and Proxy. Added blinkers after that one, to stalk and pounce in mid-stretch to take the Risen Star to earn this fields highest last race BRIS speed figure 100. Adds a 1/16th to that effort and expect he’ll again be sitting in the cat birds seat, as the favorite. Top CHOICE.

7 Midnight Bourbon – After his front-running victory over Proxy and Mandaloun in the G3 Lecomte, he showed a slight crack in his armor when failing to finish strong going an extra 1/16th. He’ll be asked to go an extra 1/8th longer than his Lecomte, and again forced to keep up with Rightandjust until that one gives way. By then the one, two finishers of the Star will have put him away. Not today.

Louisiana Derby PPs See Brad Cox.

7 O Besos – Two-time winner here, sprinting with Lasix, he was seven lengths back of the top three in the Risen Star last time out when over matched and under medicated. Returns with hopes of moving up from 36th on the board, or else. But with the addition of Hot Rod Charlie, who will likely grab one of the four points worthy positions. The end of the ‘Road’ for this guy.

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