The Fair Grounds is running its final Derby prep race of 2011 meet in the GII $1,000,000, Louisiana Derby for 13 Derby contenders, going 1 1/8 mile on Saturday!
This Saturday is, by definition, what a big race day is all about. The Fair Grounds will host multiple Stakes and Graded Stakes contests, Millions of dollars in purse money with big-time thoroughbred racing action. The savvy handicapper can do very well on such days like this as big race days always brings good value to every race with full fields!
So lets meet this field of 13 mighty steeds, who are all looking for a big payday, a big Graded stakes win and a Kentucky Derby gate in the Fair Grounds premiere race of their 2011 racing season.
At 9/5 is the Morning Line favorite in Mucho Macho Man. This son of Macho Uno won last month’s GII Risen Star here at the Fair Grounds at 1 1/16 mile distance that he covered in a nice 1: 43 and 4/5. His last four starts have all been in Graded Stakes events and he has run with some of the best 3yos in the country in all those outings. So he seems to be the one to beat here on Saturday. So he should be your first thought in your exotics thinking but just box him up in all your plays as any kind of board hit here Saturday should find him a gate in Louisville on May 7th.
At 7/2, 6/1 and 8/1 respectively are the other single-digit odds contenders for this million dollar purse in Machen, Elite Alex and Wilkinson.
Machen is a son of Distorted Humor and a grandson to More Than Ready. The word that might describe his short career so far would be “Rushed”. His connections seem to be pushing him along at an exhilarated rate to bring him to this big event. He does have the stair-steps up with MSW and Alw wins but he finished a somewhat unimpressive and late-breaking 4th in that Risen Star contest here last month and took a lot of money as a co-favorite in that tilt. Someone down here in Cajunland thinks very highly of this 3yo with such short odds but 7/2 comes across as real “gifty” to us. He better hit the board here Saturday cause these old boys down here think the world of him. Perhaps the 1 1/8 might help this closer here on Saturday but we’d put him at the back-end of a tri or super as that might be the smart play with him.
Elite Alex, son of Afleet Alex begged off the Rebel Stakes last Saturday to take a shot at the bigger purse money here but with only a 3 race career, none over a mile, gives us some pause. Yes, he has hit the board in all 3 starts but his only win was a 5f Msw. Can he go the distance here? Well his pedigree says so, but he feels rushed to us, as well. 6/1 is just ok to us and maybe Calvin can work some magic with him and get him to improve over that 3rd in the Southwest Stakes last month. Tri’s and supers here for him too!
Wilkinson, at least has a graded stakes win here in the Le Comte back in late January and does hit the board everytime out but that’s a long layoff for this bang-bang “Derby Trail”season. So well-rested is the best descriptor here for Wilkinson on Saturday, so that 1 1/8 mile shouldn’t be a tall order. If he can rate, a board hit seems right to us here. Any exotic play has our blessing here for him!
At 10/1 is Nacho Business in a probable paired-entry with stablemate Pants on Fire and Left!
Left, is another son of Arch with just a pair of stair-step wins on his resume, is jumping into big-time racing in this GII tilt. Supers only for him as the 1 1/8 distance with no graded stakes experience is a load he might not bear!
Pants on Fire did everything but win the Le Comte here back in January as he lead the entire race, just to be nosed out, at the line, by Wilkinson that day. If he rates just a bit here on Saturday a 3rd or 4th finishing might be in the cards. If he goes out fast, he’ll be all done by the 1/8 pole, watching everyone who rated go by him. You decide supers or not! 10/1 is good value here!
Nacho Business is a son of Rahy and does have a 2nd in a 1 1/8 mile Alw test here last month on his 2 race resume. Wouldn’t call him a Dark Horse pick here but he could come late to pickup the super spot in a “picking up the pieces” effort.
At 12/1 is Majestic Harbor has but a maiden win in 3 starts to his credit with the win coming in his last outing, around 2-turns and over this strip! Seems a bit out of place here in a million dollar contest but if he can find the 4th spot, $50,000 would be a fine days work. Supers only and only if you must!
At 20/1, 30/1 and 50/1 are the remainer of this class of 2011 in Mavericking, Le mans, Nehro, Populist Politics and Liondrive! These are all msw winners only or less except Polulist Politics who does own a 2yo stakes win and a recent 2nd showing in the Gentilly Stakes here late last month at 1 1/16. We probably won’t use anyone in this group, but a flyer on Populist Politics in one of your super might work but don’t trust to hope !
So we like Mucho Macho Man, Wilkinson, Machen, Pants on Fire, team-mate Nacho Busniness in a 2fer and Elite Alex mixed up on tri’s and supers.
But for a million dollar race, we had hoped for a deeper field here Saturday!
So it will be a huge day at the Fair Grounds this Saturday and if you put your mind to it you just might have a great day there on Saturday. It should be a “ragin-cajun” day!