New Orleans will be hopping this weekend (as opposed to any other usual weekend in The Big Easy) with the Final Four on Saturday and the NCAA Title Game on Monday. Of course, the intervening Sunday will feature the 99th running of the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. Here is the analysis:
The early speed might very well be put forth by #6 Cigar Street, #9 Comisky's Humor and #12 Hero Of Order. I also happen to think that part of the favored entry, #1a Mark Valeski, will be quite close to whatever pace happens to develop. #3 Windsurfer, #8 Arm Force, and #10 Z Dager will also be in what I think will be the second flight of runners. #7 Shared Property is adding blinkers tonight. #13 Afford will need to overcome the #14 post position to be a factor here, but his running style is such that the post position might not affect him to much. The deep closers in the field appear to be #4 Finnegans Wake, #5 Flashy Sunrise, and #11 Rousing Sermon.
Cigar Street was awesome in his maiden-breaking win at Fair Grounds on March 10, when he posted a field-best Beyer figure of 99. He went to the front, sent relaxed fractions, and widened out to a convincing win by over 13 lengths. I just don't think this race will set up the same way, since there appears to be a good amount of pace. The question becomes who will be the ones to pounce on the pacesetters late and what will the end result become? I think that Cigar Street's inexperience might play a factor against him here and while Mark Valeski is the logical choice after him, the price just won't be there for the entry, so I will be going with another horse that should be in a similar spot with a better price.
THE PICK: #13 Afford (15-1)
Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!