Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Grade 2 Super Derby

The 30th running the of the Grade 2 $750,000 Super Derby will be held Saturday at Louisiana Downs. It features a very competitive field of seven horses including the U.A.E. Derby winner, the West Virginia Derby winner, and the top three finishers from the Prelude Stakes run at Louisiana Downs on August 15.

I am going to take #3 Massone, the Ron McAnally trainee as the winner of the Super Derby. He might be the best value of the field, even at a short price like 4-1. The biggest downfall of his resume' is his lack of experience on a straight dirt track. He scored a win in a turf race at Del Mar last time out with Optional Claiming company on August 16. Garrett Gomez has two wins and two thirds in four starts aboard this colt. Massone's running style might also be suited to the way this race is going to set up. There appears to be some decent speed in the field and Massone might sit just off the pace enough to run past some of the tiring pacesetters in the stretch.

Next will be #4 Regal Ransom, who has not been to the races since running 8th in the Kentucky Derby on May 2. He was part of the pace in that race and should be again today. His last work on September 14 at Belmont Park was a swift five furlongs in 59.2 seconds. He might have been the top pick here, but I wonder about his stamina after such a long racing layoff. The other knock I have against him is jockey Richard Migliore, who anyone that knows me will attest is not one of my favorites.

I will put the morning-line choice, #2 Soul Warrior, next in third place. The West Virginia Derby winner benefited from a wacky pace to that race and split horses well to run down speedster Big Drama and hold off closer Mine That Bird. His Sire is notorious speedster, Lion Heart. The trainer-jockey combo of Steve Asmussen and John Velazquez is as strong as possible here. Since he is the morning-line favorite, it wouldn't be a surprise if he wins, but I will look elsewhere.

To wrap up the top four, I will use the winner of the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga, #5 Blame. That Curlin Stakes victory came at today's distance of 1 1/8 miles. He posted a bullet workout over the polytrack at Keeneland on September 13. Trainer Al Stall Jr. is winning at Louisiana Downs at a 26% clip this meeting. By the way, this horse is undefeated (3 for 3) with jockey Jamie Theriot III in the saddle.

Here is the play for Super Derby XXX:

$1 EX BOX 2-3-4-5 and $1 TRI 3-4 with 3-4 with ALL
TOTAL- $22

Remember, They Are Off takes no responsibility for any wagers made in conjunction with these thoughts. There will be no post on Friday. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

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