Horse Racing: Preview of the 2014 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs

With the Saratoga and Del-Mar meets now officially over, and the Breeders Cup Championships in October/November, we start to fill that about eight week gap this weekend with the $400,000, Grade: 2, 2014 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Saturday. The nine furlong race drew a field of 11 with Vicar’s in Trouble (9-5), Ide be Cool (at an astronomical 15-1) and East Hills (5-1) spearheading the very deep bunch.

Some other key races Saturday include the $100,000 Ack Ack Stakes at Churchill Downs for three year olds and up going a flat mile. Carve, a winner of three in a row and the very talented Flashback, who will be making his first start since the day after Christmas last year, will head up the short field of five.

Also at Churchill on Saturday is the Grade: 2, $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes for two year old fillies going 8 ½ furlongs. The very well bred Take Charge Brandi, who will be hunting her first graded stakes win, will most likely be the post time favorite.

Take Charge Brandi is by Giants Causeway out of Charming (by Seeking The Gold). Charming is a daughter of multiple grade I winner and producer Take Charge Lady, who has produced champion 3-year-old male Will Take Charge and Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy. Also keep an eye on True To You, who was a very impressive, albeit turf, maiden winner in the first and only start in her career.

Arlington Park in Chicago is running the Arlington Washington Futurity ($125,000) and the Arlington Washington Lassie ($100,000) both for two year olds and both at seven furlongs.

Private Prospect, who is 3 for 3 and already a multiple stakes winner looks to be the one to beat in the Futurity, while Sarah Sis, who crushed a field of maidens in her debut (11 lengths), Quality Rocks, who led every step of the way in her quickly run debut while winning by 4 ½ lengths and Susan’s Day, who made a big move at about the 5/16th’s pole to take command and win her debut, all look like they can step up and win the Lassie. That being said, Sarah Sis should go off as the favorite when the gates open.


Saturday September 6, 2014

Louisiana Downs

Race: 11 (5:12pm EST)

Super Derby (Grade: 2)

1 1/8 Miles

For 3 Year Olds

Purse: $400,000


1 Jessica’s Star
ML: 3-1
J. Graham
124 Lbs
M. Stidham L
2 Louies Flower
ML: 30-1
J. Theriot
124 Lbs
W. Calhoun L
3 Ide Be Cool
ML: 15-1
C. Rosier
124 Lbs
H. Dunn L
4 Vicar’s in Trouble
ML: 9-5
R. Napravnik
124 Lbs
M. Maker L
5 Louisiana Flyboy
ML: 10-1
R. Eramia
124 Lbs
P. Mouton L
6 Victory Nor Defeat
ML: 8-1
E. Prado
124 Lbs
R. Nicks L
7 Alamo Heights
ML: 12-1
M. Berry
124 Lbs
D. Pish L
8 Gold Appointment
ML: 20-1
C. Hernandez
124 Lbs
R. Rockwell L
9 Declan’s Fast Cat
ML: 30-1
G. Melancon
124 Lbs
S. Flint L
10 East Hall
ML: 5-1
J. Leyva
124 Lbs
W. Kaplan L
11 Announcement
ML: 12-1
J. Alvarado
124 Lbs
K. Gorder L



1) Jessica’s Star– has been a model of consistency in his career as he sports a 7-4-3-0 record and, on paper, this race looks to set up very well for him.

This hybrid stretch runner/stalker running styled gelding will break from the #1 post. He should be able establish good position early off what looks to be a fast pace and saved all the ground in the world before pouncing down the lane like he normally does.

Pay no mind to his last race (Ohio Derby, July 19) when took command of the race at the quarter pole only to be run down late by East Hall. This horse by Magna Graduate was bumped hard at the break which probably cost him a few lengths yet East Hall only beat him by a head.

The good looking bay also fired four works since the Ohio Derby and I really liked the last two (Aug 23- 5F- 1:00.3 and Aug 30- 5F- :59.4) and beat 9-5 morning line favorite Vicar’s in Trouble the last time they met.

Only problem I see it that jockey James Graham must not get himself into any traffic issues in such a large field (this is the biggest Super Derby field in the last 10 years)…other than that, he looks like he can pulled off a mild upset and win this.



2) Vicars in Trouble– is clearly the best horse in this race, but looks vulnerable to me in this spot.

This speedster is coming into this off a big third place finish to upper echelon three year old Tapiture in the Grade: 2 West Virginia Derby a little over a month ago. He set all the pace but was run down late and lost by just two lengths.

However, while looking thru his past performances, I noticed that he looks to be a “need the lead” to win/run his best race type and I doubt happens on Saturday afternoon with the like of the super speedy Ide Be Cool and possibly Gold Appointment also entered.

When he doesn’t get the early lead, his races are simply not his best.

If this colt by Into Mischief does get the early lead, which I doubt, it looks as though he’ll be hounded all or most of the way around and might be spent late.

I’m also not enamored with the somewhat inconsistent speed figures he posts; some are very impressive while others are pretty good.

I did like that last work (Aug 31-5F- 1:00) …overall, as good as this race sets up for the top pick is as bad as it sets up for this guy and if he’s 9-5 on the morning line, that means he’ll probably go into the gate at 6 or 7 to 5….no thank you….if he beats me, he beats me and I tip my cap to him, but I’m not taking what will probably be close to even money on him by the way this race looks like it’ll unfold.



3) EastHall– is the “in form” closer and looks to be in a similar spot as the top pick…this race seems to set up well for him too.

This chestnut gelding by Graeme Hall snapped a long losing streak when coming from well back to get up in time to win the aforementioned Ohio Derby on July 19.

When looking at his last 4-5 races, he does seem to be getting better with each race starting from back in March.

The only question mark I have is of those last 4-5 races that he’s starting to show improvement in, his two best races of the five were over wet tracks….wondering if that had anything to do with it?


Honorable Mentions:

Between the track odds-maker and I, Ide Be Cool is the Rodney Dangerfield of this race for sure….no respect… I make him an “Honorable Mention” and the track odds-maker lists him at 15-1 on the morning line. This extremely fast colt by Ide is 7 for 8 in his career and with the exception of one or two instances; he’s never been behind at any point in any of those eight races. How do put I him this far down and how does he get listed at 15-1 on the morning line with a 7 wins from 8 starts record? …couple of reasons… I noticed he suffered his first career defeat in his last race that just happened to be his longest to date (1 1/16ths miles). On top of that, he has to go a half a furlong longer than that on Saturday afternoon. Also please note, all seven of those wins came against restricted (Louisiana) state bred foes, so he will be taking a class hike in this race as well. He’ll be among the vanguard early, that much is for sure, but the waters will get deep as they pass the eighth pole….if not before. Victory Nor Defeat is a “from out of nowhere” type late runner who was beaten less than two lengths to the fleet C Zee in July at Gulfstream Park at 6 ½ furlongs before coming from way behind to beat a field of optional claimers in his last at one mile….steps up in class on Saturday but seems to get better as the distances get longer. Don’t mean to sound repetitive but closers look to have a distinct advantage in this race. Announcement is by Tiznow, is unbeaten (2 for 2) and, according to his assistant trainer, is a “late developing colt” who…guess what?…runs late. Steps up in class but all reports I’ve received about him are he is really maturing both physically and mentally. I would consider both Announcement and Victory Nor Defeat as long-shot possibilities.



By: Gerard Apadula

Director of Equine Operations and Development

Knights of the Round Stable Thoroughbred Racing Team 


2014 Record: 18-47 = 38% 



Little Bets N’ Pieces

****Medal Count, who was third in the 2014 Belmont Stakes, will return to the races Saturday in the $250,000 Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs.

The 1 5/16-mile race will be run over the turf course and for the first time in the very short (five day) meet.

Medal Count will be making just his second start on the grass (he won his only try over the turf in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park in January)

On top of the third place finish in the Belmont on June 7, the good looking, Dale Romans trained colt finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes, eighth after a troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby and a non threatening ninth in the Haskell at Monmouth.



**** Exactly how good is Competitive Edge?

Anyone catch the Hopeful on Monday at Saratoga?….I did…in fact I was trackside as he waltzed home almost six lengths clear of the runner up I Spent It with Sharm, a good late closing third in the field of seven.
With John Velazquez aboard, the evidently super talented Competitive Edge, by Super Saver, slowly pulled away from, another major talent, I Spent It (also by Super Saver) inside the quarter pole under a hand ride.

If you recall, in my “Little Bets N’ Pieces” section several weeks ago, I was very impressed with I Spent It when he blew thru a tight hole on the rail in deep startch to win the August 10 Saratoga Special….yet Competative Edge walloped him last Monday

Competitive Edge, a 10 1/4-length maiden debut winner at Saratoga July 26, completed the seven-furlong distance in 1:24 flat over a track labeled good..

“The thing that’s really cool for us is he’s a son of Super Saver, and he’s our Derby winner,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who registered his 999th career stakes win. “To see him getting off to such a great start at stud, to have a Hopeful winner in his first crop, it’s kind of extra special for us having a son of Super Saver do that.

“I think I Spent It is a very good horse as well, as he showed in the Saratoga Special. I’ve had a close eye on him, being a son of Super Saver also, and it’s kind of cool that Super Savers ran 1-2 in the Hopeful.”

“This one has a great talent,” Velazquez said of Competitive Edge, who improved his mark to 2 for 2.

Tony Dutrow, trainer of I Spent It, said his horse “has had behavior problems in the past and was out of sorts in the paddock on Monday also.”
“That wasn’t what I wanted to see, but I didn’t know how he’d react to it,” Dutrow said. “So today (Monday) wasn’t his day for a number of reasons. We’ll work with him and hope for a better day this fall.”

“He freaked in the gate,” I Spent It’s jockey Javier Castellano added. “Everything was wrong for him. He lost his mind. He broke out of the gate and he wanted to run off. He never was on his game today.”

The Champagne (Oct. 4 at Belmont Park) will be our first option, but we’ll talk with the connections and make sure we’re all on the same page,” Pletcher said when asked about where we would likely see Competative Edge next.  


**** Just as a programming note, after making three trips to Saratoga in 5 weeks and logging a total of some 6,500 miles traveled, I will be skipping next weekend’s (Sept 13 and 14) races and will return just in time for the Sept 20 Pennsylvania Derby and the Cotillion Stakes at Parx Park on the same day. The PA Derby marks the return to the races of 2014 dual classic winner California Chrome. TheCotillion Stakes at Parx Park is the next targeted race for leading three year old filly Untapable