Louisiana Derby (Fair Grounds) Predictions, Odds & Picks
If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Proxy (7/2)
Post Position and Odds – Louisiana Derby
Check out our predictions and odds for the 2021 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds!
|L Saez||D Stewart|
|C J Hernandez||S Wilson|
|B J Hernandez Jr||W B Calhoun|
|J R Velazquez||M Stidham|
|5||HOT ROD CHARLIE||5/2|
|J Rosario||L Mora|
|F Geroux||B Cox|
|J Talamo||S Asmussen|
|M Pedroza||G Foley|
Best Bets for the Louisiana Derby
Here are my plays ($58 in total)
$5 Exacta box – Proxy and Mandaloun = $10
$2 Trifecta part wheel – Proxy and Mandaloun over Proxy and Mandaloun over ‘All’ = $24
$2 Trifecta part wheel – Proxy and Mandaloun over ‘All’ over Proxy and Mandaloun = $24
Led by Mandaloun, a good-looking winner of the Grade 2 Risen Star in his most recent start, a solid field of eight 3-year-olds with Kentucky Derby aspirations will face off in the $1 million Louisiana Derby on Saturday at Fair Grounds.
A popular 1 ¼-length winner five weeks ago over several he will see again on Saturday, Mandaloun will be looking for his fourth victory in only five career starts. Trained by Brad Cox, the highly regarded son of Into Mischief will once again have Florent Geroux in the saddle as he looks to make it two in a row at Fair Grounds and get one step closer to the first Saturday in May.
Chief among his rivals include the two colts who made him work for the victory in the Risen Star. Proxy was a late-running second, while Midnight Bourbon, the winner of the Grade 3 Lecomte in January, finished third. The Louisiana Derby will be the third straight race where these two and Mandaloun face each other.
Another who must be given major consideration is Hot Rod Charlie. The son of Oxbow is based in California, but the last time he shipped east he ran a bang-up race to be runner-up in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. This will be his second start this year after a narrow defeat in the San Felipe at his home base.
Contested at 1 3/16-miles, Saturday’s Grade 2 Louisiana Derby is the longest of all major Kentucky Derby preps. It will carry qualifying points for the run for the roses on a scale of 100-40-20-10.
How to Watch the Louisiana Derby
|Louisiana Derby Information|
|What||Louisiana Derby (Grade 2)|
|When||Saturday, March 20 — 5:44 pm Central time|
|How to Watch||TVG|
A winner of both of his starts at 2, the son of Into Mischief disappointed when third as the heavy favorite in the Lecomte in his 3-year-old debut, but came right back to win nicely in the Risen Star. Trainer Brad Cox outfitted the promising colt with blinkers for the first time in that win and they seemed to help with focus throughout the 9 furlong race. Now a winner of a 3-of-4 lifetime, he figures to go off the favorite for the fifth consecutive time as he faces five horses he just beat in the last race. With good tactical speed, a top rider that knows him well, experience over the track, and the look of a colt who still has room for improvement, he is a deserving favorite in the Louisiana Derby. It’s not a big margin, though, over a few others, so if the odds are too low, it might be worth a shot to try and beat him as he stretches out to 1 3/16-miles.
Hot Rod Charlie
There are only two horses in this Louisiana Derby who did not compete in the Risen Star, and this is the one that figures to get most of the betting support. A game second as a big longshot behind champion Essential Quality in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the son of Oxbow came back with a solid effort when third, beaten only a neck, last time in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita. It was a strong performance, but the two horses he battled down the lane with that afternoon proved no match for Life Is Good in the recent San Felipe. From a class standpoint, he certainly fits with these, but he needs to prove he can handle the extra eighth of a mile on Saturday as he runs at Fair Grounds for the first time.
This son of Tapit chased in vain in both the Lecomte and the Risen Star at Fair Grounds; will the third time be the charm? It just might be. Bred to be both a good one and to like the added distance, he has been the most consistent 3-year-old on the grounds this winter at Fair Grounds for trainer Mike Stidham, as he beat maidens and then allowance competition in his two starts before the stakes attempts. Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez will be aboard for the second straight time, and he also adds blinkers on Saturday. The Godolphin homebred finished well to be second in the last two, this time I believe he can get the job done late with the added distance. He is a tepid top pick to pull off a minor upset over Mandaloun.
The front-running winner of the Lecomte was not respected next time when let go at odds of 5.6/1 in the Risen Star. The bettors knew what they were doing, as he was game, but was only third-best behind Mandaloun and Proxy. He’s consistent and should once again be on or near the lead, but I don’t like his chances to turn the tables of the last loss. There could be a little more speed to contend with this time, plus the added distance is not likely to help his chances. He seems like a horse that can cash plenty of checks around the country, but he’s not for me in the Louisiana Derby.
The other horse not coming out of the Risen Star, this son of Runhappy has looked good in two starts against the maiden company, finishing a sharp second in a 6-furlong sprint, before easily accounting for a Risen Star undercard race at 8 ½ furlongs. He looks like a talented colt for trainer Bret Calhoun, who upset the Louisiana Derby a couple of years ago with By My Standards. Still, with only two races under his belt, plus the 1 3/16-mile trip on Saturday, it seems like a lot to ask of a colt, who might be better at middle distances anyway. I do like his potential, and maybe he shows that on Saturday, but I have to like a few others better.
This son of Orb finished fourth in the Risen Star as a longshot last time after running only in sprints in his first three starts. All in all, it wasn’t a poor effort, but he will certainly need to improve to challenge the top guns. His best chance here will be to come from last if the pace is hot. He already has two rallying wins at Fair Grounds for trainer Greg Foley, so if he can take a step forward after his initial two-turn attempt, perhaps he can pick up some of the pieces at big odds on Saturday.
Another longshot who has two wins this meeting at Fair Grounds faded out of the picture after setting the pace in the Risen Star. With that experience under his belt, perhaps he can improve in his second try against graded stakes competition. He certainly is bred to appreciate the added distance he will see on Saturday. I am not going to predict it, but his best chance will be if the others ignore him for too long on the lead.
A sharp winner of a maiden sprint at Churchill Downs in September, he came back to gamely get the win in a sloppy allowance race going 8 ½ furlongs at the same track. Unfortunately for the then-undefeated Super Saver colt, everything seemed to go wrong for him in the Risen Star and he finished up the track. With a better break and better control early, there is hope he can run much better on Saturday, but it will need to be a complete turnaround to seriously compete with these. The rider switch to Luis Saez is a plus for the colt likely to be the longest shot on the board.
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Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
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