War of Will looks to sweep the Kentucky Derby prep races at Fair Grounds on Saturday, taking on 10 foes in the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2).
The Mark Casse trainee won the LeComte (G3) by four lengths and followed that win up with a victory in the Risen Star (G2) on Feb. 16 by 2 ¼ lengths.
The colt comes into the race with 60 Road to the Kentucky Derby points, more than enough to assure a starting spot in the gate on the first Saturday of May. The Louisiana Derby is the first worth a total of 170 points, with 100 going to the winner.
The last Kentucky Derby winner to prep in the Louisiana Derby was Funny Cide back in 2003. Louisiana Derby alumni have run well in recent years in the Run for the Roses.
Gun Runner was third in 2016, Commanding Curve was the runner up in 2014, Golden Soul was second in 2013 and Revolutionary was third. In 2011 Nehro ran second and Mucho Macho Man was third.
Risen Star Replay
Five foes War of Will beat in the Risen Star are back looking to turn the tables. Among them is Country House. The Bill Mott trainee was off a beat slow and came with a good late run to finish in the runner up spot. The colt is 9-2 on the morning line.
Roiland rallied to be third in the Risen Star at odds of 69-1, beaten 3 ¾ lengths. He draws the rail for trainer Tom Amoss and is 12-1 on the morning line.
Among the new shooters is the Todd Pletcher trained Spinoff (8-1). Third in the Saratoga Special (G2) last August, the colt came off the bench to beat Alw-1 foes by 11 ¾ lengths at Tampa Bay Downs in his return.
Sueno (8-1) also makes his first start over the Fair Grounds main track. The Keith Desormeaux trained colt was second in the Sham (G3) at Santa Anita and then the runner up in the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park in his last start.
The colt has just eight Road to the Kentucky Derby points leaving him in 28th place in the standings. A runner up finish and 40 points should get him in and a third picking up 20 points likely would put him right around the cutoff point.
Let’s head out to New Orleans for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Fair Grounds Race 13 The Louisiana Derby (G2) Post time 5:13 CT)
10 Spinoff 8-1
4 Sueno 8-1
8 Country House 9-2
6 War of Will 6-5
Trainer Todd Pletcher usually has a barn full of Derby contenders at this time of year and this year it is rather sparse. Spinoff could jump up and give hi a shot on the first Saturday of May. The colt showed some ability with a smart looking maiden win in his debut last June at Gulfstream Park. He then prompted the early pace and weakened to finish third in the Saratoga Special (G2) before hitting the bench. Is return was solid, a 11 ¾ length romp against Alw-1 optional claimers at Tampa Bay Downs. The runner up in that race as Cave Run, who had previously run third in the Pasco. The fifth-place finisher Mercusio had run second in the Inaugural. The colt has come back with a couple of good drills and this guy is quick. He earned solid early and mid pace numbers last out and there is not a ton of early speed signed up to go in here. Pletcher won this raced last year with Noble Indy who was making his fourth career start. It was Pletcher’s fourth win in this race. The colt should move forward second off the bench and appears to still have plenty of upside.
The Keith Desormeaux trainee stalked the early pace and finished gamely in a runner up finish in the Southwest last out at Oaklawn Park. The third-place finisher in that race was Long Range Toddy, who returned last Saturday to win one of the divisions of the Rebel (G2). Two back Sueno stalked the early pace and finished up when while drifting in late to finish in the runner up in the Sham. The third-place finisher Much Better came out of the race to beat Alw-1 foes and then run fourth in the Gotham (G3). The winner Gunmetal Gray was second in the Robert B. Lewis (G3) and fourth in the Rebel. His speed figs have moved forward in each outing and it looks as if he should be able to handle the extra ground here.
This colt made his stakes debut in the Risen Star (G2) here and after getting off a beat slow and being outrun early he came with a good late run while lugging in, finishing 2 ¼ lengths behind the winner War of Will. The Bill Mott trainee certainly looks as if he can move forward off that effort with a better start. He has enough pedigree to handle nine furlongs. He is by Lookin At Lucky out of a War Chant mare that has dropped two other winners including stakes winner Mitchell Road ($154,570) who won the Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes here on Feb. 16.