RECAP: Louisiana Derby Day Insights & Cashes! - Super Screener
Super Screener

RECAP: Louisiana Derby Day Insights & Cashes!

Photo: Hodges Photography

Louisiana Derby (G2)

While we now have several months to go before they line up in the Kentucky Derby gate, the Louisiana Derby (G2) took on a bit less urgency but with a $1 million purse on the line and a full field of 14, it was clearly the highlight of the day.

The Super Screener was very bullish on Wells Bayou due to the tremendous pace advantage he possessed over this field. He leveraged that advantage, fully, getting to a clear lone lead and dispensing energy in the ideal balanced way just as he had done in his prior two route races. Here’s what the Super Screener had to say about this “A” horse prior to the race:

Those that are forwardly-placed are doing well on this surface routing. Despite the overflow field, the pace set up projects to be quite soft and with just modest pressure. Couldn’t set up any better for #3 Wells Bayou from the Brad Cox barn who will strike to the front from that inside draw reserving all kinds of energy in the process. Added ground won’t be a problem as he is bred to handle the Derby distance and in those last two races he knocked out those 92+ BRIS Pace and Speed Rating figures throughout. Will control this pace here and gets to run much, much slower than he did in all of his previous races. Very strong win contender.

During our Saturday webcast, we broke down Wells Bayou’s PP’s to get under why this was such a conviction pick.

Once those blinkers came off, this was a different horse.  Note how elevated and balanced this horse’s BRIS Pace/Speed Rating figures were in those prior two races. Considering the Super Screener projected Pace figures for the Louisiana Derby to be 1st Call = 89 and 2nd Call with 94, Wells Bayou was able to throttle way back in the Louisiana from what he was posting in those prior races, allowing him to reserve an abundance of energy for that stretch drive. Also, note in the blue bracket those lofty sire/dam Averaging Winning Distance numbers. Any time you see a horse with a pair of 7.5’s and a balanced Energy Distribution Profile, that signals classic distance running ability. 

The running line for Wells Bayou coming out of the Louisiana Derby was as follows:

1st Call = 93; 2nd Call = 95; Late Pace = 94; Final Speed Rating = 98

And, the balanced distribution of energy continued here at this longer distance. The pace numbers even came in a bit higher than projected but easier than what was doled out in the prior two races. Of course, you can post faster fractions when you are relaxed on a lone lead on a surface that has been very kind to the forwardly placed. Interesting new player on the Derby Trail that has both speed and balance which has been a key asset for winners of the last 5 Kentucky Derby editions.

Costa Rising Stakes

It’s great when a plan comes together. One of the Super Screener’s top pressers in the race, Monte Man, won avenging his loss to Win Lion Win in this race last year. He pressed the very honest pace set by Letithappencarlos, who got in via the late scratch, to add some pace to this race. That created a bit more pace pressure, and it paved the way for a 2nd place finish for our Top Long Shot pick, Grand Luwegee who completed the juicy $200 Exacta at unbelievable odds of 45-1.

#10 Grand Luwegee is very intriguing as a huge long shot bomber with a chance to hit the bottom of the Exotics. He has just one turf sprint race to his credit and the BRIS Speed Rating came back a weak 77, however that was his debut race from way back in Dec. 2017 and in line with his ability at that time. In fact, he followed that debut race with a sharp 2nd place finish going 7.5 furlongs on the lawn and hasn’t seen turf since. Is a much better horse now and has developed more speed as well…viable big-priced threat.

During our Saturday webcast, we showed how the investigative handicapping, that is a vital part of the Super Screener process (no stone goes unturned), unearthed this gem.

Note that this horse’s very first career start was a strong 2nd place finish going 5/5 furlongs on this turf course in which he broke slow, ducked in and then finished with a flourish to grab 2nd place as a long shot. Almost identical to how he finished 2nd in this race but with a higher number to reflect the fact this horse has certainly improved since that debut start. We also picked up on a potential repeating pattern of a good race followed by a regression followed by a top performance…all coming off a long layoff. We projected that this pattern would repeat here and it did.

We were rewarded for this extra effort as the suggested $6 Exacta wager featuring Monte Man on top and Grand Luwegee in 2nd paid nearly $600. 

Top rated horses, In the Navy and Afleet Ascent, lost all shot with horrible trips. In these short sprints, there is no opportunity to recover from any kind of trouble.

New Orleans Classic

By My Standards delivered as promised and is emerging as a very potent player in the Handicap division. Here’s what the Super Screener had to say about this come-back horse prior to the race:

Nothing wrong at all with #8 By My Standards. Really can’t find any significant knocks.  Moves forward 2nd off the 8-month layoff. Continues to fire off brilliant works. Is 5 for 5 in the Trifecta at Fair Grounds.

What also worked quite well in this race was the 3rd and 4th place finishes of our Top Long Shot picks, Chess Chief and Tenfold, respectively. Unfortunately, Chess Chief was tiring badly in the stretch and lugged in interfering with a couple of horses here including the odds-on favorite, Fearless, who was completely wrangled back and knocked off stride while making a rail move losing all chance. Never the less, that moved up our other Top Long Shot player to 3rd and while the suggested Trifecta ticket would have paid much more if the results stood, we’ll take the nearly $300 payoff on the $.50 ticket. 

Trainer Dallas Stewart is infamous for his Fair Grounds-based long-shot bombers (e.g. Golden Soul and Commanding Curve finishing 2nd in the Kentucky Derby in 2013 and 2014, respectively, at odds of 30-1+). #4 Chess Chief fits that profile, perfectly, though we’ll be lucky to get 10-1 odds here. This 4 yr-old colt does his best running on this surface and he sports a strong late turn of foot so he can overcome modest pace set ups. He is getting really good at the right time so the step up against tougher is of no concern. One of the few value plays with a shot at the Exacta in here. Use liberally in your wagers. #5 Tenfold is the stablemate to the pace leader here, #9 Gun It. This closer has some turn of foot so just an honest pace will be all he needs to impact here. Not much of a win threat but he faces so much easier here and the big price will more than offset the risk.  One to use and possibly single on the bottom of Exotic wagers.

Mervin Muniz Memorial (G2)

Two of the Super Screener’s top picks in this race, Dot Matrix, and the huge long shot, Secretary at War lost the race at the start pulling off the same stunt…heads were turned when the gate opened resulting in spotting their rivals several lengths before even getting into stride with Dot Matrix getting the worst of the compromised pair.  So, that left Factor This on a lone lead and off he goes. However, what were the excuses for Instilled Regard and Channel Maker?…absolutely none which just tells you how weak this division is. That’s good news for us as we can expect a long line of longshots hitting the board in these types of races all year long.

Tom Benson Memorial Stakes

This was a rather orderly finish as the result materialized pretty much as expected with a Super Screener “A” horse taking the top prize and the two “B” horses comprising the rest of the Exacta/Trifecta. This predictable finish led to a couple of Super Screener suggested wagers firing for close to $400.

With Gulfstream Park still in play, all eyes turn to the next point-producing Kentucky Derby prep race in the G1 Florida Derby (featuring a reduced purse). That race is supported by a card featuring several other stakes races which will give us plenty of races to choose from to line up a solid day of wagering opportunity. If we need to, we can tap into a robust line up of stakes action at Tampa Bay the next day given their salty Sunday card. 

As we, together, navigate through these uncharted waters, I have found at least one silver lining in all of is and that is since I am not commuting and working from home it has yielded more handicapping time!  Most importantly, hope you are all playing it safe and finding some time to enjoy our favorite sport, which thankfully, provides us all with a welcomed distraction. 

Go Fast, Stay Safe and Win!