West vs South in the Louisiana Derby – Recap & Cashes! – Super Screener
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West vs South in the Louisiana Derby – Recap & Cashes!

Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Louisiana Derby (G2)

It was West meets South and West won, convincingly. Hot Rod Charlie shipped in from California and readily took care of this field initially pressing then going to the front for good drawing away by two lengths. He tracked solid fractions resulting in releasing 90+ BRIS Pace/Speed Rating figures throughout the Preakness Stakes distance of 9.5 furlongs. This bodes well for getting the 10 furlongs he’ll navigate in the Kentucky Derby as he now trains up to that race. His ability to sit off the pace or press, depending on the pace set up, is a very strong advantage coming into the Derby as that has been the winning Energy Distribution Profile over these past several years. Form Cycle Analysis projects that he will establish a new top next out with a BRIS Speed Rating figure of something around 101.

Hot Rod Charlie narrowly lost to Bob Baffert’s Medina Spirit in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and, prior to that race, finished a close-up second to Essential Quality in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. So, with Life is Good out of the Kentucky Derby, Hot Rod Charlie, Medina Spirit and Essential Quality are all firmly among the top five Kentucky Derby contenders.

The Super Screener faded Mandaloun and Proxy in favor of Hot Rod Charlie and Midnight Bourbon, who ran a very credible race in his own right and he’ll only get better with more ground. Of the locals, the Super Screener was very confident that he was the best of the favored trio.  

O Besos was the lone Super Screener Top Long Shot pick and he closed strongly for third at odds of nearly 30-1… he, too, has room to move forward.

The Louisiana Derby kicked off the final round of Kentucky Derby preps with the highly-anticipated Florida Derby coming up next weekend in which Greatest Honour will face off against Bob Baffert-trained Spielberg.  
For the first time, the Jeff Ruby Steaks, run at Turfway Park on the Tapeta surface, will offer 100 Kentucky Derby points assuring a spot in the Kentucky Derby gate to the winner and possibly the 2nd place finisher of that race.

TOP VALUE/TOP LONG SHOT PICKS HIGHLIGHTS

Many of the Super Screener Top Win and Top Long shot picks were scratched from among the 7 Fair Grounds Stakes races on Saturday’s card.  That included Grand Luwegee who was looming large in Race 8 – The Costa Rising Stakes, before being withdrawn. With his exit, that left X Clown as not only the lone Super Screener Top Long Shot pick in the race but a Top Win pick as well.

#5 X Clown (12-1) — Watch out for this lightly raced, improving 4-year old that owns more upside potential that any of the other horses running here. In his two turf starts against several that are competing here, he had legitimate excuses in those up-close 3rd place finishes especially in that last race. In that heat, Graham tried to take him through a hole on the inside about mid-stretch but the opening closed and he was forced to hit the brakes on this gelding and lose all momentum.  To the horse’s credit, he was able to get back into stride rather quickly but not in time to pass the two rivals in front of him. With a clean trip here he could take all the marbles and do so at a highly favorable price.

He came through with a huge race losing the win by just a head at the wire at odds of 16-1. No Parole’s debut on turf wasn’t all that bad but he clearly struggled with the tighter turns. He’ll head back to dirt now as more dirt sprint stakes races become available over the summer.   

The spotlight turns back to Gulfstream Park this Saturday with the G1 Florida Derby as the headliner. It will be supported by a strong undercard of stakes races offering plenty of value opportunities. It’s a big day at Turfway Park, as previously mentioned, with the 100 Derby Points on the line in the Jeff Ruby Steaks. That race will also be surrounded by some deep and contentious Stakes fields on the card. And, it only gets better the following weekend with the Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass Stakes and Wood Memorial all in play for a massive Kentucky Derby preps weekend. 

Until this coming weekend…Go Fast and Win! 

Mike