Louisiana Downs has carded seven stakes for its Saturday card, with the $200,000 Super Derby taking center stage.
Six have been entered in the Super Derby, which for the first time will be run on the turf going 1 1/16 miles. The race had been conducted as a Grade 2 until downgraded to a Grade 3 contest for the 2016 edition, and goes here without any graded status at all.
Gorgeous Kitten will be looking to add a first stakes victory to his resume when lining up in this spot for trainer Mike Maker. The Kitten’s Joy colt has been unplaced just twice in his career while posting runner-up efforts recently in the American Derby (G2) and Arlington Classic (G3). Colby Hernandez has the call on the bay sophomore, who enters the Super Derby off a fifth in the Secretariat Stakes (G1) on August 12.
Mr. Misunderstood and Fast Talkin Man were one-two, respectively, in the August 5 local prep, the Super Derby Prelude, and return for the main event. The duo were separated by 2 1/2 lengths in that contest, and Mr. Misunderstood got back to his winning ways after seeing a three-race win streak snapped when finishing seventh in the Illinois Derby (G3) while making his stakes bow.
Fast Talking Man hasn’t been a stranger to stakes company since February, when he ran third in the Texas Heritage Stakes. The Oratory gelding made a couple of starts on the main track, with a third in the Stymie division of the Texas Stallion Stakes his best finish, before returning to the turf last out in the Super Derby Prelude.
Fast Talkin Man drew the rail post under Luis Quinonez for trainer Danny Pish while Mr. Misunderstood goes under Chris Rosier for conditioner Brad Cox from post 4.
Sonneteer finally broke his maiden last out in his 13th try while attempting turf for the first time. The Keith Desormeaux pupil took part in the Triple Crown trail over the spring, finishing second in the Rebel Stakes (G2) and fourth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) to earn a shot at the Kentucky Derby (G1). He was a well-beaten 16th on that day and just returned in his second try after the Run for the Roses to score on July 23 over Del Mar’s turf. Gerard Melancon has the call.
Phat Man returns to the grass here after spending his last five races on the main track. The Munnings gelding recorded his first stakes victory in the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 8 before filling the sixth spot in the West Virginia Derby (G3) last out on August 5. Roberto Morales will be in the saddle for the first time on the Joe Sharp charge.
Flying Honeypot, who will be trying grass and stakes company for the first time in the Super Derby Prelude, completes the field.
Two-year-olds will get their turn in the spotlight earlier on Louisiana Downs’ Saturday card in the Sunday Silence Stakes and Happy Ticket Stakes. Each race is worth $60,000 and is contested at a mile on the turf, making them good preps for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Del Mar on November 3.
The Sunday Silence for colts, geldings and ridglings is up first and features nine runners. Sitting Bull is the 5-2 morning-line favorite off a three-length maiden victory at Lone Star Park on July 29. The only runners with prior stakes experience are Drewcitable, Smokin’ Truth and Roaring Star Fire. Those three were the respective second, third and fourth-place runners in the Louisiana Cup Juvenile Stakes on August 5 over the main track.
Three races later, an overflow field of 13 fillies has been entered in the Happy Ticket, with Lady O’Toole headlining the group off an Indiana Grand allowance score on July 26. The Colonel John filly, listed as the 5-2 favorite on the morning line, was fifth in the Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 30 and makes her turf debut here.
Older runners will go in a quartet of stakes, two at 1 1/16 miles on the turf and another pair sprinting five grassy furlongs.
The two $60,000 routes, the Unbridled Stakes and River Cities Stakes, attracted fields of nine and six, respectively. Big Changes is the 4-5 morning-line favorite in the Unbridled Stakes following a nice victory in the John Henry Stakes over course and distance on August 5. In the River Cities Stakes, last-out Opelousas Stakes winner Sister Blues, favored at 4-5 on the morning line, takes on recent Louisiana Cup Distaff heroine Illusionofreality, who is riding a four-race win streak.
The pair of $50,000 sprints, the Need for Speed Stakes and Tellike Stakes, drew nine runners each.