July 18, 2024

Wells Bayou returns in competitive Louisiana spot

Wells Bayou wins the 107th running of the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds. (c) Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges Jr.

Louisiana Stakes (G3) — Race 10 (5:23 p.m. ET)

Wells Bayou, the star of the 2020 Louisiana Derby (G2), will make a long-awaited return to action in the $125,000 Louisiana Stakes (G3), one of several undercard fixtures for older horses on Saturday’s “Road to Derby Kickoff Day” program at Fair Grounds.

Wire-to-wire winner of the Louisiana Derby for trainer Brad Cox, Wells Bayou contested a division of the Arkansas Derby (G1) last May but left the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail soon after his fifth-place finish at Oaklawn due to reported bone bruising. The son of Lookin at Lucky has dangerous speed, but faces a salty group that includes several who arguably possess edges in fitness.

Among these are Sonneman, a solid second to Maxfield in the Tenacious S. on Dec. 19 for Steve Asmussen, who also saddles Silver Prospector. Although an inconsistent stakes performer, Silver Prospector did edge Wells Bayou in the Southwest (G3) last spring and can threaten on his best form.

Blackberry Wine enters off a strong first-level allowance score locally, his second official win but fourth time first across the wire. Title Ready gets a much needed drop in class after finishing up the track in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Clark (G1), while multiple Grade 3 winner My Boy Jack makes his second start back from a 13-month layoff.

$125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes

My Boy Jack is also cross-entered in the $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile turf fixture that’s also attracted Logical Myth, who edged Sailing Solo and Spectacular Gem in the Buddy Diliberto Memorial last month. Graded veteran Maraud has sufficient back class to contend as well.

$100,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial

The $100,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial, for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, features a rematch of the top four finishers from last month’s Blushing K.D. S. — Dalika, Curlin’s Journey, Secret Message, and Kuora — while the $100,000 Duncan F. Kenner S. at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf has attracted Archidust and Just Might, the top two from the Dec. 19 Richard Scherer Memorial.