News and STORIES
Fair Grounds Super Saturday
Author: Ryan Knuppel
Published: Thursday March 18, 2021
Saturday in Louisiana, 14 races, highlighted by the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, culminate the Four Grounds meet. Included in the 14 race card are:
- 5 maiden special weight races
- 4 Graded Stakes including:
- Grade 2 $400K New Orleans Handicap
- Grade 2 $300K Muniz Memorial Classic (turf)
- Grade 2 $400K Fair Grounds Oaks
- Grade 2 $1M Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby
- 3 State Bred Stakes
- 1 Allowance
- 1 Overnight Stake
Some of the best jockeys from all over the country will ride, including:
- Florent Geroux (Oaklawn)
- Jose Ortiz (Gulfstream)
- Irad Ortiz Jr (Gulfstream)
- Joel Rosario (Santa Anita)
- Luis Saez (Gulfstream)
- John Velazquez (Gulfstream)
Race Card Overview
Start of the early pick 5, The Crescent City Oaks, $100K for LA bred 3-year-olds. Six fillies are entered, but all eyes with be on Australasia, the 3 for 3 filly has won each of her starts by a combines 21 lengths and should be odds on or better against this group. An outsider to watch is John Velazquez’s Tecate Time. If JRV remains on the mount on race day, she could be in with a shot at a price.
Maiden Special Weight for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 mile. Seven colts vie for their first win in what appears to be a wide-open race. Steve Asmussen trains Alejandro and first-time starter Road Bible, each triple crown nominated.
State-bred Maiden Special Weight for Louisiana Bred 3-year-olds sprinting. Twelve colts are will race, seeking their first win. Look for an un-started horse to run well in this race.
Entry-level allowance on turf for older fillies. These races tend to surprise bettors, and I would expect this race to be no different. I like Mike Maker and Peter’s Kitten, but don’t let Chris Block’s Fate factor beat you. Chris Block is a very underrated trainer, especially on turf. He hasn’t had the best luck this meet, but he knows what he is doing. FF could surprise at a price.
Maiden Special Weight for 3-year-old colts sprinting. Nine horse vie for their first win. Several horses are in have a chance, including second-time starters Koolhaus, Abdan, and Continental Coins, all ran behind Wild for Wycliff last out but should improve. Mr. Sippi, not seen since last September at Kentucky Downs, picks up Irad Ortiz and is a live contender. Great betting race to wrap up the early pick five.
Maiden special weight for colts going 1 mile on the turf. Plenty of contenders running, including my top selection Global Empire. He was an off-the-turf second last out favorite who retains a top-flight jock and has a great post position. Look for Weather Prayer to run better with a better jockey aboard.
Maiden special weight for 3-year-old fillies sprinting. A wide-open betting race should yield plenty of contenders. Clayborne Farm Symptom and Coffeepot Stables Rookery highlight the sophomore starters. Beware of Only Kidding, the Into Mischief colt is getting the best jockey in town as well as a favorable outside post position. Also, note Bold Confection turning back in distance after showing early speed in his sprinting debut.
Louisiana State bred stake sprinting on turf. No Parole will try turf for the first time and will most likely be favored. Ron Faucheux will saddle 3 others, Bertie’s galaxy, Fame Feather and Afleet Ascent, to tackle the No Parole.
The Crescent City Derby for 3-year-old Louisiana Breds. 13 Challengers view for the Louisiana crown. I like Who Took The Money, who is lightly raced and should improve off his 2 open-length wins.
Tom Benson Memorial, $150K Stake for fillies and mares on turf. Stick with the New York Riders in this one, and you should advance in multi-race wagers. I like Winning Envelope at a price.
Grade 2 New Orleans handicap for 4-year old+ colts. Owendale appears to be the one to beat and is getting a major relief in class.
The Grade 2 Muniz Memorial Classic, 300K on turf, features 12 contenders. Olympic Runner comes over from Gulfstream as well as Todd Pletchers’ Colonel Liam, fresh off his Pegasus win in January. These two figures to be head and shoulders above the rest.
The Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks for 400K. Several invaders vie for Kentucky Oaks points featuring top contenders Obligatory and Zaajel, both coming from Gulfstream Park. The Ortiz brothers seem to be getting all of the attention early in the card, and I don’t see that changing here.
The TwinSpires.com Fair Grounds Derby. 100 points and immediate qualification into the Kentucky Derby is on the line for an abbreviated field versus previous years. Mandaloun leads a field of 8 with several interesting contenders. Leandro Mora brings in Hot Rod Charlie from the west coast and maiden winner Run Classic appears to be on the improve. This race appears on paper to be a coronation of Mandaloun, but the FG Derby has produced outsiders in the past.
It should be a fun day at the Fair Grounds if the weather cooperates. Cash your tickets early and often as the chalk appears to be formidable in the ladder stakes races.