2014 Louisiana Derby

Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds

Circular QuayAlong with the Florida Derby at Gulfstream, the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby will kick-off the final leg of the Kentucky Derby Championship. This weekend the Derby points have increased and we are that much closer to this year’s Kentucky Derby. Now winners of these races will receive 100 points towards their chances of entering the Derby instead of 50. If you are unfamiliar with the Kentucky Derby Points System, catch up with all the info and leaderboard here- 2014 Kentucky Derby Points System. The Louisiana Derby was inaugurated in 1894 and has produced some high-profile horses along the way including Black Gold, Grindstone, Risen Star, and Circular Quay. Let’s take a look at this year’s entries and see what we can find in value.

Fair Ground’s Louisiana Derby

Intense HolidayThe $1,000,000 Grade 2 Louisiana Derby is the 11th race on the card at Fair Grounds on Saturday and will feature a field of 10 three year olds traveling 1 1/8 mile. The 2/1 morning line favorite is Intense Holiday. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Mike Smith, Intense Holiday recently won the Grade 2 Risen Star by a nose with an impressive late charge. Prior to that race he had shown some mediocre runs including 4th place finishes in the Nashua and Remsen and a 3rd place finish in the Holy Bull. When it came time for the Risen Star, Intense Holiday went off at 5 to 1 for a nice pay. Was his win a one-time fluke or is he the real deal? Here’s what Starlight managing partner, Jack Wolf has to say about Intense Holiday improving with distance-


“Well, I think that’s what Todd (Pletcher) thinks, and he knows the horse better than I do. So, you know, his last race he seemed to gallop out very well and realize the distance there, and we’ll go a sixteenth of a mile further on Saturday so we’ll see. But you would think from his pedigree and the way he’s handled the two turns so far that he would like the further distances.”

Vicar's In TroubleLooking to give him some “trouble” are Vicar’s In Trouble and In Trouble, both at 4 to 1 on the ML. In case you did a double take and thought that was a typo- it wasn’t. There are actually two horses in the race with similar names. In Trouble won the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont back in September by 2 ¼ lengths and followed that win up with a 3rd place finish in the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct earlier this month, missing the win by ½ of a length. Vicar’s In Trouble won the Grade 3 Le Comte at the Fair Grounds by 6 ¾ lengths and then followed that win with a 3rd place finish in the Risen Star. Of the two, I’m going with Vicar’s In Trouble for the value play here. I believe they are trying to transition him from a front-runner to a stalking/closer which would be beneficial to him in this race. But… if front end speed should hold out here, I’m going with Rise Up for the longshot play at 10 to 1. I believe Rise Up bounced in the Risen Star when he finished 7th and I’m willing to throw that race out. He was really impressive in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot when he won by 6 ½ lengths and I look for him to have another stellar performance here. He’ll also have the blinkers on, so watch out! Good luck everybody!




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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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