Mar 28 2015

Get A Leg Up↑ – Fair Grounds, Louisiana Derby

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UPDATE: Post-Race Recap and Video Replay Added.

The 11th race at Fair Grounds on Saturday is the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, one of the stepping stones for horses bound for the Kentucky Derby. This edition features the return of the top four finishers from the Risen Star Stakes on February 21 over the same dirt course.  In addition to that will be the appearance of Mr. Z, who has already had ten career races, with eight of those in Graded Stakes.

We took a look back at the last seven Louisiana Derbies, and found that five of the seven winners came from post position 6 or under.  Also, we found that six of the last seven winners were either pacesetters or were stalking types that were reasonably close to the pace.  This suggests that horses with an inside post position and some tactical speed might have some advantage.

If you missed our introductory articles on the “Get A Leg Up↑” series, click here to read the Introduction and Overview article. In this article we explain the intention of our series is NOT to make selections, but rather to give horseplayers a head start or as we call it, a “Leg Up” on a race we think is interesting.

Pace Projector and Handicapping Comments

The full Past Performances for this race are available on TimeformUS free of charge. Click on their Pace Projector for this race to create an account or login to an existing account.

Pace Projector (2015-03-28 FG Race 11)

Pace Projector for the 2015 Louisiana Derby

Click here to learn more about the terminology used in the Handicapping Comments that appear below.

Get A Leg Up (2015-03-28 FG Race 11)

We encourage comments and questions from readers, especially if you notice something in the PPs that you think is important that we overlooked. You can leave comments at the bottom of this page. Thank You.

Post-Race Recap

Click here to read the complete race chart on Equibase.

The TFUS Pace Projector did not have #1 being the pacesetter in this race. We explain the reasons why in the Lessons Learned section below. However, it did have #2 and #8 forwardly placed, which they were. And, projections for the remainder of the field were accurate, with the exception of #3 breaking at the back of the pack and not showing his usual tactical speed.

International Star continued his sharp form and proven ability to close strongly at route distances. And, he once again showed the ability to overcome a difficult post position, by dropping near the rail rounding the first turn and then moving up along the rail on the backside to get within striking position, finally swinging out near the top of the stretch and running down a horse that had set moderate pace fractions. He has now won 3 straight Stakes races at Fair Grounds.

Stanford took advantage of his inside post position and struck out for the lead from the start. With only mild pressure from Mr. Z early, he was able to “set the pace through sensible fractions.” He pulled away from everyone but the winner in the stretch, and took a major step forward, losing by only a neck to a more experienced and proven horse.

War Story broke better than he had in recent races, went widest of all on the final turn, yet still was in striking distance at the 1/8 pole. He was simply out finished by the top two in the lane.

As TFUS projected, Keen Ice broke at the back of the field again and was never a threat in the race. His route record continues to be suspect with it now being 5-002.

With the exception of Mr. Z, the rest of the field finished predictably near the back of the pack, with more negatives than positives to overcome. Mr. Z chased the pace on the outside in the early stages and was forwardly place until the far turn, where he fell back without any obvious excuse. The removal of blinkers did not benefit him and his continued struggles at route distances suggest that he might have distance limitations.

Lessons Learned:

The TFUS Pace Projector is based on pace figures from prior races. It does not factor in such items as post position in the current race. As we noted in our comments, the combination of inside post position and speed were favorable in the past seven Louisiana Derbies. Knowing this, it was no surprise that F.Geroux took advantage of his post position #1 and placed Stanford on the lead.

Another limitation of the Pace Projector is that it can only make projections based on historical information from prior races. A lightly raced horse like Stanford (4 career starts) might have the capability to run faster than his PPs show. When you factor in the early speed he showed in his last race with his recent bullet workout, Stanford going to the lead was quite predictable.

The lesson learned from this race is to utilize the Pace Projector as a good starting point, but make your own adjustments knowing the limitations that it possesses.


Video Race Replay

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By Neal Benoit

5 comments on “Get A Leg Up↑ – Fair Grounds, Louisiana Derby

  1. It looks to me like Mr Z will be very tough, but it bothers me that he keeps having different riders every race. I am hoping Desormeaux has been working him, without the blinkers, and Z is going to have someone who sticks with him and settles him down. War Story is the other one that I think is very dangerous. On the improve and will enjoy the added distance. Talamo has to see this as his Derby ride chance. I’ll be boxing those two in the exacta.

    • Regarding War Story, it sounds like that was the plan for the owners in putting Talamo on the horse. They were likely going to lose Desormeaux for the Ky Derby, so they wanted to lock someone in that could follow through to the Derby.
      Good luck on your exacta play!

      • Thanks. Long day tomorrow. Doors open at Horsemen’s at 7:30 a.m. for Dubai and we are hosting a handicapping contest on Gulfstream plus 4 stakes races from the Fairgrounds. And it is the last day to replace horses in the Road to the Derby Contest I am doing. So it will be a crazy and fun day.



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