The draw took place Tuesday for Super Derby Day at Harrah's Louisiana Downs on Saturday, Sept. 9. The program will get underway at 12:00 pm (Central) for the 13-race card which will feature seven turf stakes, highlighted by the running of the $200,000 Super Derby. The richest race of the 2017 Thoroughbred season is written for 3-year-olds going a mile and one-sixteenth on the Franks Turf Course.
Flurry Racing Stable LLC's Mr. Misunderstood was the winner of the $60,000 Super Derby Prelude on Aug. 5. That victory gave the gelded son of Archarcharch, who is undefeated in each of his four turf starts, a berth into the Super Derby. Trained by Brad Cox, the Kentucky-bred will break from post position four under jockey Chris Rosier at odds of 9-5.
“We were hoping to draw either the four or five hole, so it worked out well,” said owner Staton Flurry. “It's an interesting race, for sure, but Brad and I have confidence in our horse on the turf. Hopefully, he will run as well on Saturday as he did in the Prelude.”
Flurry and Rosier are close friends, so even though Rosier departed Louisiana to ride at Remington Park, he will be back aboard the dark brown gelding on Saturday afternoon.
“We never even talked about another rider,” added Flurry. “Chris rode him so well here, there would be no reason to take him off Mr. Misunderstood.”
Trainer Mike Maker will ship Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey's homebred Gorgeous Kitten, who drew post position two with Colby Hernandez in the irons. The colt by Kitten's Joy will be making his seventh turf start with three recent graded stakes appearances at Arlington Park. He ran second in both the Grade 3, Arlington Classic and American Derby before stepping up to the Grade 1, $400,000 Secretariat on August 12. Gorgeous Kitten ran fifth to Oscar Performance in that stakes and will make his Louisiana Downs debut at odds of 5-2. Maker and the Ramseys won the 2014 edition of the Super Derby with Vicar's in Trouble when it was a main-track mile and one-eighth graded stake.
Another strong contender making his Louisiana Downs debut is Sonneteer. Bred and owned by Calumet Farms, the son of Midnight Lute has faced tough company in California and had a solid meet at Oaklawn Park, capped by a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1, Arkansas Derby on April 15. He followed that with a start in the Grade 1, Kentucky Derby before returning to California. Trained by J. Keith Desormeaux, Sonneteer won his turf debut on July 23 at Del Mar, closing from off the pace to score by a nose. Veteran Louisiana-based rider Gerard Melancon has the call on the Sonneteer, the highest earner in the field with $323,685 bankrolled to date.
Brad Grady's Phat Man will ship in from Kentucky in search of his first victory on the turf. Sired by Munnings, Phat Man will return to action following a run in the Grade 3, West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer last month. Trainer Joe Sharp has given the mount to Roberto Morales and looks for his runner to make an impact in the Super Derby.
“His dam (Nicole's Dream) is a grade 2 winner on the grass,” said Sharp. “We ran him in the Texas Heritage Stakes on the turf at Sam Houston earlier this year and he never picked up his feet, but we wanted to give him another chance. Of course, I wouldn't be upset if it rained and it came off the turf!”
Fast Talkin Man, a Texas-bred son of Oratory, trained by Danny Pish, ran second to Mr. Misunderstood in the Prelude under rider Luis Quinonez. He broke from the rail in the Prelude and drew the far inside post again for the Super Derby. Pish was pleased with his effort here on August 5, but is hoping for a different pace scenario on Saturday; one that will set up well for the big closing kick on Fast Talkin Man.
“This horse is a deep closer and the fractions did not set him up in the Prelude,” said Pish. “He always comes home like a monster.”
The field from the rail with jockeys: Fast Talkin Man, Luis Quinonez; Gorgeous Kitten, Colby Hernandez; Flying Honeypot, Carlos L. Marquez; Mr. Misunderstood, Chris Rosier; Sonneteer, Gerard Melancon; and Phat Man, Roberto Morales.
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