The fields are set for Louisiana Cup Day at Harrah's Louisiana Downs on Saturday, August 3. First post is 3:15 pm (Central) for the all-stakes card which will feature six stakes for accredited Louisiana-breds as well as the $60,000 Super Derby Prelude.
The Prelude for 3-year-olds will be contested at the distance of a mile and one-sixteenth on the main track. Leading the seven-horse field for the Prelude is Roy W. Cobb's homebred Mr Money Bags who began his year with three consecutive wins, including back-to-back stakes scores at Sam Houston Race Park.
The son of Silver City out of the Miss Photogenic mare was Triple Crown nominated by his connections, trainer Mike Neatherlin and Cobb, who teamed up with multiple graded stakes colt Kip Deville over a decade ago. The Oklahoma-bred won the 2007 Breeders' Cup Mile, earning over $3.3 million in his career.
Following his front-running scores in the Texas Stallion Stakes and Groovy Stakes at Sam Houston, Neatherlin shipped Mr Money Bags to Prairie Meadows, where he ran sixth in the $250,000 Iowa Derby.
“This horse likes to run on the front end and wins most of his races that way,” said Neatherlin. “In the Iowa Derby, he stumbled out of the gate and got into trouble from there.”
Mr Money Bags will be ridden by Texas-based jockey Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez on Saturday, breaking from post position three as the 8-5 morning line choice.
“Ernesto really fits the horse and our draw is pretty much perfect,” added Neatherlin.
Rotation, a colt by Tapit, bred and owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, will make ship in for conditioner Steve Asmussen. Stakes placed at Sunland Park, Rotation broke his maiden on May 4 at Churchill Downs and exits a $75,000 allowance there on June 1. Richard Eramia has the call and will break from the far outside post for the Hall of Fame trainer, who won last year's Super Derby with Limation.
Blessed Again, the lone filly in the stakes, is the second-highest earner in the field, with four starts at Oaklawn Park before competing in two stakes for owner Glynn A. Puryear, Jr. Trained by John Henry Prather, Jr., the daughter of Paynter exits an eighth-place finish in the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks last month at Indiana Downs. She will be ridden by Joel Dominguez, who is currently the second leading rider at Louisiana Downs.
As reported by Mary Rampellini of the Daily Racing Form, Leader of Men, a half-brother to Hoppertunity, will make his stakes debut in the Prelude. Owned by Walpole Racing LLC, Leader of Men, the gelded son of War Front has won his last three races. Each of the victories have come at Louisiana Downs, beginning with his maiden-breaking score on May 6. Bred in Kentucky, Leader of Men is trained by Jodie Hodges and will be ridden by Hector Del-Cid.
“He was a May foal and basically, he's just a big kid,” said Hodges. “His brain is finally catching up with his body, but has done everything we've asked of him. He's ready!”
The Super Derby Prelude, the sixth race of the card, runs at 5:35 pm (CT). The complete field, in post position order, with riders is: Leader of Men, Hector Del-Cid; Blessed Again, Joel Dominguez; Mr Money Bags, Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez; Trevilion, Diego Saenz; Fredonian, Carlos Lozada; Paynt Battle, Thomas Pompell and Rotation, Richard Eramia.
The winner as well as the second, third and fourth-place finishers, will receive a fees-paid berth to the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby on Saturday, September 7, which is the richest race of the 2019 Louisiana Downs racing season.
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