Newton Anner Stud's Dark Templar has run against solid groups of horses in his past few starts, but will make his stakes debut in the Grade 2 $1 million Louisiana Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com on Saturday afternoon.
In his past three starts, the son of Tapit has faced the likes of G3 Lecomte second-place finisher Principe Guilherme as well as fellow Louisiana Derby entrants Retirement Fund and Lone Sailor, the latter of which he defeated in an allowance optional claiming event over the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots main track on February 19.
“I think he's ready for it,” trainer Brendan Walsh said. “He's a horse that we've had to develop through the winter and I think he's improved as he's run. You can see that through his numbers and it seems that he really likes it here. I think he's a different horse than the one that we brought here in November and he's doing great so we'll see how he does on Saturday.”
Walsh elaborated on how Dark Templar has improved over the winter.
“He was a typical of a Tapit,” Walsh said. “He had to be brought along nice and steady and he's come along the right way and he's gradually gone the right way. I'm confident that he'll run a big race, we'll see if it's good enough.”
While he has yet to earn any points on the Road To The Kentucky Derby, Dark Templar could secure himself a spot in the starting gate in the G1 $ 2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 5 with at least a second-place finish on Saturday, which would earn him 40 points. The race offers the Top 4 finishers points based off of a 100-40-20-10 point scale.
A $475,000 purchase from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2016, Dark Templar is a great-grandson of Champion Personal Ensign.
Florent Geroux will guide Dark Templar, who breaks from post ten at 12-1 odds.
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