Saturday’s $1 million TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) starts the final round of major prep races for the 2019 Kentucky Derby. One of seven races awarding points on a 100-40-20-10 scale in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the Louisiana Derby drew a field of 11 including War of Will, who will attempt to become the third horse to sweep the Fair Grounds Triple this century after capturing the Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) at the New Orleans track. Todd Pletcher leads all trainer with four wins in the centerpiece event and ships a top contender in Spinoff, who will make his first appearance in a qualifier after romping by 11 lengths in a Tampa Bay Downs allowance. Sueno and Bankit, the runner-up and fifth-placer from the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park, add further intrigue. And the four horses who finished immediately behind War of Will in the Risen Star – Country HouseRoilandHog Creek HustleLimonite – will also return for the 1 1/8-mile Louisiana Derby. Before we analyze the BRIS Speed ratings for this year’s field, let’s take a look at the numbers for the previous 10 winners. Here are the last two BRIS Speed ratings entering the race:

Horse BRIS Speed
Noble Indy 96
95
Girvin 98
86
Gun Runner 97
92
International Star 97
94
Vicar’s in Trouble 92
88
Revolutionary 96
103
Hero of Order 94
94
Pants on Fire 89
92
Mission Impazible 96
102
Friesan Fire 100
97
Analysis: The last four winners, and six of the last seven, posted BRIS Speed ratings in the mid-to-upper 90s in the final prep. Pants on Fire (89) and Vicar’s in Trouble (92) did not run fast and Friesan Fire (100) recorded the lone triple-digit figure in the last prep. The last five winners brought improving numbers into the race. Revolutionary and Mission Impazible recorded triple-digit Speed ratings in the penultimate start and Hero of Order paired up. Pants on Fire (92-89) shows the only disappointing pattern. Here are the last two BRIS Speed ratings for this year’s field (listed in post position order):
Horse BRIS Speed
ROILAND 91
83
LEMNISCATE 84
94
LIMONITE 87
92
SUENO 93
87
BY MY STANDARDS 90
80
WAR OF WILL 96
94
MR. MONEY 86
92
COUNTRY HOUSE 93
91
BANKIT 88
85
SPINOFF 93
89
HOG CREEK HUSTLE 89
90
Analysis: War of Will easily tops the field with a 96 BRIS Speed rating from the February 16 Risen Star, three points better than the next-best figure. He’s clearly the one to beat from a Speed rating perspective. Country House, Sueno and Spinoff all earned a 93, the only other contestants to post a last-out number in the mid-90s. By My Standards (80-90) and Roiland (83-91) are in the vicinity with improving numbers. Improvement is needed for Bankit (88), Hog Creek Hustle (89), Lemniscate (84), Limonite (87) and Mr. Money (86) to challenge.