The $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) tops a big day of racing at Fair Grounds on Saturday. A total of eight black-type races are on the slate, with four of those being of the graded variety. My focus will be on bets in the big events.
Race 9 – New Orleans Classic (G2)
An excellent field of nine will travel 1 1/8 miles in a challenging handicapping assignment. I am not in love with the morning-line price on #6 Silver Dust (2-1), but the consistently very good gelding is my top pick, nonetheless.
One of two major players in the field for Calhoun, the son of Tapit loves Fair Grounds and he has already picked up a pair of graded wins at the meeting. Kentucky-bred has superb form and could improve in his third run off the shelf.
Race 10 – Muniz Memorial Classic (G2)
A baker’s dozen will go postward in the 9-furlong grassy endeavor. #4 Rockemperor (10-1) makes his seasonal debut with Joel Rosario in the controls and I am siding with the 4-year-old.
The European import was a closing third in the Belmont Derby (G1) in his U.S. debut and he shows a long string of morning drills in preparation of his seasonal bow. Trainer Chad Brown is superb off the layoff, and I am confident that the Holy Roman Emperor colt will fire in this spot at a nice number.
Race 11 – Fair Grounds Oaks (G2)
The fantastic #6 Finite (3-5) is the obvious one to beat for Asmussen, and she is expected to get a perfect trip from her outside draw. Munnings filly will be especially tough to upend with a top performance.
But #3 Tempers Rising (9-2) was close to her in the Silverbulletday S. two back, and she has upset potential on Saturday. Dallas Stewart pupil possesses a stout turn of foot, and the filly expects to have a clean voyage throughout in the compact field.
Race 12 – Louisiana Derby (G2)
A great betting race with a bevy of legitimate contenders will travel 1 3/16 miles on the main strip. I didn’t like #14 Modernist (6-1) all that much when he took a division of the Risen Star (G2) last time out, but I will be backing him on Saturday.
The Bill Mott charge is perfect from a pair of tries going two turns, and he enters the feature with a trio of bullet morning drills. Uncle Mo colt has the running style to receive a sensible trip while avoiding traffic from the outside.