Hanson: Louisiana Derby Preview Day stakes spot plays

February 12th, 2021

Weather and track conditions will be the X-factor on Fair Grounds' Louisiana Derby Preview Day card on Saturday. While a wet main track nor a wet turf affects who we're backing in the races listed below, it's uncertain at this writing whether the scheduled turf stakes will be allowed to stay on the grass or not.

Here's who we're zeroing in on in the final three races of the 13-race card.

Race 11 -- Fair Grounds (G3)

Provided this race stays on the turf, #4 DANCETERIA (6-1) checks a lot of boxes for us. From a class perspective, he looks very live based on his European form from 2019. Not only did he score group wins in both Germany and France, but in between finished a respectable fourth at a big price in the Eclipse (G1) at Sandown, headed by the world-class mares Enable and Magical. I'm totally willing to forgive his not translating that Euro form to Australia last year, and his recent U.S. debut at Gulfstream was a most-encouraging start to his first campaign on this side of the Atlantic.

#7 Dontblamerocket (6-1) is another who deserves a look at a price given he's done his best work over this course and his ability to fire fresh.

Race 12 -- Rachel Alexandra (G2)

Morning line favorite #8 Travel Column (2-1) is perhaps the filly we like best over the long term, but for this race we'll go back to #2 SOUPER SENSATIONAL (8-1), who was also our selection in last month's Silverbulletday S. Unexpectedly last most of the way while stuck behind a slow pace, she couldn't quite catch Charlie's Penny, who got first run, but did fine otherwise in her dirt debut. That bit of recency might help facing the Golden Rod (G2) pair of Travel Column and #1 Clairiere, who generally look formidable.

Race 13 -- Risen Star (G2)

#5 SENOR BUSCADOR (6-1) produced one of the more eye-catching performances by a juvenile in 2020 when passing all of his rivals in the Dec. 18 Springboard Mile at Remington Park as if they were standing still. A Mineshaft half-brother to Sunland Derby (G3) winner Runaway Ghost, he could conceivably run all day, and his ability to sustain such a powerful rally from far behind adds to his appeal. Runs without Lasix for the first time here, but on what is forecast to be an unseasonably cool day that might not be as significant issue as it might potentially become down the road.