Tipsheet: 2024 Louisiana Derby

March 20th, 2024

A talented field of 12 three-year-olds will go postward at Fair Grounds in the lucrative $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) on Saturday. The top five finishers of the 1 3/16-mile dirt test will earn qualifying points on a 100-50-25-15-10 basis in the 2024 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series event. 

Louisiana Derby Picks

  • #5 Catching Freedom
  • #12 Track Phantom
  • #4 Agate Road
  • #7 Honor Marie

Louisiana Derby Wagers

Louisiana Derby Contenders

#1 TRIPLE ESPRESSO: First of three from the Todd Pletcher shedrow has been steadily improving on the turf and will make his main-track debut on Saturday. This Omaha Beach colt is a wildcard in the contest, but he draws well on the inside to save ground throughout, and the Kentucky-bred has appeal under Luis Saez. 

#2 HALL OF FAME: Steve Asmussen charge tired in the stretch after making a nice middle move in his stakes bow and improvement is likely on this occasion. The $1.4 million son of Gun Runner will be forwardly placed throughout with Ricardo Santana, Jr. in the silks. He might be the one to catch. 

#3 ANTIQUARIAN: Pletcher pupil was a smart maiden winner on the oval in his second lifetime try and takes a major class hike in this spot. The son of Preservationist has displayed good early foot from a pair of races to date and will be in the first or second flight early on with John Velazquez up. 

#4 AGATE ROAD: Grade 2 turf winner gave a fine account of himself on the main strip when rallying to be second in the Sam F. Davis (G3) while making his dirt debut most recently. This $650,000 son of Quality Road has been first or second in all but one career outing to date, and any kind of improvement will make the colt a major presence with Irad Ortiz, Jr. inheriting the ride. 

#5 CATCHING FREEDOM: Top pick has been consistently solid to this stage of his development and seems poised for a breakthrough on Saturday. The $575,000 yearling purchase was a good third in the Risen Star (G2) on the course last time out, and he will appreciate the added ground on this occasion. Flavien Prat picking up the mount is a major bonus. 

#6 AWESOME RUTA: Joseph Foster charge has improved his Brisnet Speed number in three straight, and he performed fairly well when sixth at 223-1 odds in the Risen Star (G2) in his latest venture, but others look much more likely in the field. The son of Mendelssohn will be a contender with a more sensible placement going forward. 

#7 HONOR MARIE: Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) winner closed belatedly for fifth in the Risen Star (G2) off the shelf and will move forward while making his second run of 2024. The Whitworth Beckman pupil is bred for the distance, and I expect him to be moving well and moving into contention late in this one with Ben Curtis taking the reins for the initial time. 

#8 NEXT LEVEL: Keith Desormeaux trainee lacks consistency and will need a huge move forward coming off of an eighth-place result in the Rebel S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park in his latest offering. The son of Vino Rosso would be a major surprise to hit the board in the deep cast. 

#9 REAL MEN VIOLIN: First of two from the Kenny McPeek shedrow never fired in the Risen Star but could surely improve in his second assignment of 2024. The Grade-2 placed chestnut will make one run from well off of the early tempo with Corey Lanerie in the stirrups. 

#10 COMMON DEFENSE: Rebel S. (G2) runner-up ran the best race of his career in his latest performance and will be a top-three contender with even minor improvement on Saturday. This McPeek charge will be rallying from off of the early pace with Brian Hernandez, Jr. in the irons. 

#11 TUSCAN GOLD: Flashy maiden winner from the Chad Brown shedrow ships in from Florida for his third lifetime showing. The son of Medaglia d’Oro has obvious ability, but the $600,000 yearling buy lands in an ambitious spot and will need a big leap forward to challenge this cast in late stretch beneath Tyler Gaffalione

#12 TRACK PHANTOM: Asmussen trainee has bagged the Lecomte S. (G3) and Gun Runner S. at the meeting prior to finishing a good second in the Risen Star (G2). The fleet and consistently good son of Quality Road has never run a bad one in his lifetime, and he will once again be the one to run down at the top of the lane with Joel Rosario in the irons.