Louisiana Derby

Road to the Kentucky Derby > Louisiana Derby

Louisiana Derby Race Facts

  • Location: Fair Grounds Race Course, New Orleans
  • Inaugural Race: 1894
  • Current Distance: 1 3/16 miles
  • Track Type: Left-Handed Dirt
  • Age Qualifications: Three-year-olds
  • Status: Grade 2
  • 2024 Purse: $1,000,000
  • 2024 Race Date: Saturday, March 23rd

The Louisiana Stakes is a Road to the Kentucky prep-race held each year at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Winners of the contest are awarded 100-50-25-15-10 points.

2024 Louisiana Derby Race Results

Catching Freedom
Flavien Prat / Brad H. Cox
$8.60 / $4.40 / $3.20
Honor Marie
Ben Curtis / D. Whitworth Beckman
$6.40 / $4.40
Tuscan Gold
Tyler Gaffalione / Chad C. Brown
Track Phantom
Joel Rosario / Steven M. Asmussen
Common Defense
Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr. / Kenneth G. McPeek
John R. Velazquez / Todd A. Pletcher
Agate Road
Irad Ortiz, Jr. / Todd A. Pletcher
Next Level
Jose Riquelme / J. Keith Desormeaux
Awesome Ruta
Mitchell Murrill / Joseph M. Foster
Hall of Fame
Ricardo Santana, Jr. / Steven M. Asmussen

Exotic Payoffs:

  • $1 Exacta (5-7) Paid: $39.10
  • $0.50 Trifecta (5-7-11) Paid: $178.95
  • $0.10 Superfecta (5-7-11-12) Paid: $138.97

Watch the 2024 Louisiana Derby

The History of the Louisiana Derby

The Louisiana Derby is a Grade II prep race along the Road to the Kentucky Derby. It is annually hosted at Fair Grounds Race Track and currently offers a sizeable purse of $1 million dollars. Typically run in late March, the Louisiana Derby also provides the top-five finishers 100-50-25-15-10 derby points for entry in to the first leg of the Triple Crown. This remains one of the longest running and storied competitions in the history of American Thoroughbred racing.

The very first running of the race was held at Crescent City Race Course in 1894, but the race was named the Crescent City Derby. The race was officially moved to the Fair Grounds and rebranded as the Louisiana Derby. The only other track to host the Louisiana Derby is Jefferson Park, who held that honor for eleven years from 1920 through 1931.

Weather and outstanding circumstances have forced cancellations for the race. In 2006, the race was cancelled due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. There was also a period where the race was not allowed to run from 1909 through 1919 because racing was illegal in the state of Louisiana.

The current distance of the race is 1 3/16th miles. At its original distance of 1 1/8th miles, Clev Er Tell established the speed record in 1977, clocking a time of 1:42.60. From 1988 through 2009, the Louisiana Derby was run at a distance of 1 1/16th mile with Crypto Star achieved the speed record over that distance at 1:42.60 in 1997. In 2010, the race returned to its original 1 1/8th mile distance but in 2020 the race was extended to 1 3/16th miles. At this length Epicenter has so far turned in the best time of 1:54.38, doing so in 2022.

Only two winners from the race have won the Kentucky Derby. Black and Gold was the first to accomplish this feat, having done so in 1924. The most recent horse to accomplish this feat was Grindstone, who did so in 1996. Another famous Louisiana Derby winner is Risen Star, who would go on to win the 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes as well. Master Derby, winner of the 1975 Preakness Stakes, also scored in the Louisiana Derby.

Two winners went on to take the Preakness Stakes: Master Derby (1975) and Risen Star (1988), who also won the Belmont Stakes. The best recent winner was Gun Runner (2016), who went on to finish third in the Kentucky Derby before a great 4-year-old campaign that culminated with victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The best guide for punters is the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds the previous month. Four notable winners – Girvin, Gun Runner, and International Star and Noble Indy – all won the Risen Star Stakes, while others to complete the double include Friesan Fire (2009), Pyro (2008), and Repent (2002) and Epicenter (2022).

Louisiana Derby Past Winners

Jockey / Trainer
Dist. (Miles) / Time
Catching Freedom
Flavien Prat / Brad H. Cox
Sample Data
Flavien Prat / Todd A. Pletcher
​1 3⁄16 M / 1:57.33
Joel Rosario / Steven M. Asmussen
​1 3⁄16 M / 1:54.38
Hot Rod Charlie
Joel Rosario / Leandro Mora
​1 3⁄16 M / 1:55.06
Wells Bayou
Florent Geroux / Brad H. Cox
​1 3⁄16 M / 1:56.47
By My Standards
Gabriel Saez / W. Bret Calhoun
​1 1⁄8 M / 1:49.53
Noble Indy
John R. Velazquez / Todd Pletcher
​1 1⁄8 M / 1:50.28
Brian Hernandez Jr. / Joe Sharp
​1 1⁄8 M / 1:49.77
Gun Runner
Florent Geroux / Steve Asmussen
​1 1⁄8 M / 1:51.06
International Star
Miguel Mena / Michael Maker
​1 1⁄8 M / 1:50.67