By Richard Rosenblatt
The $1 million Louisiana Derby (G1), the first really big race on the road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) as it’s the first offering 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers, drew a field of 14 and two also-eligibles on Saturday.
Modernist, winner of the second division of the Risen Star (G2) on Feb. 15, and Enforceable, winner of the Lecomte (G3) and runner-up to Mr. Monomoy in the first division of the Risen Star, are among the top 3-year-olds in the field for the March 21 race at the Fair Grounds.
With an oversubscribed field for the 1 3-16th-mile race, scratches would be needed before race day for also-eligibles to get into the starting gate.
Ten of the entries already have Derby qualifying points topped by Modernist, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, with 50 (fourth place on the leaderboard), and Enforceable, trained by Mark Casse, with 33 (sixth place).
Others with Derby points entered are Major Fed (20), Silver State (14), Ny Traffic (10), Mailman Money (5), Farmington Road (5), Wells Bayou (4), Royal Act (4), and Portos (2).
Also entered are Chestertown, Social Afleet, Shake Some Action, Sharecropper, Lynn’s Map and Mr. Big News.
Of the entire field, only Modernist has a Derby berth all but locked up so finishing in the top 3 is a must for others to qualify or remain in contention.
Enforceable, who drew the No. 10 post, is the 7-2 morning-line favorite. Silver State and Modernist are the 6-1 co-second choices. Silver State, third in the first division-Risen Star for trainer Steve Asmussen, drew the No. 13 post; Modernist the No. 14 post.
The Fair Grounds has become quite the popular track for Derby prospects as the Risen Star drew so much interest it was split into divisions of 11 and 12 starters.
Last year, By My Standards won the Louisiana Derby and went on to finish 11th in the Kentucky Derby. Country House, trained by Mott, finished fourth in the race, then went on to become the official Kentucky Derby winner after first-place finisher Maximum Security was disqualified for interference (Country House had finished second).
Following the Derby, Casse won the next two Triple Crown races, the Preakness (G1) with War of Will (ninth in the Louisiana Derby) and the Belmont Stakes (G1) with Sir Winston.
After the Louisiana Derby there are eight more Derby preps remaining, with six of them offering qualifying points of 100-40-20-10.
The Louisiana Derby, the centerpiece of an eight-stakes race card, will be contested without spectators as racing around the globe responds to health concerns about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).