Fair Grounds race track is the epicenter of high stakes horse racing this Saturday with four races with prize money of at least $300,000 on the card. The Louisiana Derby is a seven-figure race with $1 million on the line.
The four graded stakes races include:
Fair Grounds Race 10 - $400,000 NEW ORLEANS HANDICAP GRADE II
Fair Grounds Race 11 - $300,000 MUNIZ MEMORIAL HANDICAP GRADE II
Fair Grounds Race 12 - $1,000,000 LOUISIANA DERBY GRADE II
WAR OF WILL has the opportunity to add 100 more points to his lead in the road to the 2019 Kentucky Derby in the Louisiana Derby. WAR OF WILL tops the Derby leaderboard with 60 total qualifying points and will be a lock to make the 2019 Kentucky Derby if he finishes in the top three in the Louisiana Derby. The Mark Casse trained three-year-old will also look for a Graded Stakes three peat at the New Orleans track.
On January 19, 2019, he won the Grade III LeComte Stakes. Running four wide early on, WAR OF WILL ran off the heels of the early leaders, MALPAIS and MANNY WAH. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione made his move coming out of the turn and pulled away in the stretch, winning by a commanding 4 lengths.
A little less than a month later, WAR OF WILL returned to the Fair Grounds main track in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes on February 16, 2019. He squared off with 13 other competitors and went off as the even money favorite.
He did not disappoint!
WAR OF WILL popped out of the gates with a quick first step, running second at the quarter and half-mile markers behind front runner GUN IT. Once again, Gaffalione asked WAR OF WILL to make his move in the far turn and took the lead for good by the 3/4 mile-marker, winning by 2 1/4 lengths.
WAR OF WILL will face off with 10 other three-year-olds in the Louisiana Derby, running 1 1/8th-miles on dirt. The winner will receive 100 qualifying points for the 2019 Kentucky Derby. Second place earns 40 points, 20 points for third and 10 points for fourth.
Last year, 29 points qualified for 20th place and a ticket to run for the roses. Finishing third in the Louisiana Derby could be enough to get into this year's race for horses with at least nine points.
Besides WAR OF WILL, seven horses have some qualifying points and could make Churchill Downs reservations for the first Saturday in May with a place or show finish. Of course, the winner is a lock to run for the Roses.
COUNTRY HOUSE (PP: 8 ML 9/2) Kentucky Derby Points: 20
ROILAND (PP: 1 ML 12-1) Kentucky Derby Points: 10
SUENO (PP: 4 ML 8-1) Kentucky Derby Points: 8
BANKIT (PP: 9 ML 20-1) Kentucky Derby Points: 4
HOG CREEK HUSTLE (PP: 11 ML 12-1) Kentucky Derby Points: 4
MR. MONEY (PP: 7 ML 20-1) Kentucky Derby Points: 2
LIMONITE (PP: 3 ML 20-1) Kentucky Derby Points: 2
They way our handicapper sees it, expect WAR OF WILL to be a major contender with the possibility of a couple longshots adding their names to the 2019 Kentucky Derby pool. Here are the remarks for the Louisiana Derby from our Pro-Subscribers bonus commentary.
"WAR OF WILL will be looking to make it three Graded Stakes wins in a row at Fair Grounds and 100 points to his 2019 Kentucky Derby leading total. BANKIT will be closing hard late and his back-class says he can contend, so we'll take a 20- shot. SPINOFF won his last by 11 lengths after a six-month break. Big efforts are usually followed by another big effort. SUENO has never finished off the board in five career starts (5: 2-2-1)."