As late as last week there were only a few horses committed to run in Saturday’s Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fairgrounds Park, but as it turns out the race attracted a large field of 13 three year olds including morning line favorite Mucho Macho Man. Putting a million dollars on the table tends to have that effect.
Mucho Macho Man was installed as a 9-5 morning line favorite over a field of three year olds looking to make the jump into ‘serious contender’ status for the Kentucky Derby, Belmont and Preakness Stakes. Mucho Macho Man got off to a tough start in his three year old campaign, getting bumped and finishing 4th in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Santa Anita. He took the blinkers off for his next start and responded with a resounding victory in February 19th Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fairgrounds Park.
Mucho Macho Man is trained by Kathy Ritvo and will once again be under the command of jockey Rajiv Maragh. Maragh was an emergency replacement who got his assignment the day before the Risen Star after regular jockey, Eibar Coa, was seriously injured in an accident at Gulfstream Park. Mucho Macho Man will start from the #5 post position.
The rest of the field is comprised of three year olds with potential, but that haven’t done much to establish themselves as legit Triple Crown contenders. Also scheduled for the Louisiana Derby is Machen, who finished fourth in the Risen Star Stakes. Machen was installed as the second choice on the morning line at 7-2. Edgar Prado will make his debut aboard Machen in the race. Trainer Neil Howard also has another entry in the field–Lecomte Stakes winner Wilkinson with Garrett Gomez aboard. Elite Alex–scratched from Saturday’s Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park–will also compete in the Louisiana Derby despite a bad post draw (12) for jockey Calvin Borel. Other horses in the field are Nacho Business, Pants on Fire, Nehro, Mavericking, Liondrive, Majestic Harbor, Le Mans, Left, and Populist Politics.
The Louisiana Derby will be contested over 1 1/8 mile on the dirt track at Fairgrounds Park and will be the 10th race on Saturday’s card with a scheduled post time of 2:55 PM Pacific. There will be three other graded stakes races on the card–the Fair Grounds Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, the Mervin H. Munoz Jr. Memorial Handicap on turf, and the New Orleans Handicap for older horses.