Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 9/6/13
In this weekend’s Horse Racing Race of the Week we get a change in venue as we will be taking a closer look at the 2013 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La. where top flight three year Departing, who has been installed at the even money favorite on the morning line, will spearhead a field of seven. First run in 1980, the Super Derby has certainly had its share of good horses win it. Temperance Hill won the inaugural running and also a sloppy tracked Belmont Stakes that year (at 53-1), Derby winner Sunny’s Halo (1983), “America’s Horse” Alysheba (1987), eventual super sire and the ornery Seeking the Gold (1988), Horse of the Year Sunday Silence (1989), Tiznow, who ran (and won) the two gamest Breeders Cup Classics I’ve ever seen (2000), and the enormous Ten Most Wanted (2003) are all on the list of past winners. More recent winners include Prayer for Relief (2011) and Bourbon Courage (2012). Other than the Super Derby two other notable races being run this weekend include the $250,000 Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park (which opens for their Fall Championship Series) on Saturday. The Shug McGaughey trained Boisterous looks like the one to beat in the 10 furlong event on the turf. Also this weekend (kind of…..the race is on Monday), 2012 Female Sprint Champion Groupie Doll will make her second start of the year in the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs for 3 year olds and up fillies and mares. If you recall, The now five year old mare only made her first start of the year in the August 10 Gardenia Stakes, where she did finish well thru the stretch to end up third, but she just didn’t have the same explosiveness she demonstrated last year. I’m not sure at this point if she a) needed the race because it had been her first start since the Nov 3 Breeders Cup last year or b) perhaps she lost a step in her transition from 4 year old year to 5 year old year. Monday’s race will help us get a better feel for that. Groupie Doll’s main foe looks to be Judy the Beauty, who is listed as the 5/2 second choice on the morning line in the field of 11. Judy the Beauty has never been worse than second in now 10 career outings plus she 3 for 3 over the polytrack.   Louisiana Downs – Saturday, September 7, 2013 Race 11 – 5:15 PM     Super Derby (Grade: 2) Purse $500,000 For Three Year Olds One And One Eighth Miles P# PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1 Bashaar 3/C L C Hill 124 D C Peitz 7/2 2 2 Holiday Mischief 3/G L M C Berry 124 J S Offolter 10/1 3 3 Runaway Stephen 3/C L C R Rosier 124 J M Foster 20/1 4 4 Treasury Bill 3/C L R E Eramia 124 W M Catalano 10/1 5 5 Ruler of Love 3/C L S Spieth 124 J Scott 6/1 6 6 Cameo Appearance 3/C L P A Valenzuela 124 W M Catalano 8/1 7 7 Departing 3/G L R Albarado 124 A M Stall, Jr. 1/1   Analysis: 1) Departing- this very handsome bay gelding is clearly the best horse in this race based on his 5 for 7 career record (4 for 6 in 2013) and by the fact that he’s really only run one bad race in his entire career. This guy first caught my attention as a quality animal way back on March 2 in the Texas Heritage Stakes at Sam Houston Racetrack. In that race, he laid back just off the early pace, assumed command at the quarter pole, dropped his head slightly, leveled out beautifully and motored home an almost three length winner. From there, he raced very well to be third, beaten less than four lengths to Revolutionary in the (March 30) Louisiana Derby after an extremely bad (wide) trip most of the way around. Three weeks after the Louisiana Derby was probably his second best race to date. In the April 20 Illinois Derby, this Al Stall Jr. trained runner found himself ninth and some 10 lengths off the early lead. But at about the three eighths pole, he launched an enormous 4 wide run to the lead and cruised home a 3 1/2 length winner. He was then (rightfully so) entered in the Preakness and although making a strong middle move, he tired late and checked in sixth, beaten 10 lengths by Oxbow. “He didn’t run his race in the Preakness,” Stall Jr. said. “The track was very deep that day and he didn’t have that seasoning to go a mile and three sixteenths on a track that was lengths off par against those kind of horses. Oxbow had run like 12 or 13 times, the second-place horse had run a bunch, so had the third-place horse, and Departing had run like five times”. “He just got absolutely exhausted, but that race sure helped get him fit for the second part of the year. I gave him a little breather, might have been 2-3 weeks from the race (Preakness) until his first breeze back.” It looks like Stall Jr. was certainly right about “helping him get fit” because his next race (which was his last one), he ran the best race of his life when he demolished his foes in the West Virginia Derby by, once again, laying off the early pace and unleashing a huge run on the turn to take the lead by 3, before galloping home an almost nine length winner. It appears he’s come out of the WV Derby in great shape as well as he shows three subsequent half mile works including a brisk :47.3 about a week and a half ago. “He came out of the West Virginia Derby really well, he’s trained great, he’s acted like a horse that’s improved from that race,” Stall Jr. added. “That’s exciting. He showed us the same thing coming out of the Preakness to the West Virginia Derby, which turned out well.” He drew the extreme outside post for this race and that will definitely help him too. “Better when you’re the hunted to be a little clear,” Stall Jr. replied when asked about the #7 post position “Looks like the two speed horses are directly to his inside, so he certainly should be able to get over a couple paths and find a good stride.” Lastly, when I looked back over his past performances I couldn’t help but to notice that those two career defeats came in the hands of Oxbow and Revolutionary…he meets no such rival on Saturday afternoon and that, readers, seals the deal for me. Down the road here and, on paper, it looks as though he should win by a pole.   2) Bashaar- is another stretch runner and looks to be Departing’s main rival based on his last three races. Back on June 1, he finished a good second in the Prairie Meadows Mile.  He then came back exactly 3 weeks later (after a bad start) to make up 10 ½ lengths late and finished a fast closing third in the Iowa Derby (also at Prairie Meadows). Those two races were evidence enough for his connections to enter him in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga almost a month after the Iowa Derby and I’ll tell you what, he wasn’t embarrassed in that race. I mean he finished fourth beaten a little over eight lengths to three elite three year olds (Palace Malice, Belmont Stakes winner, Will Take Charge, eventual Travers winner and the hickory tough speedster Moreno) He comes into this with a string of good works, including a bullet five furlong move (1:00 flat) and looks best of the rest.   3) Holiday Mischief- at first glance, I wasn’t very impressed with this gelding’s 3 for 11 lifetime record. However, after taking “a closer look”, I noticed two things. One, he won his prep race for this (The $100,000 Prelude Stakes), recorded a career high speed figure in the process, all while establishing the fact he likes the surface.   Two, he was the one who finished second to Departing in the aforementioned Texas Heritage Stakes, which makes me think he does have some “back class”.   Honorable Mention: Runaway Stephen got up to grab the show position (from seventh early on) after stumbling at the start and being forced to go five wide on the turn of his last race (where he was beaten 6 ¾ lengths by Holiday Mischief) in a sneaky good performance. Gray colt by the good looking Stephen Got Even shows 4 of 5 career starts on the board including two big come from behind wins. I’m thinking he may outrun those  20-1 morning line odds with a clean break and a better trip….long-shot possibility?   Record: 16-43 = 37% To receive an email each time a new Horse Racing article is published, fill out the Email Notification Form     Little Bets N’ Pieces **** On a  personal note (and in case anyone cares),  yours truly has part ownership in a gray colt making his racing debut in today’s (Friday) sixth race at Calder Race Course. Evening Survivor (#3), trained by Bill White, will be going 5 ½ furlongs and will be piloted by Jeffery Sanchez. He is listed at the 3-1 second choice on the morning line.   Evening Survivor, shown here on the farm on July 6, makes his racing debut for “us” today.   **** Jockey Joel Rosario, the country’s leading rider by wins and total purses (with 236 victories and $16,668,665) continues to recover from injury and is on target for a return to riding around the first week in October, agent Ron Anderson said this past week. Rosario, who fractured left foot in a fall at Saratoga Race Course on Aug 28, had a recast last week in New York after an exam by Dr. Rick Alfred, an orthopedist. “They didn’t want to do any surgery, they just recast it,” Anderson said. “He’s not in any pain; he was off pain meds a couple days after it happened.” Anderson said Rosario is scheduled to spend time in the Dominican Republic with his family as the fracture heals. “We’re looking at the first week in October (for a comeback) and we haven’t heard anything different at this point,” Anderson said. “He’s young, he should heal fast.”     Leading rider Joel Rosario is scheduled to return to action in about a month   **** Thoroughbred Racing will return to The Meadowlands this fall when the New Jersey track hosts the first of 10 days of all turf racing beginning Oct. 11. The short Thoroughbred meet will feature six races per card and calls for live racing on Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 2, with Monday cards Oct. 14 and Oct. 28.  Post time will be 2:15 p.m. EST. Always good to see Thoroughbred racing returning to racetracks as opposed to the other way around. The Meadowlands in New Jersey, which is known for Harness Racing, is bringing back Thoroughbreds in a limted capacity   **** ….Annnnnnnd finally a couple of things in the occasional “This has nothing to do with Horse Racing Section” I saw NBA veteran Lamar Odom checked himself into a drug and alcohol rehab center this past week…Good for him….I wish him God speed in his recovery and I don’t blame him one bit for his problems. I mean, after all, isn’t he married to a Kardashian? Lastly, I saw a poll yesterday that asked people “On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rank yourself in a sexual capacity”?…..in other words, how good are you in bed? Almost half (44%) rank themselves as an 8, 9 or 10. Wow….really?…I better get busy, before I saw the results, I circled “2”.  Thanks for Reading…..   Lamar Odom

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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