If Todd Pletcher has his way Saturday, he just might be humming a few bars of My Old Kentucky Home if Discreetly Mine and Mission Impazible finish one, two in the $750,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) at the Fair Grounds. Pletcher also has Connemara and Doubles Partner (who I like a lot) entered in the Lanes End (G2) at Turfway Park.
Pletcher already has Rule and Aikenite going to the Kentucky Derby. Discreetly Mine also has enough graded earnings to enter the Derby starting gate. The addition of Mission Impazible, Connemara and Doubles Partner to the lineup would definitely sweeten the Derby pie.
The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky Home. …
One thing is certain, with time running out to get the graded earnings necessary to enter the Derby starting gate, at least 10, maybe 11 of the 13 owners with horses entered in the Louisiana Derby will be singing the blues in “The Big Easy” shortly after the race.
This Louisiana Derby does not appear to the the strongest field and I believe that there are several horses that could win.
Discreetly Mine, the lukewarm 7-2 morning line favorite, comes into the Louisiana Derby with a gate-to-wire win in the Risen Star (G2) but he probably will not have as easy a trip this time with the addition of A Little Warm (4-1) and Wow Wow Wow (30-1) who most likely will challenge him for the lead.
I probably will pass on Discreetly Mine. Most of his wins have been in sprint races and his winning time in the Risen Star was a slow 1:44.88. However, I do like Mission Impazible (8-1) as one of my long shot picks.
Mission Impazible comes into the race with a fourth-place finish in the 8-furlong Southwest Stakes (G3) and 1-1-1 record in four starts. So far, one mile is the farthest that Mission Impazible has run. But with Unbridled’s Song as his sire and Hold Your Peace as his damsire, Mission Impazible has similar breeding to Old Fashioned, winner of the 2008 Remsen Stakes (G2), and I believe the stretch out to 9-furlongs will be more to his liking. Hold Your Peace was also the damsire of Peace Rules, winner of the 2003 Louisiana Derby.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert ships The Program in for the Derby and at 10-1 morning line odds, I also like him as a long shot pick. The Program comes into the race with a third-place finish in the Sham Stakes (G3). His estimated time of 1:49.23 is on par with the other horses entered in this race and he should be very competitive.
Jockey Martin Garcia retains the mount on The Program and they have been in the money in four of their five previous starts. The Program has only raced on synthetic surfaces but with Harlan’s Holiday as his sire and Deputy Minister as his damsire, I believe that The Program will like the surface switch and the 9-furlongs should not be a problem.
Trainer Nick Zito stamped his ticket to the Kentucky Derby last Saturday with the first-place finish of Ice Box in the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park. Zito could, perhaps, have another contender with the lightly-raced Fly Down (8-1) who comes into the Derby with an allowance win February 21. Fly Down should improve in his second start off the lay off and his bullet work out March 20 indicates that he could be ready for another good effort.
Trained by Bill Mott, Drosselmeyer (5-1) could also have an impact in the Derby. He finished fourth last out in the Risen Star but was closing ground on Discreetly Mine and was only beaten by two lengths. Drosselmeyer has only been off the board one time in six starts and I believe the 9-furlongs will be more to his liking.