Horses to watch in Louisiana Derby Preview Day grass stakes

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

February 17th, 2018

It's an unseasonably warm day in New Orleans for Louisiana Derby Preview Day, which means the grass stakes scheduled on the Risen Star (G2) undercard will be contested on ideal firm ground. Here are thoughts on those three stakes.

$50,000 Colonel Power -- Race 4 -- Perhaps the deepest field you'll find for a stakes with this purse, this about 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint perhaps could be ripe for an upset if the return to the Mike Maker barn agrees with the veteran nine-year-old #2 PARTLY MOCHA (15-1). A multiple stakes winner early last year before he was claimed away at Saratoga, he narrowly missed winning a third at Churchill, had some excuses in some higher-class races and was also a sharp second to Pay Any Price on that one's home turf of Gulfstream in July. West Virginia-bred should be running late under Javier Castellano.

Don't ignore: #11 WILL CALL (6-1) is undefeated in two starts over this course at the meet and is deserving of this step up in class by the hot Brad Cox barn.


$75,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial -- Race 6 -- With firmer footing #3 GIADA VEGAS (6-1) has the chance to turn the tables on #6 MOM'S ON STRIKE (7-2), who handled the softer going more capably when prevailing by a half-length in the $75,000 Marie Krantz Memorial last month.

Don't ignore: #8 MALIBU BONNIE (8-1), also from the Mark Casse stable, beat Giada Vegas in a Woodbine allowance in September and perhaps could be the better of the two.


$150,000 Fair Grounds H. (G3) -- Race 8 -- #8 SYNCHRONY (9-2) was super impressive taking his turf debut over this course last March, and was subsequently second to eventual Manhattan (G1) winner Ascend in a stakes at Laurel before his campaign came to a premature end following a runner-up placing in the Red Bank (G3). His recent worktab looks super.

Don't ignore: Argentinean import #12 CATCHO EN DIE (8-1) could be an exotics sleeper for Bill Mott following a solid allowance placing December 29 at Gulfstream in his first start in nearly 23 months. The six-year-old has raced a total of four times, but was a Group 1 winner in South America over the classy Ordak Dan and Don Inc.

(Giada Vegas photo: Amanda Hodges Weir/Hodges Photography)