Maiden race offers great value on Louisiana Derby Day at Fair Grounds

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

March 18th, 2021

The $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) tops a blockbuster day of action at Fair Grounds on Saturday. With 14 races on the slate, a plethora of fine Thoroughbreds will be on display, as well as numerous great betting opportunities to take advantage of throughout the afternoon.

When searching for the race that could offer the most value on the day, I landed in the 5TH race, a maiden special weight dash for three-year-olds. The six-furlong dirt test features numerous prospects that could turn out to be good ones, and it’s the kind of event that I will spread with in the vertical gimmicks. I could make a case for the majority of the youngsters in the nine-horse cast.

There is little doubt that #5 Koolhaus, #6 Wild for Wycliff, #2 Tulane Tryst, and likely first timer #3 Beduin Fighter will take a good portion of money in the win and horizontal pools. And deservedly so, because a solid case can be made for each of the quartet. But in a field as deep as this one, I feel compelled to look outside the box.

#9 Abdan (8-1) drew the rail and finished an even fifth on debut after going wide late, and the son of Liam’s Map was assigned a fine post on the outside for his second lifetime try. Conditioned by the always dangerous Al Stall, the gray sophomore races for a solid second-out trainer, and he shows two fine half-mile drills in preparation for his second assignment, as well. Joel Rosario picking up the mount is a bonus.

A case could be made for #8 Mr Sippi (6-1) in his seasonal bow for Joe Sharp. The $210,000 son of Runhappy caught a muddy oval at Ellis Park at first asking, prior to giving the turf a try at Kentucky Downs in his juvenile finale. The bay sizzled a bullet half-mile in February on the surface and has followed that with a quartet of five-eighths morning moves since. He gets Lasix and Irad.

#4 Continental Coins (6-1) could end up as an underlay following his useful fourth-place run in his debut showing. The $400,000 Constitution colt hails from a female line with numerous stakes-winning sprinters, and he surely deserves a second chance after breaking last in his initial effort for Bret Calhoun.