Spot Plays for Fair Grounds' Road to the Derby Kickoff Day stakes

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

January 15th, 2021

Saturday's "Road to the Derby Kickoff" card at Fair Grounds is a marathon 13-race program filled with stakes, maidens for 3-year-olds, and a two-turn allowance for up-and-coming classic prospects. Opportunities abound throughout, but our concentration will be on the stakes near the end of the day.

Note there is a $100,000 guaranteed all-stakes Pick 5 that starts with Race 9 (Marie G. Krantz Memorial) and a $150,000 guaranteed all-stakes Pick 4 that starts in our first profile race.

Race 10 -- S125,000 Louisiana (G3)

If #4 Blackberry Wine can keep the potentially short #8 Wells Bayou honest up front, #3 SILVER PROSPECTOR (5-1) merits consideration from just off the pace. Although not classy enough to have made an impact in the Clark (G1) last time, that run came four weeks after he beat N3X allowance foes following a layoff approaching six months, so he also might have bounced some in the big stakes. Enjoyed a perfect trip when beating Wells Bayou in the Southwest (G3) last winter and could see a similar setup here.

Race 11 -- $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley

Very much willing to forgive #4 BIG AGENDA (6-1) for not showing up on the new Tapeta surface at Turfway last out. The 6-year-old doubled his career win count off the bat after joining the Maker barn late last year, capturing allowances at Kentucky Downs and Churchill Downs, and his sixth in the Sycamore (G3) was decent considering the quality of rivals ahead of him and the fact he had no prior experience going as far as 1 1/2 miles. Best fits with these as he cuts back to a more optimum distance.

Race 12 -- $150,000 Silverbulletday

While #9 Sun Path is the likely post-time favorite, perhaps deservedly so, #1 SOUPER SENSATIONAL (5-2) looked too promising at Woodbine last fall to give her short shrift in this spot. Has the pedigree and connections to develop further into a highly capable two-turn dirt filly.

Race 13 -- $200,000 Lecomte (G3)

Early favorite #10 Mandaloun could prove the real deal, but won't sleep on the possibility that #7 SANTA CRUISER (6-1) also steps up in his two-turn debut. By Florida Derby (G1) winner Dialed In and out of a Tapit mare, he's also bred to stretch out successfully. Third to presumptive juvenile champion Essential Quality first out, he finally put it all together in start three going the one-turn mile at Churchill. He led all the way that day, but could prove more effective reverting to stalk-and-pounce tactics for Calumet and Keith Desormeaux.

Whoever you like in the Lecomte, be sure to opt into's Kentucky Derby Prep Race $150k Leaderboard Competition for a chance to win a VIP trip for two to the Kentucky Derby, or a share of $150,000, by earning points based on win bets throughout the winter and spring on 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby preps.