Spot Plays for Louisiana Derby Preview Day

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

February 14th, 2020

A splendid 13-race card will be hosted by Fair Grounds on Saturday, led by two divisions of the $400,000 Risen Star (G2). In total, seven stakes races are on tap with five of those of the graded stakes variety.

I found a handful of horses that I am interested in on the 3-year-old laden card:

Race 1 -- Maiden Special Weight

#5 Johnnie Merle (12-1) is a hunch play that will go off at a nice price. $262,000 weanling purchase was most interested late in a route run on the main oval at first asking, and she switches to the lawn second out. Brian House pupil has four turf-winning siblings and is bred top and bottom to enjoy the green. It is also worth noting that the bay is Triple Crown nominated, which is a sign of confidence from the connections.

Race 2 -- Maiden Special Weight

All eyes will be on #6 Airstreem (5-2), a closing fourth in a maiden dash on the course in December. Tapit colt is a half-brother to the legendary Rachel Alexandra, and he flashed a lot of ability in his initial performance. He intrigues on the stretchout to nine panels.

Race 6 -- Colonel Power S.

Mike Stidham's #4 Powell (8-1) is winless on the lawn from a pair of tries, but he did stay on well to be third with stakes foes at Sam Houston most recently. Speedy Munnings colt could get very brave if he clears early in a cast where the major players come from off the pace.

Race 7 -- Maiden Special Weight

A field of exceptionally well-bred sophomores will go 6 furlongs in a loaded event. My main interest is in Al Stall's #4 Good Clean Fun (10-1). $475,000 Into Mischief colt is from a nice family filled with speed and precocity, and I expect him to be flying out of the gate on debut under Colby Hernandez.

Race 11 -- Rachel Alexandra (G2)

Champion #6 British Idiom (8-5) makes her 3-year-old debut in a field that came up quite tough. Classy Brad Cox charge is reportedly training in fine fashion in advance of her seasonal bow, and the race goes through her.

But, I have been impressed with #3 Swiss Skydiver (8-1) from three lifetime performances for McPeek. Daredevil filly packs a big late punch, and her close fifth in the Gasparilla S. at Tampa Bay Downs was a fine way to commence 2020. She could win if the pace is fast and contested.