Will Bravazo Win Again in the Louisiana Derby?

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

March 20th, 2018

The action on the Road to the Kentucky Derby will really pick up this Saturday with the $1 million TwinSpires Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds, the first race offering 100 Derby qualification points to the winner.

The favorite in this competitive field of ten horses might wind up being #1 Bravazo, who scored a 21-1 upset in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) at Fair Grounds last month. I was impressed by this performance, as Bravazo—who normally rallies from a few lengths off the pace—found himself tracking the pace throughout the race before accelerating the final five-sixteenths of a mile in an exceptional :30.10 seconds to reel in the pace-setting Snapper Sinclair and win by a  nose, earning a 98 BRIS speed figure.

I was just as impressed by Bravazo’s allowance win at Oaklawn two starts back, in which he settled well off the pace before unleashing a long, sustained rally to catch the front-running Ezmosh and win by a neck, with the rest of the field nine lengths behind. Bravazo simply strikes me as a professional and versatile racehorse with a big chance to bring his record this year to a perfect 3-for-3.

His main competition could come from #7 Snapper Sinclair and #2 Noble Indy, who finished second and third in the Risen Star. Snapper Sinclair ran too well to lose that day and Noble Indy had a somewhat tough trip racing behind and in between horses, but Snapper Sinclair is unlikely to receive the same ground-saving trip that he enjoyed in the Risen Star, and Noble Indy—equipped with blinkers for the first time—could find himself in a battle for the early lead with a few of the other speedy horses in the Louisiana Derby.

One horse that I’m tempted to play against, at least to some extent, is #9 My Boy Jack. Trained by Keith Desormeaux, My Boy Jack made a terrific visual impression while rallying from far behind to win the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn last month by 4 ½ lengths, but it’s important to note that he got a perfect trip coming up the rail on a day when the inside seemed like the best part of the muddy, sealed track. That’s not to say that My Boy Jack can’t be competitive in the Louisiana Derby—he had previously finished third in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) behind McKinzie—but he seems unlikely to get as good a setup as he did in the Southwest.

Keeping in mind that the last three Risen Star winners all came back to prevail in the Louisiana Derby, I’m going to key Bravazo on top and hope that his versatility allows him to work out a winning trip from post position one.

$10 to win on #1 Bravazo $4 exacta: 1 with 2,7 ($8) $2 trifecta: 1 with 2,7 with 2,5,7,9 ($12)

Good luck!