(Edited press release)
A Super Derby day worth $1.3 million, a new Super Derby prelude day, Louisiana Downs champions day, and the richest prep race in the nation for the new Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, highlight a stakes schedule worth more than $3.4 million at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs in 2007.
Super Derby day is slated for Sept. 22 with five stakes worth $1.3 million. The Super Derby – Powered by Youbet.com (gr. II), is worth $500,000 and is now complimented by the $200,000 Sunday Silence for 2-year-olds on the turf and the new $200,000 Happy Ticket for 2-year-old fillies on the turf. Both races are the richest North American races for 2-year-olds on the turf outside of the new Breeders’ Cup race, for which they serve as preps. The new $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf will be held at Monmouth Park Oct. 26.
“Having the richest Breeders’ Cup preps for 2-year-olds on the turf makes a strong Super Derby card even more attractive to horsemen around the country,” said racing secretary Tony Patterson. “They are perfectly spaced from the new Breeders’ Cup races and help anchor a tremendous Super Derby day.”
In addition, Super Derby day will feature the $200,000 Marie P. DeBartolo Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the grass and the $200,000 Unbridled Breeders’ Cup for older turf horses.
“We are looking forward to building upon last year’s record Super Derby day handle,” said Mark Midland, vice resident of racing operations. “The supporting stakes and the national appeal of the Super Derby are sure to generate a buzz locally and nationally.”
The Harrah’s Juvenile was renamed to honor Sunday Silence, who won the Super Derby in 1989 before capturing the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). The Happy Ticket recognizes the all-time leading Louisiana-bred while the Unbridled distinguishes the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner who raced in the Super Derby before later winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
On Aug. 18 five stakes comprise the new Super Derby prelude day including the $100,000 Super Derby Prelude, the traditional prep for the Super Derby. Four turf stakes worth $75,000 serve as preps for each of the $200,000 stakes on Super Derby Day.
On July 14 the $125,000 Tiznow Breeders’ Cup for older horses on the dirt and the $125,000 Hallowed Dreams Breeders’ Cup for filly and mare sprinters add a new day to the stakes calendar. They are complimented by the Minstrel and Princess for 2-year-olds on the turf.
“Our new series of 2-year-old turf races gives trainers a path to the Breeders’ Cup,” said Patterson. “The distances progress nicely ending with the Sunday Silence and Happy Ticket, which takes them into the Breeders’ Cup with five weeks rest.”
Louisiana Downs champions day July 21 will offer a full-card of state-bred races each worth $100,000. Also, May 12 and June 23 will feature $200,000 worth of stakes.
New this year is a series of state-bred starter races which turn four of the stakes-packed weekends into two-day events. Each starter race will be worth a minimum of $35,000.
“The starter series gives our horsemen a chance to run for huge purse money,” said Patterson. “They should have large fields and offer tremendous betting value.”
The racing season begins Friday, May 4 and continues through Oct. 20.