(Edited press release)
Michael and Doreen Tabor's Circular Quay has been installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in a field of eight 3-year-olds for the 94th running of the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds March 10.
The $600,000 race, to be contested at 1 1/16 miles, is the last of five stakes contests on Louisiana Derby Day presented by Budweiser. Approximate post time is 5:43 p.m. ET.
Circular Quay, who is trained and will be ridden by Eclipse Award winners Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez, respectively, is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds last month, a race in which his chances of winning were compromised by a spill near the top of the stretch.
As a 2-year-old, Circular Quay won the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga and the Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs. He capped his 2006 campaign with a second-place finish behind Street Sense in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill.
Circular Quay will break from the rail on Saturday.
Owner J. Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill, who captured the Risen Star with Notional, will be back in the Louisiana Derby with Liquidity, who just missed in graded stakes company in his last two starts.
Liquidity was beaten a length by the highly regarded Ravel in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita last month. Before that, he was second by a neck in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) in December. Corey Nakatani will ride Liquidity, who is the early 7-2 second choice and drew post five.
The second and third-place finishers behind Notional in the Risen Star, Imawildandcrazyguy and Zanjero, will return for the Louisiana Derby. Zanjero, trained by six-time Fair Grounds leading conditioner Steve Asmussen, is the third choice on the morning line at 4-1 and gets the riding services of Garrett Gomez.
The William Kaplan-trained Imawildandcrazyguy, who like Zanjero made his seasonal bow in the Risen Star, capped a busy 2-year-old season with a 10-length allowance win at Calder.
Also in the Derby field is Birdbirdistheword, who will make his sophomore debut for trainer Ken McPeek after ending his 2-year-old campaign with a win in the $1 million Boyd Gaming's Delta Jackpot Stakes (gr. III); locally based Ketchikan, who has won two straight for trainer Al Stall Jr.; the Pletcher-trained Soaring By, who will make only his third lifetime start; and Slew's Tizzy, who clipped heels and lost his rider in the Risen Star, but returns in this spot for trainer Gregory Fox.
Louisiana Derby (gr. II), $600,000, Fair Grounds, March 10, 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles, approx. post 5:43 p.m. ET
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Circular Quay, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 122, 9-5
2. Ketchikan, Al Stall Jr., Larry Melancon, 122, 8-1
3. Slew’s Tizzy, Gregory Fox, Julien Leparoux, 122, 15-1
4. Birdbirdistheword, Kenneth McPeek, Robby Albarado, 122, 6-1
5. Liquidity, Doug O’Neill, Corey Nakatani, 122, 7-2
6. Zanjero, Steve Asmussen, Garrett Gomez, 122, 4-1
7. Soaring By, Todd Pletcher, Edgar Prado, 122, 8-1
8. Imawildandcrazyguy, William Kaplan, Fernando Jara, 122, 10-1