Friesan Fire , winner of the LeComte (gr. III) and Risen Star (gr. III), has been installed the 5-2 morning line choice in the 10-horse field that will contest the March 14, $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds.
The winner of the two Lousiana Derby prep races at the New Orleans track for trainer Larry Jones, Friesan Fire will be ridden by Gabriel Saez and will break from post 9. Jones saddled ill-fated Eight Belles to finish second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
A son of A.P. Indy who races for Fox Hill Farms and Vinery Stable, Friesan Fire has won half of his six lifetime starts while earning $243,265. He is two-for-two at Fair Grounds, both victories coming in the Derby preps, and he has one win -- the Risen Star Stakes -- at the 1 1/16 mile distance.
Friesan Fire breezed a bullet five furlongs in :58.20 Monday morning at Fair Grounds under the watchful eye of Jones, with Saez in the irons.
“The horse is just getting very, very good right now,” said Jones. “He did it without being asked.”
Installed as the 7-2 second choice in the morning line is Patena, a son of Seeking the Gold who was second in the LeComte after winning Woodbine's Display Stakes. The colt is trained by Richard Dutrow, who rose to prominence last year by saddling Big Brown to win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Patena worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.40 handily on Monday morning at Gulfstream.
“He obviously has a lot of talent,” said Dutrow, "and we’re very pleased with what he showed us in his work today. We’re very happy with him right now
Following those two in the Lousiana Derby favoritism is Giant Oak (4-1), who ran fifth in the Risen Star for trainer Chris Block.
Louisiana Derby, $600,000, 1 1/16 miles, all carry 122 pounds:
(Post position--Name, jockey, trainer, morning line odds)
1--Free Country, Kent Desormeaux, Ken McPeek, 12-1
2--Soul Warrior, Shaun Bridgmohan, Steve Asmussen, 20-1
3--Patena, Robby Albarado, Richard Dutrow, Jr., 7-2
4--Terrain, Julien Leparoux, Al Stall, Jr., 10-1
5--Flying Pegasus, John Velazquez, Ralph Nicks, 8-1
6--Giant Oak, James Graham, Chris Block, 4-1
7--Uno Mas, Brian Hernandez, Jr., Steve Asmussen, 12-1
8--Papa Clem , Rafael Bejarano, Gary Stute, 8-1
9--Friesan Fire, Gabriel Saez, 5-2
10--Nowhere to Hide, Corey Lanerie, Nick Zito, 15-1