Blueskiesnrainbows will face eight rivals off a two-month break in Saturday's Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs as he seeks his second straight stakes score.
The English Channel colt has bounced back and forth between a traditional dirt course, synthetic track and turf in his eight-race career. Trained by Bob Baffert, the chestnut broke his maiden on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track last December before posting a 7 1/4-length score in an allowance on Santa Anita's dirt. He stayed on that surface for his next two starts, recording third-place finishes in an optional claimer and his stakes bow in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.
Blueskiesnrainbows suffered the worse defeat of his short career on grass, and once again proved his dislike for the sod when a well-beaten ninth in the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs on May 4. However, he returned from that one to post a front-running, three-quarter length victory in the Grade 2 Swaps back at Hollywood on Independence Day, and will keep jockey Joe Talamo, aboard for both that win and his close Santa Anita Derby third, in the irons for the Super Derby.
Bourbon Courage is looking to return to the winner's circle in this 1 1/8-mile contest restricted to sophomores. The Kellyn Gorder-conditioned son of Lion Heart opened his career earlier this year with a pair of promising wins at Fair Grounds. Unfortunately, the bay colt has been unable to build upon that success while facing stakes company in his past three.
Thus far, Bourbon Courage has finished fourth in the Grade 3 Derby Trial, fifth in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens and second in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby. The three-year-old showed signs of his early season form in the latter event, beaten just a half-length while stretching out past a mile for the first time, and will get a jockey switch to Leandro Goncalves on Saturday.
Rousing Sermon will try to turn the tables on Blueskiesnrainbows following a fourth-place run behind that rival in the Swaps. The chestnut was just caught on the wire of the Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar in his last race following the Swaps, and is seeking his first win since taking the Cal Cup Juvenile last October. Mike Smith has the call aboard the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained son of Lucky Pulpit.
Like Rousing Sermon, Hero of Order is trying to get back to his winning ways. The Gennadi Dorochenko charge shocked at 109-1 in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on April 1, but hasn't factored in five races since. The Sharp Humor dark bay was second two back in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby behind champion Hansen, but ran fifth in the West Virginia Derby last out. Don Simington will be in the saddle for the Super Derby.
Completing the field for the Super Derby are Key Donation, Tensas Cold Front, Mr. Bluegrass Music and Master Rick -- the respective top four finishers from the local prep, the Super Derby Prelude, on August 4; and Fly Lexis Fly, fifth while making his U.S. bow in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap against older rivals at Del Mar in late July.
Louisiana Downs will host five other stakes events on Saturday, including a pair of $150,000 juvenile events for possible future Super Derby runners. The Sunday Silence drew 10 two-year-old colts and geldings, including the unbeaten stakes winner Brown Almighty, while the Happy Ticket will feature 12 juvenile fillies, topped by Donnie Wilhite Memorial maiden-breaker Promise Me More. Both stakes are scheduled for a mile on the turf.
Older runners will go 1 1/16 grassy miles in the Unbridled and River Cities Stakes, each worth $100,000. The former will see nine load into the gate, headed by 2010 Super Derby winner Apart. The River Cities, the distaffer counterpart to the Unbridled, has eight scheduled to run, including Grade 3 Sixty Sails Handicap victress She's All In.
Saturday's stakes action at Louisiana Downs will get underway in the $50,000 Temperence Hill Stakes, a six-furlong sprint that includes amongst its five entrants last-out Grade 2 Smile Sprint winner Gantry.