A field of 11 3-year-olds was entered for the $100,000 Super Derby Prelude Aug. 6 with all hoping to earn a berth in next month’s Super Derby (gr. II), the marquee race of the season at Louisiana Downs.
The Prelude is usually contested in late August, but with the new date of the Super Derby (Sep. 10), it was moved to the first Saturday of the month. The Prelude anchors a program that also includes three stakes races on turf.
Trainer Al Stall Jr. has an eye towards continuing his recent dominance of the Super Derby the past few years. In 2008, he won the race with My Pal Charlie before running second with Blame the following year. Last year, he trained the second horse ever to win both the Prelude and the Super Derby in Apart.
This year Stall will saddle Trubs, a gelded son of First Samurai who broke his maiden last year at Louisiana Downs before competing in a few of the region’s richer juvenile stakes over the winter. He earned his third victory in the Black Gold Stakes at Fair Grounds in February before finishing fifth and third, respectively, in a pair of stakes at Oaklawn Park and Evangeline Downs.
Despite his distance-oriented pedigree, Trubs will race beyond one mile for the first time in the Prelude, which is contested at 1 1/16 miles. The Prelude will be his first start since early April.
The likely favorite is Populist Politics, who posted a breakthrough effort with a 4-1/2 length victory last month in the Louisiana Showcase Mile at Evangeline. He stamped himself one of the best Louisiana-breds of his generation early with impressive victories in the first two starts of his career. He is the top money earner in the Prelude field with more than $162,000 in earnings. Populist Politics' trainer, native Louisianan Tom Amoss, will be bidding for his second Prelude win having won it in 1994 with Ziad’s Game.
The Prelude winner will have all entry and starting fees waived for the Super Derby. It is the ninth of 10 races on Saturday with a post time of 4:59 p.m. CDT.