Edited press release
The Super Derby (gr. II) just got bigger. The annual highlight of the Harrah's Louisiana Downs meet will double in value to $1 million if Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Street Sense, Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Curlin, or Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches participate in the Sept. 22 race.
“We are actively pursuing all three horses," said Doug Bredar, Louisiana Downs racing secretary. "Their connections indicate they are interested and open to the idea. This race provides an opportunity for the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont winners to meet and decide the 3-year-old championship on a neutral site that has a tremendous track record for producing future Breeders’ Cup Classic winners.”
Carl Nafzger, trainer of Street Sense, saddled Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled in the 1990 Super Derby before capturing the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) later that year. Of the seven 3-year-olds to win the Classic, four raced in the Super Derby.
Sunday Silence (1989) and Tiznow (2000) captured the Super Derby en route to the Classic, while Unbridled (1990) and Concern (1994) parlayed runner-up finishes in the Super Derby to Classic victories. In addition, four Super Derby winners finished second in the Classic (Gate Dancer, Alysheba, Seeking the Gold, and Deputy Commander), and three won the Classic in their 4-year-old season (Alysheba, Awesome Again , and Tiznow).
“The history of the race speaks for itself,” said Mark Midland, vice president of racing operations for Louisiana Downs. “This increase provides the ideal timing and purse for a historical match-up of Triple Crown winners five weeks before the Breeders’ Cup.”
If the Super Derby purse is increased to $1 million, it would anchor the richest day in Louisiana Downs history. Super Derby day also features four turf stakes worth $200,000 each, including the new Happy Ticket for 2-year-old fillies and the Sunday Silence for 2-year-olds colts. Both are 1 1/16 miles on the turf and serve as preps for the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
The local prep for the Super Derby, the $100,000 Super Derby Prelude, will be run Aug. 18. Nominations close Aug. 10 with no nomination fee. The winner of the Super Derby Prelude receives a free entry into the Super Derby.