Ten graded or group stakes winners are among 107 "early bird" nominations for the 94th running of the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) March 10 at Fair Grounds Race Course.
The early list includes a trio of grade I winners: Circular Quay, who captured Saratoga's Hopeful; Great Hunter, winner of the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, and Scat Daddy, who took the Champagne at Belmont Park.
Other graded stakes winners among the early bird nominees are Belmont's Futurity (gr. II) winner King of the Roxy, Aqueduct's Remsen (gr. II) victor Nobiz Like Shobiz, as well as Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) winner Tiz Wonderful.
Grade III winners on the list include Delta Jackpot hero Birdbirdistheword and Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup winner Officer Rocket. Also nominated are Grey Breeders' Cup (Can-III) winner (at Woodbine last October) Skip Code, and Sandwaki, who won Maison-Laffitte's (Fr-III) Prix du Bois in France last August.
The Louisiana Derby, the richest race on Fair Grounds' schedule, will be renewed this season after a one-year hiatus in 2006 when Fair Grounds conducted an abbreviated meet at Harrah's Louisiana Downs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Early bird nominations are also eligible to the series of Fair Grounds races leading up to the Louisiana Derby, including a pair of grade III stakes, the Lecomte Jan. 13 and the Risen Star Feb. 10. Regular nominations for the Louisiana Derby are accepted through Feb. 24.