Kafwain sets his sights on Louisiana Derby.

Kafwain sets his sights on Louisiana Derby.

AP/Benoit Photo

Kafwain Headed for Louisiana Derby

Trainer Bob Baffert revealed Saturday that The Thoroughbred Corp.'s early Kentucky Derby (gr. I) favorite Kafwain will likely make his next start in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds.

The son of Cherokee Run is coming off a win in the seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) on Feb. 1 at Santa Anita by a widening 4 1/2 lengths. The Louisiana Derby, a 1 1/16-mile event worth $750,000, will be contested on Mar. 9.

Kafwain is scheduled to work at Santa Anita on Sunday.

"I'm leaning toward the race because of the persuasive powers of Frank Mirahmadi," joked Baffert, referring to the Louisiana Downs racecaller who has been in California for the past week drumming up nominations for stakes at Fair Grounds.

"But really, it's a $750,000 race and it'll be just as tough as the one out here (the San Rafael) which is half the money," Baffert said. "Plus, he's a good shipper."

The $200,000 San Rafael (gr. II) at one mile is on Mar. 1.

"I'll also probably send a filly down there for the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II, $350,000 at 1 1/16 miles to be contested on Mar. 8)," Baffert added. "But I haven't decided which one yet."
The most likely candidates are Bob and Beverly Lewis' Composure, who won the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) in her last start, and The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Atlantic Ocean, victorious in the Sunshine Millions Oaks on Jan. 25.

Kafwain, who inherited the role as early Derby favorite following the recent injury of stablemate Vindication, is one of the more experienced and accomplished runners in his class, having won four of his nine starts, with two seconds and a third.

In addition to the San Vicente, Kafwain won the Norfolk (gr. II) and Best Pal Stakes (gr. III) and finished second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) last year. He was also runner-up to Eclipse Award finalist Toccet in the Dec. 14 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I), but was disqualified and placed fourth for bumping stablemate Domestic Dispute. Overall the dark brown colt has banked $625,848.