Kentucky Derby Trail: Louisiana Derby

The 2021 Louisiana Derby will be Race 14 on March 20th at Fair Grounds. Post time is set for 5:44 PM CT. This Grade II Race and 3/16 miles and has a purse of $1,000,000. The race is for three-years old horses and will give us a look at some 2021 Kentucky Derby contenders. There are eight horses in the field this year. Last year’s winner was Wells Bayou. Let’s take a look at the rankings for everyone in this year’s field.

In my mind, there’s really four main contenders here: Hot Rod Charlie, Mandaloun, Proxy and Midnight Bourbon. Mandaloun, Proxy and Midnight Bourbon have all raced their last two races against each other (The Risen Star and The Lecomte Stakes). Those horses finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in both of those races. Midnight Borubon won the Lecomte back on January 16th (Proxy 2nd, Mandaloun 3rd). Mandaloun won the Risen Star on February 13th (Proxy 2nd, Midnight Bourbon 3rd). Clearly these three can all run with each other.

Now we add in Hot Rod Charlie. He ships in from the west coast. He finished 3rd in his last by a neck to Medina Spirit and Roman Centurion in the Robert B. Lewis stakes back in January. That was his first race since his second place finish in the Breeders Cup Juvenile on November 6th behind Essential Quality. He is yet to run at Fair Grounds, the other top contenders have run here before.

Mandaloun added blinkers in his last and went on to win the Risen Star in that effort. He’s improved his speed figures in each start. Proxy adds blinkers in this one, we’ll see if that’s enough to put him over the top.

Midnight Bourbon likes to set the pace, but Starrininmydreams and Rightandjust will both challenge him for that early lead. Midnight Bourbon lacked that late closing speed in his last, as he got passed down the stretch by Mandaloun and Proxy.

O Besos finished 4th in the Risen Star, he tried to close in that one, but really didn’t have the same kick as Proxy and Mandaloun down the stretch.

Below we take a look at each horse’s last three speed figures.

I’ve run the Louisiana Derby 1,000 times in simulations. Below are the results of those races.

Quick Wrap Up and Betting Strategies

Most Likely to Win: 5 Hot Rod Charlie/ 6 Mandaloun

My Bet: 5 to Win, 5-6-4 Trifecta Box

Superfecta: 5/6-6/5-4-7

There’s a few small variables that could affect this race. Hot Rod Charlie is on a track he hasn’t raced before and Proxy adds blinkers. Mandaloun is the likely favorite as past winners of the Risen Star tend to do very well in this race. Proxy is getting a lot of action too as many think the blinkers may add something positive and he was really close to Mandaloun in his last. Midnight Bourbon is my fourth choice, but just based on current form I’m leaning towards other horses here.

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