Road to the Kentucky Derby: Louisiana Derby Preview

The 2023 Louisiana Derby will be Race 12 on March 25th at Fair Grounds. Post time is set for 5:42 PM CT. This Grade II race is one and 3/16 miles and has a purse of $1,000,000. This Kentucky Derby prep race offers 100 qualifying points for first place, 40 for second, 30 for third, 20 for fourth and 10 for fifth place. There are twelve horses in the field this year. Last year’s winner was Epicenter.

Let’s take a look at the field.

Instant Coffee is the morning line favorite at 2-1. He comes off a win in the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds and a win in the Kentucky Jockey Club in November. He’s been training up toward this race and is the clear horse to beat here.

Sun Thunder finished an impressive 2nd in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds on February 18th. He went off at 16-1 and came running late to finish behind Angel of Empire. It a big field, so you hope he won’t get stuck behind horses, but he should like the added distance and be a horse who can come running late.

Kingsbarns is the dark horse in this race. This will be his first stakes race and only his third career race. But he’s won both of his starts and posted a 100 speed figure in his last at Tampa Bay Downs on February 12th. He should contend for the lead early and could stay there if he can make the distance.

Tapit’s Conquest went off at 5-1 in the Risen Star and finished 4th. He regressed a bit in terms of speed figures in that one, but did have to make a wide trip. He could see a bounce back to his previous speed figures here. Worth a shot at 10-1.

Jace’s Road is another long shot I like in this one. He ran a 101 speed figure two starts back on this track in the Gun Runner. There was a big drop in his last speed figure in the Southwest due to a sloppy track. He’s ran the fastest speed figure in this group and is absolutely worth a look at 12-1.

This will be the first stakes race for Shopper’s Revenge. He has two seconds and a third in his three starts but just hasn’t posted the numbers that show he can contend.

There’s too many questions with Disarm. He was impressive in a win last August, but then didn’t race until February 19th, where he finished second at Oaklawn. This will be his first stakes race and seems like a big jump. There’s just not a lot to go off of with him.

Denington has the most starts in the field with eight career starts already. He finished 4th in the Lecomte and came back with his best speed figure in an Allowance Optional Claiming race in his last. He’s likely a middle of the pack horse here.

Cagliostro ended up with a really good speed figure in his last and has improve in each of his races (three career races). There’s a big class upgrade here which is why I really haven’t heard much on him.

Single Ruler has just one win in six starts and finished 5th in the Risen Star. Baseline Beater is a deep closer who hasn’t yet been in a stakes race. He will be at the back of this large field with a lot of work to do. Curly Jack went off at 8-1 in the Risen Star and finished 8th in that 14-horse field. He won the Iroquois at Churchill Downs back in September but hasn’t shown real improvement since.

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

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

Quick Wrap and Betting Strategies

Most Likely to Win: 2 Instant Coffee

My Bet: 9 to win, 11 to win, 9-2 exacta

Superfecta: 9-11-2-4/6

Long Shot: Winner 9 Tapit’s Conquest 10-1, Jace’s Road 12-1

Staying away from the favorite at 2-1. Instant Coffee is the best horse in the field, but those odds are too short. He’s not that much better than some of the other horses in this field. There are some horses like Tapit’s Conquest and Jace’s Road with decent excuses for bad numbers. I think we are better off taking a shot with much longer odds in this one. I avoided Kingsbarns as well because he’s never raced against this competition level or at this track.

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