Revolutionary has been installed as the lukewarm 3-1 morning line favorite in the 100th anniversary edition of the Grade II Louisiana Derby.
Revolutionary, who overcame severe traffic problems to win the Grade III Withers Stakes in his most recent start on Feb. 2, is conditioned by Todd Pletcher, who has two Louisiana Derby wins to his credit. Javier Castellano, who was aboard for the Withers win, will be back on Revolutionary.
Pegged as the 9-2 second choice is Code West, who invaded from California last month to finish second by a nose in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes. Code West is trained by Bob Baffert and will be ridden by West Coast-based jockey Martin Garcia.
Third choice at 5-1 in the Louisiana Derby morning line is Palace Malice, who finished third in the Risen Star – beaten a half-length for all the money – in the first start of his career around two turns. Palace Malice, also trained by Pletcher, has Edgar Prado up.
Departing is a co-fourth choice in the early line at 8-1. An unbeaten colt conditioned by three-time Fair Grounds trainer champ Al Stall Jr., Departing won Sam Houston’s $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes on March 2 in his third career race. He was scratched from the Risen Star a week earlier after drawing a wide post position. Regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. is named once again.
Departing's stable mate Sunbean, 12-1 on the morning line, also trained by Stall and also scratched from the Risen Star for the same reason, won the Gentilly Stakes on turf that day. Saturday will be his first time facing horses bred outside Louisiana. He'll leave the gate next door to Departing near the middle of the field.
Titletown Five, at 8-1, is owned by NFL Hall of Famer Paul Hornung and others and is conditioned by D. Wayne Lukas. They'll have Jon Court handling the reins.
Completing the Louisiana Derby field, with respective jockeys and morning line odds assigned, is: Proud Strike, Corey Nakatani (10-1); Mylute, Shaun Bridgmohan (12-1); Sunbean, Colby Hernandez (12-1); Golden Soul, Calvin Borel (20-1); Ground Transport, Mark Guidry (20-1); Hip Four Sixtynine, Jamie Theriot (30-1); Brazilian Court, Miguel Mena (30-1); Whiskey Bravo, James Graham (30-1) and Nina’s Dragon, Julien Couton (30-1).
The nine-furlong Grade II Louisiana Derby, as always a significant gauge for Triple Crown candidates, will be Race 9 of 13 – seven of which are stakes – slated for the penultimate day of the New Orleans oval’s 2012-2013 Thoroughbred racing season. First post is 1:00 p.m. CT with the Louisiana Derby post set for 5:44 p.m local time. The race will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network as part of a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” broadcast that starts at 5:00 p.m. CT.
This year’s milestone 100th Louisiana Derby festivities include the first-ever Infield Festival, a celebration with concerts by Cowboy Mouth and Flow Tribe, as well as a gathering of 17 food trucks and pop-up vendors.
The Louisiana Derby is worth 170 points – 100 for first, 40 for second, 20 for third and 10 for fourth – in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series that determines qualifying for the world’s most famous horse race, held five weeks after the Louisiana Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
Edited Gulfstream Park release with additional content by Dick Downey