The Brock Talk

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Super Derby Stills Serves Spice

Louisiana Downs’ Super Derby has a rich history beginning with the inaugural running in 1980 when Travers Stakes (gr. 1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. 1) winner Temperence Hill invaded and defeated the local First Albert. It is not known if it is the minerals in the muddy water from the Red River or the cayenne in the ettoufe at Ralph and Kacoo’s, but somehow the once prestigious race manages to pack just enough spice for a grade 2, $500,000 race.

Once a more prestigious grade 1 race at the classic distance of 1-1/4 miles, the Super Derby has been won by Kentucky Derby winners Sunny’s Halo (1983), Alysheba (’87) and Sunday Silence (’89). Last year, international powerhouse Goldolfin Stables won their second Super Derby with Regal Ransom after winning with Essence of Dubai in 2002. The Super Derby winner has gone on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic in their next start numerous times including Sunday Silence and Tiznow (2000), while Unbridled in 1990 and Concern in 1994 won the Classic after finishing second in the Super Derby. Home at Last defeated Unbridled and Soul of the Matter won over Concern. The runner-up in last year’s Super Derby, Blame, is likely going to be among the favorites to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. 1) Oct. 2 at Belmont Park.

The 2010 renewal of the Super Derby may not produce the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic this year, but there is still plenty of spice.

Among the race favorites is expected to be Golden Moka, who may not be a Bold Forbes or a Mister Frisky, but is trying the same path coming to North America after an undefeated career south of the border. Bold Forbes and Mister Frisky came to the United States from Puerto Rico while Golden Moka won his first three races in Panama.

But Golden Moka already has a significant win to his credit in North American having won the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the $500,000 Prince of Whales Stakes at Fort Erie July 25, after breaking his maiden and winning an allowance race and a group 3 event in Panama last year.

Adding even more flavor the Golden Moka team is the ownership group headed by retired jockey Rene Douglas, who suffered a paralyzing injury last year at Arlington Park. During his ongoing rehabilitation however, Douglas was never too far from the game and put together a group to purchase Golden Moka privately last year from the Panamanian connections. Among Douglas’ team is Denis Savard, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame who trails only Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita among goal scores in a Chicago Blackhawks sweater.

Golden Moka will have plenty of competition from Derby Trial (gr. 3) winner Hurricane Ike from the John Sadler barn and California shipper Distorted Economy, trained by Neil Drysdale. Apart, winner of the local Super Derby prep Prelude Stakes, comes from the Al Stall Jr. barn, which missed last year with Blame and won two years ago with My Pal Charlie. Stall was based at Louisiana Downs early in his career before moving his summer base to Kentucky.

So the Super Derby may not be among the most expensive or glamorous derbies of the year as it once was. But in true Louisiana style, it’s sure to allow le bon temps roulle. Let the good times roll.

1 comment:

John said...

I'll still look forward to the race despite it's lack of glitzy stars this year. And there is a nice Super Derby/Breeders' Cup connection, so it's a contest worthy of attention.