The Morning Line: The Louisiana Derby

The Rise Over The Grounds

I never thought that anyone would need another reason to head to the Big Easy for creole cooking, beignets and beads; however, there are 1 million other reasons to head to the Crescent City this weekend with the newly improved and extremely lucrative $1 million Louisiana Derby.

The backdrop may be a thriving, drinkable party scene but all focus will be at the Fair Grounds Race Course, where many fabled legends raced and won.  If you look closely, you may find the ghost of Black Gold (1924) wandering the track as he and Grindstone (1996) are the only Louisiana Derby winners to go on to win the Kentucky Derby.  This year, there are several looking to channel their greatness on the march towards the garland of roses.  Leading the way in Louisiana is the 17 hand behemoth and winner of the Risen Star Stakes Mucho Macho Man.

Mucho Macho Man will have a tough task as he tries to beat many highly regarded and lightly raced colts including Machen, Left and Oaklawn shipper Elite Alex.

$1 Million Louisiana Derby (gr. II, Race 10, 4:55 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer ML Odds
1. a-Nacho Business (KY), J Bravo, K J Breen, 10/1
2. a-Pants On Fire (KY),  A R Napravnik, K J Breen, 10/1
3. Nehro (KY), M C Baze, S M Asmussen, 30/1
4. Mavericking (IL), S Bridgmohan, N L Pessin, 20/1
5. Mucho Macho Man (FL), R Maragh, K Ritvo, 9/5
6. Liondrive (LA), J Graham, T A Ice, 50/1
7. Machen (KY), E S Prado, N J Howard, 7/2
8. Majestic Harbor (KY), C J Lanerie, P J McGee, 12/1
9. Le Mans (KY), R Albarado, S M Asmussen, 20/1
10. Wilkinson (KY), G K Gomez, N J Howard, 8/1
11. Left (KY), J M Campbell, A M Stall Jr., 10/1
12. Elite Alex (ON), C H Borel, T F Ritchey, 6/1
13. Populist Politics (LA), R E Eramia, T M Amoss, 30/1 SCRATCH
a – Coupled Entry
All carry 122 pounds.

The race has one star and tons of aspiring stars.  I would not argue with anyone that told me that they felt strongly about Mucho Macho Man, Nacho Business, Wilkinson, Elite Alex, Left, Machen, Mavericking, Majestic Harbor or Nehro but as a horseplayer, you cannot entertain the fact that you could be talked into 9 different horses in a 12 horse field.

I like Mucho Macho Man.  He is a huge colt, improving and is mature for a late foal.  What I do not like is his price.  I think that there are a number of horses that could challenge and with the long stretch, it should come from one of the stalkers/closers. 

Pants on Fire or Majestic Harbor should inherit the lead and be followed closely by Wilkinson, Left, Nacho Business and Mucho Macho Man.  Just behind the first group will be Machen and Liondrive and finally, bringing up the rear, Elite Alex, Mavericking, Nehro and Le Mans.  Turning for home, Mucho Macho Man and Nacho Business may edge up and start to pass a tiring Pants on Fire as Calvin Borel and Edgar Prado fire the engines on Elite Alex and Machen.  I believe that they will pull even with the pair and Mucho Macho Man and Elite Alex will draw off from the rest of the field.  The victor is anyone’s guess at that point.

The Pick:  11 Elite Alex – 4 Mucho Macho Man – 1 Nacho Business

Live Longshots (10-1 or higher): Left, Nacho Busines and Majestic Harbor

This weekend promises to be a busy one with four Kentucky Derby preps, the Louisiana Derby, Vinery Spiral Stakes, UAE Derby and the Sunland Derby.  Get your cigars and bourbon ready, I’ll even recommend a few.

Written By: Fundanichols



  1. I had heard that it was on USA netwrok but I am trying to verify…the other preps that are on TV are Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby (all on NBC). We will let you know.

  2. Always been a fan of Neil Howard especially when training for W. Farish. Scored some big wins for me back in the day. Would like to see Machen run a big race. If so, moving on to Kentucky. Never ran as a 2 yr. old. History is not on his side for the derby. But the LA Derby is another story.

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