There will be major Kentucky Derby prep action at Fair Grounds this weekend as the G2 Louisiana Derby headlines the horse racing card. This race is run over 1 3/16 miles, with horses aged three competing for Derby qualifying points. A purse of $1 million is made available to winning connections this weekend.

Louisiana Derby Information

The G2 Louisiana Derby is one of the key prep races for the Kentucky Derby, and is particularly important given that it is run over a slightly longer distance than many races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

It has been an excellent prep race in terms of finding potential Derby winners, with Black Gold and Grindstone both winning this race on their way to landing the big race at Churchill Downs. Risen Star also won this Grade 2 before landing the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

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Louisiana Derby Odds

Track Phantom is listed as the +200 favorite this weekend. Hall of Fame and Catching Freedom could both be among the interesting plays at +475 and +500, respectively. Agate Road is available at +700, with Common Defense and Triple Espresso priced up at +850 and +1000, respectively. Honor Marie and Tuscan Gold are both +1200.

Louisiana Derby Leading Contenders

Track Phantom

Track Phantom will be a clear favorite in the betting for trainer Steven Asmussen this weekend. The three-year-old will need to prove his stamina this weekend after tiring in the closing stages to finish second in the G2 Risen Star Stakes on his previous effort.

However, he was largely progressive before that effort, winning the Gun Runner Stakes and G3 Lecome Stakes at Fair Grounds. Remains of huge interest this weekend.

Catching Freedom

Catching Freedom represents the Brad Cox this yard, and the three-year-old will have form to find on the market leader. This three-year-old finished back in third in the G2 Risen Star Stakes on his previous effort.

However, he didn’t enjoy the clearest passage, and that could be a factor in his favor to reverse the form this weekend. He was impressive on his stakes debut before that effort, landing the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park.  

Agate Road

Todd Pletcher has won the Louisiana Derby on five previous occasions, and he could have strong claims once again this weekend with Agate Road. Irad Ortiz will take the ride on the three-year-old, who was impressive when finishing second in the G3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay on his previous start.

He was a solid performer on the turf last season, but connections could yet point this runner toward the G3 Jeff Ruby Steaks on Saturday.

Louisiana Derby Prediction

Track Phantom should take all the beating if he settles quicker this weekend, but he still has stamina to prove over this extended trip. At a price, Real Men Violin could be worth a play in exotics for Kenneth McPeek.

The three-year-old was impressive when second in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last season, and could be very good value for an improved effort after his comeback eighth in the G2 Risen Star last month.

Pick: Track Phantom

Exacta Box: Track Phantom/ Real Men Violin