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Posted by Brian Mulligan on 4/27/2010 9:11:34 AM

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Several tune-ups are carded this weekend but we’ll concentrate on the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, the Lane’s End at Turfway on Polytrack with honorable mention to Sunland Derby because the race came back so strong, but more on that later.

Before they went to the synthetic at Turfway, the Lane’s End was called the Spiral and then the Jim Beam. In 1992 Lil E. Tee posted a 106 Beyer in the Southwest Stakes and then in his next start came from mid-pack to win at 9-2 with a 95 figure, in then the Jim Beam.

Despite losing by a neck in his next race with a 107 figure, fans dismissed him the first Saturday in May and regretted it to the tune of 16-1.

In 2004, Birdstone ran 5th in the Lane’s End, and then broke hearts beating Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes.

This year Connemara could have a coming out party at Turfway. Yet another of the Todd Pletcher bullets, his only beat came with a legit excuse and he is fresh from a solid close when he took the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate.

The sky is the limit for this one as he is kin to Hollywood Futurity winner and over $1.3 million earner Lion Heart. With any kind of pace, he will be one tough cookie.

Pletcher will also be looking for improvement from his recent allowance winner Doubles Partner as the trainer is looking for his third win in the Lane’s End following Balto Star and Flower Alley.

Rebound is the word around Kettle River’s barn after a poor effort in the recent Sham. He needs a break out race.

Dale Roman’s was hoping to run Quiet All but that one came up gimpy so it is up to his other charge, Vow to Wager.

If you are going to bet on Wager, know that his dam is a minor stakes winner and kin to millionaire Grass Venture.

Others possibly seeking glory on the Polytrack are Best Actor, Dean’s Kitten, Fearless Cowboy, Noah’s Dream, Chief Counsel, Ranger Heartley, Northern Giant and Letsgetitonmon.

Now on to the Bayou.

Grindstone won his second career race in the Louisiana Derby with a 102 Beyer in 1996, lost his next effort when wide and beaten a neck in the Arkansas Derby, then was skillfully ridden by Jerry Bailey to get up by a nose at Churchill for the ‘Roses’ with a 112 figure.

New York’s favorite son Funny Cide was placed 2nd in the Louisiana Derby in 2003, hated the mud in the Wood, and then posted a 109 Beyer winning the Derby at 12-1.

Ancient history will find the other runner that posted the Louisiana Derby/Kentucky Derby double in Black Gold in 1924.

One true star almost pulled it off in 1988. Risen Star was allowed to let Winning Colors alone on the lead in Kentucky and had to settle for third.

Discreetly Mine will be looking for a repeat in the Louisiana Derby after recording a career high 94 Beyer taking the Risen Star Stakes. Consistent, he handled his first route assignment with flying colors and has a right to mature with class as kin to Discreet Cat, a brilliant Grade 1 winner that had the look of a router the way he finished his mile wins on his way to an over $1.6 million career.

Risen Star fourth Drosselmeyer will likely be back for more, as he is out to make amends for the flop as the chalk while Ron the Greek needs to pick it up after running mid-pack recently.

A Little Warm is in interesting player. Trained by the very sharp Anthony Dutrow, the son of Stormin Fever has the blood on the bottom side being out of an Alydar mare. His dam was a Graded winner and kin to G2 winner and over $550K earner Colonial Minstrel.

It took him a few races to figure it out but he was getting to the winner in the recent Hutcheson Stakes despite going wide.

The West will be represented by The Program, who be trying to transfer his synthetic form. Conditioned by Bob Baffert, his tactical speed will give him first run on the deep closers.

Homecourt hopes go to Ron the Greek, trained by Tom Amoss, who has won 9 titles at Fair Grounds.

Others to watch are Wow Wow Wow, looking to rebound from a poor effort and recent maiden winner Mister Marti Gras.

The odds of the Sunland Derby being important in retrospect 2 years in a row are daunting but what happened in 2009 can’t be forgotten. Second finisher in the race Mythical Power took the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby in his next out, 12th finisher Valid Stripes took the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes next out, Mark S the Cooler took an allowance at Hollywood right back, Advice rebounded taking the Grade 2 Lexington and of course, Mine that Bird won the Derby in a shocker.

Fact that the race is boosted to a Grade 3 will draw some decent runners and the ones to keep an eye on are Southwest Stakes champ Conveyance, Risen Star second Tempted to Tapit, San Vicente Stakes trifecta player Classical Slew and Storming Saint, who was put up in the stepping-stone race, the Borderline Derby in February.



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