08/25/2010 1:43PM

Coyote Legend tops nine-horse field for Prelude

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Nichole Walker/Coady Photography
Coyote Legend is the probable favorite for Saturday's Prelude, the local prep for next month's Super Derby.

BOSSIER CITY, La. – Saturday’s Prelude Day is not quite the premier program of the Louisiana Downs season, but it promises to be an awfully good dress rehearsal.

In addition to producing at least one Super Derby starter – the $100,000 Prelude winner receives an all-fees berth in the big dance next month – Saturday’s five supporting stakes, all on the grass, all at one mile in distance, and each worth $50,000, promise to provide plenty of additional participants for the stakes-rich Super Derby undercard on Sept. 25.

A group of nine 3-year-old hopefuls are entered in the Prelude, which goes as the ninth race on an expanded 10-race program. Coyote Legend heads up the field after picking up his seventh career win in the Assault Stakes at Lone Star Park in his last start. The Bret Calhoun-trained Coyote Legend is 2 for 2 at the Prelude’s 1 1/16-mile distance. Bobby Walker will break Coyote Legend, the likely favorite, from post 2.

Al Stall Jr., who saddled Blame, last year’s Super Derby runner-up and this year’s national leader in the male handicap division, will be represented in the Prelude by Apart. A lightly raced son of Flatter, Apart will attempt to make amends for two defeats as the favorite in allowance company at Churchill Downs earlier this summer. Stall has given the call to Jesse Campbell.

Louisiana Downs newcomer Paul McGee will send out Down With Dixie in the Prelude. Down With Dixie could vie for favoritism off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows in his last start. He remains on edge, working six furlongs last week at Churchill Downs in 1:13. Former Louisiana Downs regular Jamie Theriot has the call.

National training leader Steve Asmussen has Herecomesbert in the Prelude. Another son of Purge, Herecomesbert most recently picked up his second career win in optional claiming company at Lone Star. Aaron Gryder will be in to handle the riding chores.

The field also include Forestry Steel, a three-time winner, as well as Ricks F Sixteen, Ricky Tick, and Ryder River, all of whom are looking for their second career victory.

Interest for the turf stakes on the Prelude undercard also ran high at entry time on Wednesday. The two races for 2-year-olds, the Donnie Wilhite Memorial and the Sunny’s Halo, each drew 11 entrants, as did the Shiskabob for 3-year-olds and up. The John Franks Memorial for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds and upward drew a field of nine while the Honeymoon oversubscribed with 13 Louisiana-bred fillies and mares, including one also eligible.