09/20/2006 11:00PM

Dontbotherknocking ripe for repeat


NEW YORK - The $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs tops a busy and eclectic stakes schedule on Saturday which also includes two other $200,000 stakes on the Super Derby undercard, a pair of $250,000 stakes at Belmont Park in the Futurity and Matron, the $200,000 Kentucky Cup Turf at Kentucky Downs, a pair of $200,000 restricted 2-year-old stakes at Monmouth Park, and the $200,000 John D. Schapiro Memorial Breeders' Cup at Laurel.

Louisiana Downs BC Handicap

While Lawyer Ron's return to the scene where he began his rise to prominence is a major storyline in the Super Derby, this supporting feature offers a big, well-matched field, which should ensure betting value.

Warrior Song is the speed of the speed. But there are others in this field who have enough early foot to make Warrior Song to go faster in the opening furlongs than he might like. So, I am looking for this race to be won from off the pace, and for Dontbotherknocking to be the one to do it.

Aside from having a pace scenario to flatter his big late kick, Dontbotherknocking is repeating a pattern that led to his three-length upset victory in this race last year. Before that score, Dontbotherknocking won the DeBartolo Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap at Remington Park. He posted a repeat victory in the DeBartolo Memorial two weeks ago, and he delivered an even stronger performance. Dontbotherknocking earned a slightly better Beyer Speed Figure, he won by a bigger margin, and he finished stronger, getting his last furlong in a fast 11 seconds. He is coming into this in better form than when he won last year.

Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf

Trainer Bill Mott has a potent one-two punch here in the uncoupled pair of Thetheatrics Ofdance, who ran well against better company in her last two starts at Belmont Park, and Almost Innocent, who hasn't run a bad race going a middle distance on turf in almost a year. But I like Victory Lap to upset them.

Victory Lap certainly pulled one off last time out, coming from another zip code to win the Ellis Park BC Turf at 28-1. It strongly suggests that Victory Lap has recaptured the sharp form she showed last year, when she won the Lone Star Oaks by more than 14 lengths, was beaten less than two lengths in Saratoga's Lake Placid, and was beaten less than two lengths when third to Asi Siempre in the Valley View at Keeneland. That form compares favorably to Mott's entrants, and yet Victory Lap might be an overlay.

Noble Damsel BC Handicap

This race came up a lot tougher than most Grade 3 events. Pommes Frites is in here, and the only horse to finished in front of her this year is Gorella, the best turf female in the country. Bright Abundance, who won this race last year, was sharp in her last three starts. Mauralakana looks capable off her French form, and her trainer, Patrick Biancone, wins at an insane rate with horses making their first starts in North America. But as solid as this field is, Karen's Caper is a strong play off her terrific second in the Ballston Spa Handicap last time out.

Karen's Caper was really up against it pace-wise in the Ballston Spa having to rally after My Typhoon crawled on an uncontested lead. Yet despite being at such a pace disadvantage, Karen's Caper finished strong and fell short by less than a length. She might not be a great price Saturday but she will be hard to deny.