09/18/2007 11:00PM

Grasshopper arrives for Super Derby

EmailBOSSIER CITY, La. – Super Derby favorite Grasshopper arrived here safely from Kentucky on Wednesday morning and shortly thereafter drew post 9 in a field of 10 for Saturday's Grade 2, $500,000 race at Louisiana Downs.

"That's fine," said Neil Howard, who trains Grasshopper. "I really don't see any downside to it."

Grasshopper, who will have an ample run into the first turn in the 1o1/8-mile race, flew in from Churchill Downs. Robby Albarado, who won the Super Derby last year on Strong Contender, has the mount. He was aboard Grasshopper last month in the Gradeo1 Travers, when the horse finished second by a half-length to Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. Grasshopper has since worked sharply, his latest move a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.60 on Monday.

"The horse is doing good, and he shipped in good," said Howard. "He's ready to go."

Grasshopper has tactical speed and figures to stalk Forty Acres. The winner of the $100,000 Prelude at Louisiana Downs in his last start, Forty Acres drew post 2 for the Super Derby. He won the Prelude wire to wire after a razor-sharp start.

"We're happy with the post position," said Carlos Gonzalez, who will ride Forty Acres for trainer Jorge Lara. "It will save us a little ground."

Leonnatus Anteas might fall right in behind Forty Acres and Grasshopper. The first entry pulled for the Super Derby, he drew gate 5. Leonnatus Anteas will be making his first start outside of his native Canada, where last year he was the champion 2-year-old. Jono Jones will be aboard for trainer Kevin Attard.

Past the Point will break to the immediate outside of Leonnatus Anteas, from gate 6. Rafael Bejarano has the mount on the Eoin Harty-trained Past the Point, who in his last start was second in the $82,000 Lemon Drop Kid at Saratoga.

Going Ballistic might be the biggest stretch threat off a third-place finish last out in the Grade 1 Secretariat on the turf at Arlington Park. He will break from gate 10.

The Super Derby is the richest of five stakes worth a cumulative $1.3 million here Saturday. The supporting stakes will all be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf, and each has a purse of $200,000. The Super Derby will go as race 10 on a 13-race card. It will be part of an all-stakes, $100,000 guaranteed pick four that runs from races 8-11.

There is a 30 percent chance of showers on Saturday, with a high of 92 degrees, according to a forecast by The Weather Channel.

The Super Derby is the richest race of the meet. On the corresponding card last year, Louisiana Downs handled $7,306,487 on a 13-race program from all sources, which was a record for the track. It eclipsed the mark of $6.7 million in handle on Super Derby Day in 2003.

There is a special first post of noon Saturday. The Super Derby, scheduled for 5:10 p.m. Central, will be shown on HRTV.