08/10/2006 11:00PM

Lawyer Ron among 46 Super Derby noms


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Early nominations for the Super Derby, slated for Sept. 23, read like the usual list of suspects, as the connections of virtually all of the country's top 3-year-olds paid $250 this past week to keep their options open. While firm commitments among the 46 nominees were hard to come by, the race has a chance to come together quite well for freshman racing secretary Tony Patterson.

"There has certainly been some interest," Patterson said Friday morning. "Lawyer Ron is still on track following the St. Louis Derby at Fairmount, and with limited options available for straight 3-year-olds this time of the year, we have a shot at a real nice race."

Trainer Bob Holthus has said the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby is Lawyer Ron's target after the $250,000 St. Louis Derby on Aug. 26.

In addition to Lawyer Ron, the early nomination list includes Brother Derek, fourth in the Kentucky Derby, and Bright One, the winner of the recent West Virginia Derby.

Costa Rising heads Champions Day

Also nominated to the Super Derby is Costa Rising, although he has more immediate matters to attend to in next Saturday's Louisiana Breeders' Derby. The Breeders' Derby is one of 13 races slated for Louisiana Champions Day, a card with five Quarter Horse races and eight events for Thoroughbreds.

Costa Rising is a winner of five consecutive races, three of which were stakes here and at Evangeline Downs. He will join fellow Louisiana-bred heavy hitters Our Love, who will return to defend her crown in the Matchmaker for fillies and mares on the turf, and reigning horse of the meeting Zarb's Dahar, who will be going for his third Cajun Stakes win in a row.

Gonzalez gets days

The Louisiana board of stewards on Thursday handed leading rider Carlos Gonzalez a week's suspension for careless riding in last Sunday's final race. Since entries for this Sunday's program were being taken at the time of Thursday's hearing, Gonzalez has the option of either honoring those mounts before sitting down for a week or beginning his suspension immediately.

"I think we are going to wait and start [the suspension] Monday," said Gonzalez's agent, Richie Price. "All the stakes next Saturday on Champions Day are designated races that we can ride in, so we will take the extra day next Tuesday, which is dark anyway. That way we will really miss only three days of racing, next Thursday, Friday, and Sunday."

Gonzalez rode one winner on Thursday to pull within two victories of his 2,000th career win.

Price is not likely to miss much business, as he is also the agent of apprentice phenom Cody Meche, who is third in the standings.

Random testing begins Thursday

Beginning Thursday, one race a day will be randomly selected for prerace testing. The horses will be called over 30 minutes before the usual arrival time in the paddock and will be held in Barn C-1. For all ship-ins and horses stabled offsite, it will be the trainers' responsibility to have their charges there on time. Patterson said arrangements are being made to contact those involved as soon as it is determined what race will be tested for the day.