03/20/2011 2:33PM

Louisiana Derby attracts 13, led by Mucho Macho Man

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Mucho Macho Man, winner of the Risen Star, will be the favorite for the Louisiana Derby.

The entrants came out of the woodwork Sunday when the field was drawn and post positions assigned for the $1 million Louisiana Derby. A field of 13 – most wholly unproven in open stakes competition – was entered in the Grade 2, 1 1/8-mile race, the centerpiece of what ought to be a blockbuster, multi-graded-stakes racing program Saturday in New Orleans.

Mucho Macho Man, winner of the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds in his most recent start, drew post 5 and was made the 9-5 favorite on the morning line. Based in Florida with trainer Kathy Ritvo, Mucho Macho Man will be ridden for the second time by Rajiv Maragh. Maragh was tapped to ride Mucho Macho Man the day before the Risen Star when the colt’s regular jockey, Eibar Coa, was badly injured in a spill at Gulfstream Park.

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The place and show horses from the Risen Star won’t contest the Louisiana Derby, but fourth-place Machen, with Edgar Prado to ride for the first time, drew post 7 and was made the 7-2 morning-line second choice. Machen was one of two horses entered by trainer Neil Howard, with Lecomte Stakes winner Wilkinson, Garrett Gomez named to ride, drawing post 10.

Elite Alex was scratched from Saturday’s Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park partly because of a wide draw in a large field, but four scratches reduced the Rebel field to nine starters, and Elite Alex drew poorly again in the Louisiana Derby, landing post 12. With a long run to the first turn, however, jockey Calvin Borel should have ample time to gain an inside position for his late-running mount.

The rest of the field, from inside out, is Nacho Business, Pants on Fire, Nehro, Mavericking, Liondrive, Majestic Harbor, Le Mans, Left, and Populist Politics. This group has compiled a record of 0-1-0 from just 4 open dirt-stakes starts. Nacho Business and Pants on Fire are a coupled, Kelly Breen-trained entry. Populist Politics also was entered in a Louisiana-bred race Friday. 

The remainder of the March 26 card was to be drawn later Sunday.