03/19/2013 12:56PM

Louisiana Derby: Titletown Five will skip Sunland Derby, head to Fair Grounds

Tom Keyser
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has opted to wait a week and run Titletown Five in the Louisiana Derby.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Titletown Five is being rerouted to the Grade  2, $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 30 because the timing of the race will allow him to have another workout and also because the Louisiana Derby awards the winner 100 qualifing points for the Kentucky Derby, trainer D.  Wayne Lukas said on Tuesday. The horse had been pointed for Sunday’s Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park, which gives 50 points to the winner.

Titletown Five worked Tuesday morning at his Oaklawn base, going six furlongs in 1:16.20 on a track rated good. Jon Court was aboard for the move and has the mount in the Louisiana Derby, which will be run at Fair Grounds. Gary Stevens had been booked to ride Titletown Five in the Sunland Derby, but will be riding in Dubai the afternoon of the Louisiana Derby, said Lukas.

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Titletown Five will be making his second start of the year in the Louisiana Derby. In his 3-year-old debut March 2, he ran second in the $60,000 Gazebo, a six-furlong race at Oaklawn. Titletown Five was an individual betting interest in the second pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager on the strength of a nine-length win in a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs last October.

Lukas said there were several reasons to await the Louisiana Derby.

“This gives me an extra week and it gives me a 100-point race,” he said. “It’s a shorter trip [to New Orleans], and it gives me another work [before he runs]. Those are all pretty good pluses.”

Titletown Five breezed in the first set Tuesday, breaking off from the 5 1/2-furlong pole and continuing past the wire to the 7 1/2-furlong pole. Oaklawn’s head clocker, Jim Hamilton, carried the horse through fractions of 25.40 seconds for the opening quarter, 38.60 for three furlongs, 51.60 for a half-mile, and 1:03.80 for five furlongs.

“I wanted a good tightener,” Lukas said. “The next one’s a mile and an eighth, and it’s a big jump, from six furlongs to a mile and an eighth, so I wanted to make sure that I got the tightener in him.

“He was well within himself. It was very easy for him, and surprisingly so. I thought he might be a little [tired] on that track. That track’s a little sticky this morning. I thought that he handled it very, very well.”

Titletown Five races for a partnership that includes Hall of Fame football players Paul Hornung and Willie Davis.

Court won the Grade 2, $600,000 Rebel on Saturday at Oaklawn, aboard the Lukas-trained Will Take Charge.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]