09/02/2011 4:02PM

Louisiana Downs: Alternation tunes up for Super Derby

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Alternation tuned up for the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby on Friday morning, when he breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60. He worked at his Arlington Park base and will soon ship to Louisiana Downs for the Super Derby, which will be one of six stakes worth $1 million on the meet’s richest card next Saturday, Sept. 10.

Alternation will be vanning in from Chicago.

“He’ll probably get there on Tuesday morning,” said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains the horse for Pin Oak Stable.

Von Hemel said Ramon Dominguez, who guided Alternation to a head win in the Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont Park in May, has the mount in the Super Derby. The horse will come into the race off a closing fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 30. Alternation was one of the top choices in the Jim Dandy, a prep for the Aug. 27 Travers, and finished eight lengths behind winner Stay Thirsty. He earned a Beyer Figure of 92. 

“I think he was probably a little bit against the racetrack that day,” Von Hemel said. “They were laying close and running a little different style than we’re able to do, and it probably just wasn’t our day that day in that respect. Instead of trying to tackle those same horses on that same racetrack [in the Travers], we decided to go ahead and start looking toward the Super Derby.”

Alternation’s final major prep Friday came on the main track at Arlington Park. It was the fourth-fastest of 18 works at the distance Friday. Alternation had shipped from Saratoga to Arlington late last month with his stablemate Caleb’s Posse, who won the Grade 1 King's Bishop on the Travers undercard.

Alternation will look to give Von Hemel his second Super Derby win; he also won with Going Ballistic in 2007.
There will be five stakes on the undercard next Saturday, and Von Hemel has runners pointing for two of those races. She’s All In, a multiple stakes winner, is on deck for the $100,000 River Cities for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf. Soonerette, who won a maiden special weight on the grass at Arlington, is Von Hemel’s candidate for the $100,000 Happy Ticket, a one-mile turf race for 2-year-old fillies.

The other undercard stakes are the $150,000 Sunday Silence for 2-year-olds on turf; the $100,000 Unbridled for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on turf; and the $50,000 Temperence Hill for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs. All of the races will be drawn Wednesday.

Pick four has $100,000 guaranteed

Louisiana Downs plans to offer a $100,000-guaranteed pick four on Super Derby Day, said Trent McIntosh, the director of operations for the track. All four legs will be stakes races, and the bet will include the Super Derby.

Louisiana Downs has made a couple of notable changes to this year’s Super Derby, and both can enhance field size. The race is being run about two weeks earlier than usual in an attempt to place it where it would be most effective drawing horses. Louisiana Downs is also paying back to ninth place for this year’s running of the Super Derby, with the sixth- through ninth-place finishers each earning 1 percent of the purse, or $5,000.

Yearling sale set for Sept. 27

There are 243 yearlings catalogued to the Breeders’ Sales Company of Louisiana auction Sept. 27. It will be held at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center in West Monroe, La. The sale is sponsored by the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.

Some of the top offerings include a Not For Love filly who is a half-sister to Group 1 winner Our New Recruit; a Private Vow filly who is a half-sister to multiple stakes winners Smitty’s Sunshine and Fuse It; a Run Production filly who is a full sister to recent Louisiana Cup Sprint winner My Star Runner; and an Ide filly who is a full sister to multiple stakes winner Tensas Yucatan.

Among the stallions represented are Afleet Alex, Afternoon Deelites, Alphabet Soup, Delaware Township, Eddington, Elusive Quality, Leroidesanimaux, North Light, Quiet American, Salute the Sarge, Smarty Jones, and Touch Gold.

* Purses for all overnight races at Louisiana Downs were to be boosted $1,500 a race starting this past Saturday, said McIntosh. He said a 5 percent increase in ontrack simulcast handle has made the boost possible. Louisiana Downs opened a new dining lounge area for simulcast players this meet, and had added new televisions.