03/23/2011 3:17PM

Louisiana Downs moves Super Derby to Sept. 10


The Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby will be run about two weeks earlier than usual this year, on Sept. 10, in the most significant change made to the $2.6 million Louisiana Downs stakes schedule released Wednesday. The 84-date meet opens May 6 and continues through Sept. 25.

The Super Derby, at 1 1/8 miles, is the richest of 28 stakes to be run at the Bossier City, La., track. Its date was repositioned for a couple of different reasons, said Trent McIntosh, director of operations for Louisiana Downs.

“We weighed what date works best on the national racing calendar, where we would be the biggest thing out there on that day,” he said. “It really puts us in a good position.”

McIntosh noted that last year, the Super Derby and the Pennsylvania Derby ran on the same date. This year, the Super Derby will again anchor a card of six stakes worth $1 million. Other top races on the program include a pair of one-mile turf races for 2-year-olds, the $150,000 Sunday Silence and the $100,000 Happy Ticket for fillies. Last year, those races were worth a respective $100,000 and $75,000.

“We increased a couple of the undercard stakes purses on that day, too, to try and get people to bring multiple horses,” said McIntosh.

Louisiana Downs has grouped most of its stakes into four major cards. The first is Prelude Day on Aug. 6. The program of four stakes worth $250,000 includes the $100,000 Prelude, which offers its winner a berth into the Super Derby.

Louisiana Cup Day, a $570,000 program of eight divisional stakes for Louisiana-breds, is Aug. 20. The card was held in the spring last meet, but moves back to a fall date. The $600,000 Southern Showcase card of six restricted stakes is Sept. 24.

Purses are projected to average $150,000 a day. Louisiana Downs opens its stable area Friday.