07/13/2012 1:36PM

Louisiana Downs: Road to Super Derby begins in allowance route


BOSSIER CITY, La. – Sunday’s $26,000 allowance feature at Louisiana Downs brings together some of the best of the local 3-year-old crop looking at a possible start in next month’s Prelude Stakes, which in turn leads up to the meeting’s marquee event, the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby on Sept. 8. Sunday’s mile and 70-yard headliner on the main track carries no conditions and drew a field of seven 3-year-olds, with all but one having previous stakes experience.

King Coral, who has enjoyed a modest amount of success in two starts over the grass this summer, returns to the surface that produced a near-miss in the Spring Stakes at Sam Houston in March. The Allen Milligan-trained King Coral also raced on dirt when trying some of the best 3-year-olds in the region at Oaklawn Park this spring when unplaced in the Smarty Jones Stakes and the Grade 3 Southwest. He should find the opposition on Sunday considerably easier and rates as the one to beat.

Hurricane Bluff, winner of the Inaugural Stakes at Evangeline Downs in April but a tiring sixth most recently when facing fellow Louisiana-breds in the Rajun Cajun Stakes, will attempt to rebound as he tries two turns for the first time. He has a fine turn of early foot and most likely represents the controlling speed in Sunday’s feature. Kirk LeBlanc, aboard for the Inaugural win, journeys up front his Evangeline base to handle the riding chores.

Big Lucky is the only member of Sunday’s cast without stakes experience in four career starts, and he may also have the most room to develop. He comes into the race with some solid turf form, including a runner-up performance in allowance company in his most recent start. Leading trainer Tony Richey has given Mark Guidry the call.

Four Joes also has some attractive form of late, finishing second in the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Mile at Evangeline on June 30. He was a second-level allowance winner at Louisiana Downs the start before at Sunday’s mile and 70-yard distance. Leading rider Richard Eramia once again will be in the saddle.