08/01/2013 3:40PM

Louisiana Downs: Sunbean using Prelude to gain Super Derby spot


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The $100,000 Prelude at Louisiana Downs on Saturday is about more than just purse money. The race is a prep for next month’s Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby, and the winner will receive a fees-paid berth into the the race, the richest of the meet. It’s a perk worth $6,000.

The Prelude shares a card with three other stakes, and the races are worth a cumulative $250,000. They are all designed as stepping-stones to stakes on the Super Derby Day card Sept. 7.

Sunbean could go favored over Carve in the seven-horse Prelude off his 5 3/4-length win in the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Mile at Evangeline Downs on July 6. The race came against Louisiana-breds, and while Sunbean will be leaving such rivals behind Saturday, the Beyer Speed Figure of 96 that he earned is the best career number in the 1 1/16-mile Prelude.

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“For the owner and myself, we’d love to see a statebred compete in graded stakes company,” said Ron Faucheux, who trains Sunbean for Brittlyn Stable. “If he performs the way we think he can and comes out of it the right way, we’d strongly consider the Super Derby.”

Sunbean stalked and rolled in the Louisiana Legends Mile, covering the distance in a 1:35.60. It was the third stakes win for the horse, who this past winter won the Gentilly and Louisiana Futurity at Fair Grounds.

“The last race he was sharper and closer to the pace, and we expect the same type of race from him,” said Faucheux.

Sunbean is based at the Evangeline Downs Training Center near Lafayette, La. He arrived at Louisiana Downs on Wednesday, and while he shows no published works since his career effort last out, he has had some pacing drills for the Prelude, said Faucheux.

“We’ve two-minute-licked him several times, tried to keep him fresh going into the race,” he said.

Corey Lanerie has the mount on Sunbean, a son of Brahms and one of five stakes winners from the mare X Strawdnair.

Carve enters the Prelude off a third-place finish in the $107,000 Long Branch at Monmouth Park on July 7. Earlier in the year, he was third in the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby. Richard Eramia has the mount on the horse, who is owned by Michael Langford and trained by Steve Asmussen.

Holiday Mischief will return to racing with 3-year-olds after missing by a head when he faced older horses last out in a second-level allowance at Lone Star Park. Before that race, he was second to eventual Illinois Derby winner Departing in the Texas Heritage at Sam Houston. Cliff Berry rides for trainer Joe Offolter.

Adding further depth to the Prelude is Hardrock Eleven, who has placed in four stakes and comes off an allowance win over older horses at Louisiana Downs.

Cheyenne Pass tries a stakes

Faucheux, who is winning with 35 percent of his starters this meet at Louisiana Downs, will send win machine Cheyenne Pass into the stakes ranks for the $50,000 Barksdale, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up. The Barksdale should produce starters for the $100,000 Unbridled. Others in the Barksdale include defending champ Go Tiger Jack and Class President, a full brother to Grade 1 winner Student Council.

◗ Sammie’s Touch will be out to build on her 12-length maiden win when she starts in the $50,000 Donnie Wilhite Memorial, a 7 1/2-furlong turf race for 2-year-old fillies that serves as a prep for the $100,000 Happy Ticket.

◗ Time Iz Flyin, another 12-length maiden winner, leads the cast for the $50,000 Sunny’s Halo, a 7 1/2-furlong turf race for 2-year-olds that should produce starters for the $100,000 Sunday Silence.