03/16/2012 2:04PM

Louisiana Downs: Super Derby staying in newfound spot

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Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La., experimented with its Super Derby date last season by moving it up two weeks, and the Grade 2, $500,000 race will again occupy a similar spot on the calendar when it is run Sept. 8. The race is the richest of 28 stakes planned for the Thoroughbred meet that opens May 4. They are worth a cumulative $2.2 million. Louisiana Downs will race 84 days through Sept. 23.

The Super Derby will be run at 1 1/8 miles, on a card of six stakes worth $1 million. The program will include the $150,000 Sunday Silence for 2-year-olds at a mile on turf, and the $100,000 Happy Ticket for 2-year-old fillies on turf. Last year, handle on the Super Derby Day card reached $4.5 million, an increase of 21 percent over 2010. The Super Derby had previously been run in late September.

“We had some success with moving the race last year, and tried to put it back in a very similar place,” said Trent McIntosh, director of operations for Louisiana Downs. “We had a good field.”

The local prep for the Super Derby, the $100,000 Prelude at 1 1/16 miles, will be run Aug. 4. It will be one of four stakes on the card, all designed as springboard races for Super Derby Day. Other key programs include Louisiana Cup Day on Aug. 18. It features eight divisional stakes for Louisiana-breds, with the races worth a cumulative $570,000.

Purses for the meet are projected to average $155,000 a day, said McIntosh.