Updated on 09/17/2011 10:03AM

No. 1 and No. 2 in La. Derby

Kafwain (above) will likely be chasing Badge of Silver on Sunday, but his jockey, Victor Espinoza, says, "I will let him come with a run like he always does."

NEW ORLEANS - In an era when small fields are the norm for major stakes races, and when trainers run and hide when they think they can't win, Sunday's $750,000 at Fair Grounds is a refreshing anomaly.

Even though Badge of Silver scored an overpowering victory here in the Risen Star Stakes last month, and vaulted to No. 2 on Daily Racing Form's Derby Watch list, the No. 1 Kentucky Derby contender, Kafwain, has shipped in from California for the race. So, too, have Peace Rules from California and Funny Cide from Florida, two others listed on the Derby Watch's top 25.

Six others entered the race Friday morning, bringing the Louisiana Derby to a surprisingly large field of 10. It is unquestionably the best Kentucky Derby prep race run so far this year.

"Looks like I scared off the competition," Bob Baffert, Kafwain's trainer, joked at Friday's post-position draw.

The Louisiana Derby, a Grade 2 race at 1 1/16 miles, is attractive not only for its large purse, but also because of a $1 million bonus offered to any horse who can win the race and then the May 3 Kentucky Derby. The race will be televised on tape delay by ESPN, beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern. All runners carry 122 pounds.

The unbeaten Badge of Silver, who has won his three starts by a combined 26 lengths, drew the outside post. He also broke from post 10, but in a 12-horse field, in the 1 1/16-mile Risen Star, which he won by 10 lengths.

"He's quick enough," said Ronny Werner, who trains Badge of Silver. "We'll see how he breaks and where he puts himself."

In the Risen Star, Badge of Silver sat just off early leader Saintly Look before drawing clear. "He's fast, but it's natural," said his jockey, Robby Albarado. "He's not aggressive."

Werner said Badge of Silver lost some weight right after the Risen Star, but that he has bounced back in the past 10 days. "He weighs 1,070 pounds, which is more than I thought he'd be," Werner said Friday. "For awhile, I didn't think he was going to run, but the last few days, he showed me he's back.

Kafwain, who drew post 5, comes off a 4 1/2-length victory in Santa Anita's seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes. A consistent colt, he has crossed the wire first or second in his last six starts. Kafwain is a large, imposing colt, and Baffert said he needs to stay active to stay fit.

"I think the race will do him good," said Baffert, who sent Kafwain here in part to keep him separated from stablemate Domestic Dispute, who runs in next Sunday's San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. "[Kafwain] needs racing. He's a big, heavy horse. He should get a lot out of it."

Victor Espinoza, who rides Kafwain, said he will employ the same patient strategy he usually uses with Kafwain, despite the scary target Badge of Silver poses.

"I don't want to try to do anything different," Espinoza said. "I'll let him come with a run like he always does. The first time I rode him, I rushed him, and he can't run that way. He likes to do his own thing at the beginning."

Funny Cide, who drew post 2, was hindered by a dreadful post position and wide trip when fifth in Gulfstream Park's Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 18. That was his only previous try around two turns. His early speed and inside post may put Funny Cide on the early lead Sunday, with Badge of Silver stalking.

"He's been training very well," said Barclay Tagg, Funny Cide's trainer. "I don't think he'll mind two turns, and I certainly don't think he'll mind a mile and a sixteenth. I feel he's a very good horse. Whether he's good enough, that's what we're going to find out."

Peace Rules is moving back to the main track after winning on turf three times in his last four starts. He also has enough speed to be a factor early, and he is drawn just inside of Badge of Silver.

Kafwain, Funny Cide, and Peace Rules are surrendering the home-field advantage to Badge of Silver and the other locally based horses. It is a significant factor, according to Tom Amoss, the trainer of Lone Star Sky, who is also an outstanding handicapper.

"Kafwain wouldn't be the first horse to ship in and not enjoy his first trip over this track. It's a tough track to ship in to," he said.

"There's no question my colt needs to take a big step forward, and the top two need to regress," Amoss said. "Badge of Silver's Risen Star was something out of the ordinary. If he does that again, no one's beating him."

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