Updated on 09/04/2013 4:44PM

Super Derby: Departing, Bashaar need pace assistance

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Departing will be a heavy favorite in Saturday's Grade 2 Super Derby.

BOSSIER CITY, La. – The trainers of Departing and Bashaar, the top two choices for the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Saturday, are both hoping for an honest pace in the mile and an eighth race, which drew seven horses when entries were taken Wednesday.

The Super Derby, which will have its 34th running Saturday, is the centerpiece of the meet. It anchors a card of six stakes worth a cumulative $950,000. The Super Derby goes as the 11th race on a 13-race program, with an approximate post of 5:15 p.m. Central. It is the final leg of a $100,000-guaranteed, all-stakes pick four on races 8-11.

Departing, who will break from post 7, is even-money on the morning line, while Bashaar, who drew the rail, is 7-2. Departing comes into the race off an 8 3/4-length win in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby.

“He’s done better coming from off the pace a little bit,” said Al Stall Jr., who trains Departing for Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider. “This will be a smaller race-field than he’s run in as far as number of horses, and we might keep him a little closer than he was in some of those big fields.”

Robby Albarado has the mount on Departing.

Bashaar comes off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga July 27.

“I’m a little worried about what kind of pace we’re going to have,” said Dan Peitz, who trains Bashaar for Shadwell Stable. “It would be a benefit if we have a little setup. I don’t know if we’re going to get that. The smaller the field the less likely that we’re going to get an honest enough pace. That’s a concern.”

Channing Hill has the mount on Bashaar.

The role of pacemaker could fall to Cameo Appearance, who will be making his two-turn debut under jockey Patrick Valenzuela. He will break from post 6. Cameo Appearance exits the $66,000 Straight Line at Arlington Park on Aug. 17, a one-turn mile race in which he pressed the pace and finished third.

“I’m not sure how the race will set up,” said Wayne Catalano, who trains Cameo Appearance. “We’re going to take in the post position draw and then talk strategy.” 

Ruler of Love is another candidate to set the tempo Saturday. He led the West Virginia Derby field through six furlongs in 1:11.60 in his last start before finishing second to Departing. Ruler of Love will break from post 5 under Scott Spieth. He is trained by Joan Scott.

Holiday Mischief, winner of the $100,000 Prelude at Louisiana Downs in his most recent start Aug. 3, brings tactical speed into the Super Derby. He will break from post 2 under Cliff Berry.

“He’s a horse that if they go slow, he can be on the lead,” said Joe Offolter, who trains Holiday Mischief.

“But I would like to see a fast pace. I think he’s kind of [best] stalking.”

The complete Super Derby field from the rail with riders and odds is: Bashaar, Hill, 7-2; Holiday Mischief, Berry, 10-1; Runaway Stephen, Chris Rosier, 20-1; Treasury Bill, Richard Eramia, 10-1; Ruler of Love, Spieth, 6-1; Cameo Appearance, Valenzuela, 8-1; Departing, Albarado, 1-1.

Other highlights of the card include Grade  2 winner Gantry’s comeback in the $50,000 Temperence Hill for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs, and an appearance by Artemus Kitten, the runner-up in the Grade 3 Modesty at Arlington, in the $100,000 River Cities.

There is a special first post of 12 p.m. Central on Saturday. The forecast is for partly cloudy skies and a high of 95, according to weather.com. The Super Derby is scheduled to be shown on TVG, according to Louisiana Downs spokesman Travis Stone.

Super Derby
Purse: $500,000; 1 1/8 miles; Grade 2
1, Bashaar, Channing Hill, 7-2
2, Holiday Mischief, Cliff Berry, 10-1
3, Runaway Stephen, Chris Rosier, 20-1
4, Treasury Bill, Richard Eramia, 10-1
5, Ruler of Love, Scott Spieth, 6-1
6, Cameo Appearance, Patrick Valenzuela, 8-1
7, Departing, Robby Albarado, 1-1
Track odds