09/05/2013 2:41PM

Super Derby: Departing has much in his favor

Barbara D. Livingston
Based on his romp in the West Virginia Derby, Departing will be a short price in Saturday's Super Derby.

BOSSIER CITY, La. – Departing overwhelmed his competition last month when he won the West Virginia Derby by 8 3/4 lengths. He’ll be odds-on for an encore performance Saturday in the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.

“He’s definitely the horse to beat,” said Dan Peitz, who trains rival Bashaar.

Departing is a multiple graded stakes winner of more than $1 million. He is by one of the planet’s hottest stallions in War Front, and goes for connections who have won the Super Derby. Departing is also still an improving horse, according to trainer Al Stall Jr.

“He’s on the upswing, there’s no question about that,” Stall said. “Since the Preakness, he’s really been on the upswing – the way he trains, just everything about him. He does everything a little better. He’s stronger in his gallops, his breezes. And his last race was explosive. He’s just starting to mature.”

While the scales are decidedly tipped in Departing’s favor Saturday, he will still have to run down Cameo Appearance, who has a chance to shake loose under Patrick Valenzuela. Departing could also be challenged late by Bashaar, fourth against some of the nation’s best 3-year-olds in the Jim Dandy. Departing will also be rematched with Ruler of Love and Holiday Mischief, each of whom have finished second to him in stakes.

The mile and an eighth Super Derby is one of six stakes worth a total of $950,000 on the richest program of the meet. The card also features a $100,000-guaranteed pick four, with the all-stakes sequence to start in eighth, the $100,000 Happy Ticket for 2-year-old fillies. The bet, which has a 50-cent minimum, ends with the Super Derby. There is a special first post of 12 p.m. Central.

Departing came into the Preakness off a 3 1/4-length win in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne. He was unable to reproduce that effort at Pimlico, however, finishing sixth behind wire-to-wire winner Oxbow. Departing did not resurface until last month, in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer.

“We were confident going in there off the way he trained,” Stall said. “You never expect to win by a margin like that, but we thought he was going to run a really big race.”

Robby Albarado, who won the Super Derby with Strong Contender in 2006, has a return mount on Departing. Stall, a two-time winner of the Super Derby, with My Pal Charlie (2008) and Apart (2010), trains Departing for Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, the partnership that took the 1998 Super Derby with Arch. Dilschneider also won the race with Apart.

Cameo Appearance will be making his first start at two turns, and his first on dirt. He was third in the $66,000 Straight Line, a one-turn mile on Polytrack at Arlington, in his last start Aug. 17. Prior to that he was a was a front-running winner of a pair of main-track sprints at Arlington.

“He’s supposed to be better on the dirt,” said trainer Wayne Catalano. “As far as pedigree, we thought he’d be a dirt horse. But he’s run so well on [synthetic] that we hadn’t tried dirt.”

Catalano said he’s hopeful the horse will handle the added distance based on what he saw in the Straight Line. The trainer will also send out Treasury Bill, runner-up in the Grade 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita in February.

Bashaar rallied in the Jim Dandy, finishing 8 1/4 lengths behind the winner, Palace Malice.

“I thought we would have been a little more competitive than we were, [but] he kind of had an inside trip and that was a little something different for him,” Peitz said. “He might have been closer than he normally is; he was probably a little more forward.

“But I liked the results of the Travers. All the horses that finished in front of him came back and ran well in the Travers, so that probably means the Jim Dandy was a pretty solid race.”

Will Take Charge and Moreno, second and third in the Jim Dandy, returned to run one-two in the Travers. Palace Malice, meanwhile, finished a close fourth.

Bashaar will break from the rail under Channing Hill.

Holiday Mischief earned a fees-paid berth in the Super Derby for his head win in the $100,000 Prelude at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 3.

“I thought it was a really game effort,” said co-owner and trainer Joe Offolter. “He was just determined. He’s been a later-maturing kind of horse, and hopefully he’s going in the right direction. I think he’s probably even put on some weight since the last race.”

Cliff Berry has the mount.

The field is completed by Runaway Stephen, third in the Prelude.

ashley_jessica1 More than 1 year ago
like Margaret responded I'm impressed that any one able to earn $6195 in 4 weeks on the computer. have you read this site link....w­w­w.b­a­y­8­7.c­o­m
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Best bet is pick 3 or 4. With departing as a single. Hard to single a horse that doesn't have any earl speed,but today I would,outside post will allow for a clean trip.
Sharon Lyda More than 1 year ago
I am always a little leary of horses that run so hard and maybe do not get enough rest. This surface seems to favor off pace horses in the two turns and I see Cameo going out first with Ruler of Love and maybe tiring each other while Departing and Bashaar will be poised at the top of the stretch for a duel. The spoiler may be Holiday Mischief great speed at 1m16 last trip.
Steve Lonberger More than 1 year ago
Dont forget this race produced a breeders cup classic winner the next year. As matter of fact the horse pulled one of biggest upsets in breeders cup. Blame finished second here by one length and 3/4 then came back next year to beat Zenyatta. Same connections of Departing; since this horse is a gelding they might have another powerful 4 yr. old. Hope this horse wins and then maybe go to Churchill and face olders in the Clark before year is out. A.K.A same way they took Blame.
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
Blame was the 2nd choice at 5-1 in that BC Classic. That doesn't qualify as an upset in my book.
Felton Suthon More than 1 year ago
Can't access PPs - expired
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
The "crack" DRF team at work again !
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
They've been expired since about 1am and are still expired. Nice job DRF.com!
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Kip Sudduth More than 1 year ago
Ann More than 1 year ago
Race has been an Also-Rans' Derby since it was cut back from 10f. When was 10f, it had winners like Tiznow, Arch, Sunday Silence, Deputy Commander, Editor's Note, Soul of the Matter,... Of its 9f winners, only Ten Most Wanted ever became a G1 winner.
Tom Jackson More than 1 year ago
Free House...
Philip C More than 1 year ago
Seeking the Gold
akhiym james More than 1 year ago
It's sad that this race has become a race for horses that aren't top class three year olds. With the $1 million PA Derby this month it really doesn't attract the big name top class horses anymore. Hopefully a really good horse can use this race in the future as a springboard to bigger races and revive it. This race was won by some very good horses. Y'all are right should go back to 10f
Steve Lonberger More than 1 year ago
Dont forget Blame won bc Classic over Zenyatta and several other G1s
Ann Ferland More than 1 year ago
Blame wasn't among the top 3yos in the spring and summer; he won the restricted Curlin S at Saratoga in his first stakes try. After the Super Derby, he beat older horses not good enough for the BC Classic in the Fayette H at Kee, then beat some decent older horses in the Clark H at CD. IMHO he would have beaten the more experienced Regal Ransom in the Super Derby if it had been 10f. Or if the early pace had not been so glacial (49, 1:13). but beating Regal Ransom, who had been comprehensively defeated by the top 3yos would not have given him much status. I seem to have wandered from the point. When if was 10f, the Super Derby attracted classic-type horses -Sunny's Halo, Gate Dancer, Creme Fraiche, Precisionist, Unbridled, Concern, Alysheba, etc. Since it became 9f, it has, for the most part, attracted horses who didn't have so much luck against the big boys or are late developers.
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
Good Luck to all.