09/11/2008 11:00PM

Super Derby field is growing


The decision by the connections of Travers runner-up Mambo in Seattle to bypass the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs next Saturday has flung the 1 1/8-mile race wide open.

"When this happened, we probably go from an eight-horse field to a 12-horse field," said Tommy Sibille, the stakes coordinator at Louisiana Downs.

Macho Again, the winner of the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga, on Friday led the early list of eight probables and six possibles for the Super Derby. Trainer Dallas Stewart said Macho Again is scheduled to fly to Louisiana on Tuesday. Macho Again breezed five furlongs at Churchill Downs on Friday in 1:01.80. Stewart said Kent Desormeaux has the mount.

Forest Command is another definite for the Super Derby, and he will be ridden by Robby Albarado, said his trainer, John Ward Jr. Forest Command will be making his stakes debut, but will start as a top contender after a commanding win against older rivals in a $75,000 optional claiming race at Saratoga on Aug. 9.

Ward said Forest Command is now based in Lexington, Ky., and is scheduled to van to Louisiana Downs. Forest Command races for John Oxley, who - along with Ward and Albarado - won the Super Derby in 2006 with Strong Contender.

"When you're crossing the creek and you know where the stepping-stones are, you try to do it again," Ward said.

Real Appeal, a fast-closing third in the Gradeo3, $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer on Aug. 2, is being pointed for the Super Derby, said trainer Tom Amoss. He is scheduled to fly in on Tuesday, and will be ridden by Gerard Melancon.

Mambo Meister was scheduled to breeze at his Calder base on Saturday, and plans are to run in the Super Derby, said his trainer, Phil Gleaves. He said that Mambo Meister, a winner of two minor stakes at Calder, is scheduled to van out of Miami for Louisiana on Sunday.

"We were looking to try the bigger purses with him all year - it was just finding the right spot to do it, and the right time to do it," said Gleaves.

Star Production, who gets a free berth into the Super Derby off his nose win in the $100,000 Prelude Breeders' Cup at Louisiana Downs, will run Saturday, said his trainer, James Hodges. Carlos Gonzalez will ride Star Production, whose other stakes win at the meet came in the $100,000 Louisiana Breeders' Derby, with a Beyer Speed Figure of 101.

Louisiana Downs officials expect the Super Derby cast also to include: Numismatist, second by a nose in the Prelude; Stungbythestorm, third in a recent allowance at Presque Isle Downs; and King Darius, a close fourth to Real Appeal in the $75,000 Alysheba at Lone Star Park.

Big Truck, the winner of the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby in March who was a troubled third as the favorite in the $150,000 Albany for New York-breds at Saratoga on Aug. 20, is among the possibles for the Super Derby.

"I'm thinking about it," said Barclay Tagg, who trains Big Truck.

Tagg said he would monitor the field for the Super Derby as well as the Grade 2, $500,000 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park on Oct. 4, then make a decision on which way to go with Big Truck. He said his other Super Derby nominee, Grade 1 winner Tale of Ekati, is being pointed for the Grade 2, $150,000 Jerome Breeders' Cup at Belmont on Oct. 5.

Another high-profile possible for the Super Derby is Smooth Air. He was a troubled third in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby in his last start on Sept. 1, and before that won the Grade 2 Ohio Derby. Trainer Bennie Stutts said Friday that Smooth Air is possible for the Super Derby but is also being considered for the $100,000 Needles for 3-year-olds on turf at his Calder base Sept. 27.

Stutts said if given permission from Calder officials, he would like to work Smooth Air on turf Monday. He said the final decision on the horse's next race would be made by owner Brian Burns, who was traveling on Friday.

Others that Louisiana Downs officials consider possible for the Super Derby are Acting Zippy, Golden Yank, My Pal Charlie, and Tiz Now Tiz Then.

The Super Derby is one of six stakes worth a cumulative $1.2 million on Saturday. Entries for the card will be taken on Wednesday. The long-range forecast for Super Derby Saturday, according to Weather.com, is for mostly sunny skies and a high of 84 degrees. The Super Derby will be part of a $100,000 guaranteed pick four. The stakes are to be shown on TVG.