02/24/2005 12:00AM

Super Derby gets longer, richer


Louisiana Downs has boosted the purse of the Grade 2 Super Derby to $750,000 for its 2005 running, and has also increased the distance of the race to 1 1/4 miles. For the past eight years, the Super Derby - the track's premier race - has been worth $500,000, and since 2002 it has been run over 1 1/8 miles.

The Super Derby will be run on Oct. 1, and be telecast live on ESPN.

Louisiana Downs, which operates a slots casino, also announced on Thursday that daily purses for the upcoming meet have been increased from $187,000 a program to $210,000 and released its stakes schedule. The meet will have its earliest opening since 1996 this year, with the season set to begin on April 29. Louisiana Downs will race 93 days through Oct. 9.

The purse of the Super Derby was $750,000 from 1992 through 1996, and $1 million from 1987 through 1991. In its early years, it was worth $500,000. Louisiana Downs installed slot machines in 2003.

"These are exciting times," said Ray Tromba, vice president of racing operations for Louisiana Downs. "Three years ago when Harrah's purchased Louisiana Downs, I said then it would take three to five years to stabilize the racing program and then try to grow it. I'm happy to say we're seeing some decent strides now as we turn the corner on this year."

Tromba said the purse of the Super Derby was boosted only after an increase for overnight purses was established for 2005.

"We had to do better for the entire racing program," said Tromba.

The Super Derby, now the second richest race in Louisiana behind the $1 million Delta Jackpot, had been run at 1 1/4 miles from 1980 to 2001.

"Returning to the classic distance of 1 1/4 miles is obviously a better fit for any prospective 3-year-olds looking for more, i.e., the Breeders' Cup," said Tromba.

The Super Derby is also being run about a week later this year in an effort to allow for the best possible spacing between other fall races for 3-year-olds and the Breeders' Cup.

There will be three other stakes on the Super Derby undercard, and the purse for one of them, the Harrah's Juvenile on turf, was boosted from $75,000 to $125,000 with the addition of Breeders' Cup funds. Other races of interest include the stakes that will make up the Louisiana Breeders' Festival on Sept. 17. There will be eight statebred stakes for Thoroughbreds and four for Quarter Horses, with total purses on the day of $880,000.

In all, 63 stakes worth slightly more than $4 million will be decided. Tromba said daily first post has been moved up this meet to 1:30 p.m. Central.

2005 stakes schedule

Fri.,April 29John Franks Memorial3YO & Up*1 mile (T)$50,000
Sat.,April 30Alliance3YO & Up1 1/16 miles (T)50,000
Sun.,May 1Fantasia3YO F*6 furlongs50,000
Sat.,May 7HoneymoonF&M, 3YO & Up1 mile (T)50,000
Sat.,May 14Suthern AccentF&M, 3YO & Up6 furlongs50,000
Sun.,May 15Excalibur3YO1 mile (T)50,000
Sat.,May 21Dixie Miss3YO F6 furlongs50,000
Sat.,May 28Chapel Belle3YO F1 mile (T)50,000
Sun.,May 29Kings Court3YO & Up6 furlongs50,000
Mon.,May 30Barksdale Handicap3YO & Up1 mile (T)50,000
Sat.,June 4Old South HandicapF&M, 3YO & Up1 1/16 miles (T)50,000
Sun.,June 5Arcadia3YO*6 furlongs50,000
Sat.,June 11Bossier City Handicap3YO1 1/16 miles (T)50,000
Sat.,June 18Ark-La-Tex Handicap3YO & Up1 1/16 miles50,000
Sun.,June 19Fleur de LisF&M, 3YO & Up1 mile, 70 yards40,000
Sat.,June 25Rebel2YO F5 furlongs40,000
Sun.,June 26Pioneer2YO5 furlongs40,000
Sat.,July 2Total Rewards 3YO & Up5 furlongs (T) 50,000
Mon.,July 4Independence Handicap 3YO & Up1 1/16 miles (T)50,000
Sat.,July 9Lorelei3YO F1 1/16 miles50,000
Sat.,July 16Airline3YO6 furlongs50,000
Sun.,July 17Hallowed DreamsF&M, 3YO & Up*6 furlongs50,000
Sat.,July 23Southern Belle2YO F*5 1/2 furlongs50,000
Sun.,July 24DelicadaF&M, 3YO & Up1 1/16 miles50,000
Sat.,July 30Island Whirl Handicap3YO & Up6 furlongs50,000
Sun.,July 31Southern Beau2YO*5 1/2 furlongs50,000
Sat.,Aug. 6Senorita3YO F1 1/16 miles (T)50,000
Sun.,Aug. 7Blue Skies Handicap3YO & Up1 mile, 70 yards40,000
Sat.,Aug. 13Minstrel2YO6 furlongs50,000
Sun.,Aug. 14Sangue HandicapF&M, 3YO & Up7 1/2 furlongs (T)50,000
Sat.,Aug. 20Elge Rasberry (Sales Graduate)3YO F*1 mile (T)75,000
Sun.,Aug. 21A. L. (Red) Erwin (Sales Graduate)3YO*1 mile (T)75,000
Sat.,Aug. 27Folklore Handicap3YO & Up6 1/2 furlongs50,000
Sun.,Aug. 28Princess2YO F6 furlongs50,000
Sat.,Sept. 3Lyrique Handicap3YO F1 1/16 miles (T)50,000
Sun.,Sept. 4Sport City Handicap3YO & Up1 1/4 miles (T)50,000
Mon.,Sept. 5Prelude3YO1 1/16 miles50,000
Sat.,Sept. 10River Cities Breeders' CupF&M, 3YO & Up1 1/16 miles (T)100,000
Sun.,Sept. 11South Mississippi3YO & Up (MS)7 furlongs40,000
Fri.,Sept. 16Alabama BelleF&M, 3YO & Up**6 furlongs55,000
Sat.,Sept. 17Stardust2YO*6 furlongs60,000
Sat.,Sept. 17Cajun3YO & Up*6 furlongs60,000
Sat.,Sept. 17Shiskabob3YO & Up*1 1/16 miles (T)85,000
Sat.,Sept. 17LA Breeders' Derby3YO*1 1/16 miles85,000
Sat.,Sept. 17Laurel Lane2YO F*6 furlongs60,000
Sat.,Sept. 17VictoriaF&M, 3YO & Up*6 furlongs60,000
Sat.,Sept. 17Walmac INT'L MatchmakerF&M, 3YO & Up*1 1/16 miles (T)85,000
Sat.,Sept. 17LA. Breeders' Oaks3YO F*1 1/16 miles85,000
Sat.,Sept. 17La.-Bred Quarter Horse StakeC&G, 3YO*350 yards75,000
Sat.,Sept. 17La.-Bred Quarter Horse StakeC&G, 4YO & Up*400 yards75,000
Sat.,Sept. 17La.-Bred Quarter Horse Stake3YO F* 350 yards75,000
Sat.,Sept. 17La.-Bred Quarter Horse StakeF&M, 4YO & Up*400 yards75,000
Sun.,Sept. 18Speed Handicap3YO & Up6 furlongs40,000
Sat.,Sept. 24Lady Razorback Futurity2YO F***6 furlongs45,000
Sat.,Sept. 24Razorback FuturityC&G, 2YO***6 furlongs45,000
Sat.,Oct. 1SUPER DERBY XXVI (G2)3YO1 1/4 miles750,000
Sat.,Oct. 1Harrah's Juvenile B.C.2YO1 1/16 miles (T)125,000
Sat.,Oct. 1Marie P. DeBartolo Oaks HCP.3YO F1 1/16 miles (T)75,000
Sat.,Oct. 1Donnie Wilhite Memorial3YO1 mile (T)50,000
Sun.,Oct. 2Harrah's LA. Downs B.C. HCP.3YO & Up1 1/16 miles (T)125,000
Sun., Oct. 2Majorette HandicapF&M, 3YO & Up5 furlongs (T)40,000
Sat.,Oct. 8Lady Luck2YO F1 mile (T)50,000
Sun.,Oct. 9Cornucopia HandicapF&M, 3YO & Up1 1/16 miles (T)40,000

*La.-bred, **Al.-bred, ***Ark.-bred