08/05/2008 11:00PM

Super Derby Prelude field taking shape

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BOSSIER CITY, La. - With the arrival of August and the dog days of summer, thoughts around Louisiana Downs move forward toward the meeting's highlight, the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby in late September.

The first step to the Super Derby is the Prelude Stakes on Aug. 15. There will be $100,000 in purse money in the Prelude, and the winner will receive an all-fees-paid berth in the Super Derby.

Past winners of the Prelude who represented themselves well in the Super Derby include Big Earl, second to Sunday Silence in 1989, and Free Spirit's Joy, who defeated heavy favorite Olympio in 1991.

This year's Prelude nominations include Golden Yank, runner-up in the Grade 2 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs in June, and Maya's Storm, who crossed the wire second in the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows in late June before being disqualified and placed fifth.

Former Louisiana Downs training regular Tom Amoss nominated three to the Prelude - Real Appeal, winner of the recent Alysheba Stakes at Lone Star; Boss Lafitte, a stakes winner over grass and synthetic; and Liberty Bull, who has been on the shelf since an unplaced effort in the Arkansas Derby in mid-April.

"He needed some time off," Amoss said of Liberty Bull. "There was nothing particularly wrong with him, he just needed some time. He was pretty busy over the winter and early spring."

Stakes offers poker tournament berth

The owner of the horse who wins the $100,000 World Series of Poker Stakes at Louisiana Downs on Aug.o23 will be getting more than just 60 percent of the purse. The principal owner will also receive a free entry into the 2009 World Series of Poker tournament next summer at Rio Las Vegas, said Mark Midland, vice president of racing operations for Louisiana Downs. He said the value of the entry is $10,000.

Louisiana Downs races under the brand of Harrah's Entertainment, the casino giant that also puts on the World Series of Poker.

British Medium goes for new barn

British Medium will be making his first start for new trainer Al Stall Jr. after four previous starts on the West Coast for Richard Mandella in Friday's first-level allowance feature.

The late-developing 4-year-old Storm Cat colt won his maiden over the Hollywood turf course in early June and most recently finished a tiring seventh in an entry-level allowance on June 28.