09/29/2005 12:00AM

You'll get a price in this Super Derby

Email

BOSSIER CITY, La. - This one's for the bettors.

The Super Derby has had its share of short-priced winners, with horses like Alysheba, Sunday Silence, and Tiznow among the 12 winning favorites in 25 runnings of the richest race of the meet at Louisiana Downs. But this year, there is no such standout among the 10 horses in the Grade 2, $750,000 race. Real Dandy was made the 7-2 favorite on the morning-line, the highest morning-line favorite in the history of the race, which has had 14 odds-on favorites since its debut in 1980.

A Grade 3 winner, is the field's most proven horse, and among those he will face are Nolan's Cat, who as a maiden ran third in the Belmont Stakes; Smokescreen, third in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby; and A.P. Arrow, the lone starter with a win at 1 1/4 miles, the distance of this year's Super Derby.

Others of interest include , who pushed Lost in the Fog in the Grade 1 King's Bishop; Desert Breeze, who invades for trainer Todd Pletcher; Silver Haze, a two-time stakes winner; and Royal Saint, who has won his last four starts, all at Louisiana Downs.

"It's an evenly matched bunch," said Cole Norman, who trains Royal Saint. "I could be wrong about this, but I think your top five finishers are going to be close."

Real Dandy has raced exclusively in stakes since February and has never failed to pick up a check, even against horses such as Afleet Alex and Flower Alley. Real Dandy's biggest win came two starts ago, when he rallied from well back and went wide on the final turn in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby.

"You're always happy to have him to lead over," said Steve Asmussen, who trains Real Dandy. "He's performed creditably against the best 3-year-olds out there; he's beat some very good 3-year-olds. He does his thing. He catches everybody he can.

"I'm happy about drawing the 1-hole. I think it will put him closer."

won his maiden in his last start, when he stalked the pace in a 1 1/8-mile race at Saratoga. He was outfitted with blinkers for the first time.

"I tried to get him in the race a little quicker," said trainer Dale Romans.

Romans has given the mount to John Jacinto, the leading rider at Louisiana Downs. Nolan's Cat will break from post 2.

"I think he'll settle back and make one run," said Romans.

Smokescreen closed from farther back than usual in the Pennsylvania Derby.

"I think he'll be midpack," said Ben Perkins Jr., who trains Smokescreen. "He has a good kind of cruising speed, so I think he'll be a little closer."

Royal Saint can also stalk, but if the pace is too slow, he can race toward the front, too, said Norman. A.P. Arrow, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, will be farther back than when he won at 1 1/4 miles, against maidens at Churchill Downs in May.

"Generally, he lays back, probably midpack or beyond, and then makes a run," said Lukas.

The horse they all will be chasing is The Daddy, who makes his two-turn debut after a pair of smashing sprint wins and a fourth-place finish in the King's Bishop.

"We want to be on the lead," said Greg Norman, who owns The Daddy. "We have no problem setting the pace and having the others trying to pick us up either on the backside or down the lane."

Military Major also is stretching out around two turns, but the plan is to stalk, said his trainer, Michael Caraman. Military Major is cross-entered in the $50,000 Donnie Wilhite, one of three undercard stakes, but will go in the Super Derby.

"He's got a little bit of speed, and he's bred for a distance," said Caraman. "I think he's going to absolutely love stretching out."

The Super Derby, which has a post time of 4:06 p.m. Central, will air live on ESPN and is the second leg of Saturday's NTRA National Pick 4.

The field

Super Derby
Purse: $750,000; 1 1/4 miles; Grade 2

PPHORSEJOCKEYODDS
1Real DandyS. Bridgmohan7-2
2Nolan's CatJ. Jacinto6-1
3Kilates KissC. Gonzalez30-1
4Military MajorJ. Burningham30-1
5Royal SaintG. Smith6-1
6SmokescreenM. Luzzi4-1
7Silver HazeE. Perrodin12-1
8The DaddyP. Morales6-1
9Desert BreezeC. DeCarlo9-2
10A.P. ArrowC. Lanerie9-2

* Track morning line odds, all starters carry 124 lbs.
* Television: Saturday, 4-6 p.m. (Eastern), ESPN