Intense Holiday one to beat in Louisiana Derby


New Orleans, LA ( - Risen Star Stakes winner Intense Holiday heads a field of 10 3-year-olds in Saturday's 101st Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Race Course.

Winning the 1 1/8-mile, $1 million Louisiana Derby, part of the Kentucky Derby points system, will be worth 100 points and will secure a spot in the starting field for the Run for the Roses on May 3.


Intense Holiday, owned by Starlight Racing, has drawn the inside post and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The colt again will have Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the saddle. Trainer Todd Pletcher won last year's renewal with Revolutionary.

The colt notched his first stakes win with the Risen Star and pocketed $240,000. It was his second career victory in seven starts and has earned $351,900.

"There's a lot of room to improve there and a lot of room to grow," said Smith after winning the Risen Star.

Intense Holiday was coming off a third behind Cairo Prince in Gulfstream Park's Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 25. As a 2-year-old he was fifth in the Champagne with a pair of fourth-place finishes in the Nashua and Remsen Stakes


The 4-1 co-second selections for Saturday are Gotham Stakes third-place finisher In Trouble and Vicar's in Trouble, who was third behind Intense Holiday in the Risen Star.

In Trouble will be ridden by Joe Rocco Jr. from post 9 and Vicar's in Trouble will break from post 6 with Rosie Napravnik riding.

Risen Star runner-up Albano has been placed as the 9-2 third pick in the 10- horse field. The colt drew the far outside post with jockey Kerwin Clark.

Here is the field for the Louisiana Derby from the rail out: Intense Holiday, Mike Smith, 2-1; King Cyrus, James Graham, 15-1; Louies Flower, Miguel Mena, 20-1; Flat Gone, Kent Desormeaux, 50-1; Gold Hawk, Shaun Bridgmohan, 12-1; Vicar's in Trouble, Rosie Napravnik, 4-1; Commanding Curve, Robby Albarado, 20-1; Rise Up, Gerard Melancon, 10-1; In Trouble, Joe Rocco Jr., 4-1 and Albano, Kerwin Clark, 9-2.

Post time for the Louisiana Derby is approximately 7:10 p.m. ET.


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