Jockey Kent Desormeaux will climb aboard morning line favorite My Boy Jack (post 9, 5-2) for his brother Keith in today’s Louisiana Derby, attempting to secure a place in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2018.
The Desormeaux brothers last teamed up on a serious Derby contender two years ago, finishing second with Exaggerator behind Nyquist in the 2016 run for the roses. My Boy Jack, by Creative Cause out of a Mineshaft mare, is a closer who is coming off a 4 1/2 length win in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes. As there appears to be an abundance of speed signed up today, My Boy Jack should get a perfect setup to make a late run from the 9 post.
Bravazo (post 1, 7-2) and Noble Indy (post 2, 7-2) are the co-second choices. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher, respectively, both will pose a formidable challenge. Bravzo gets a rider change from Miguel Mena to Hall of Famer Gary Stevens after Mena broke his ankle in a spill at Fair Grounds on March 15. Bravazo was the upset winner of the Risen Star, which was run over the Fair Grounds dirt course last month. His win was not expected, as I discussed here, but the manner in which he did it was a surprise. This guy, who had excelled coming from off the pace, pressed the pacesetter Snapper Sinclair (post 7, 9-2) throughout the race and won by a nose. Stevens is familiar with this guy, however, and with a hot early pace and an inside post, Bravazo may struggle to work out the type of trip that he will need to win.
Noble Indy disappointed in the Risen Star, and Pletcher will add blinkers for this race in an attempt to keep him more focused. This lightly raced son of Take Charge Indy is talented but may also be up against it from a trip perspective. Leaving from the 2-post, Jockey Johnny Velazquez will have to make a decision whether to go to the front and join the other early speed horses who will be gunning for the lead from his outside – Retirement Fund (post 5, 12-1), Hyndford (another Pletcher charge, post 6, 8-1), Snapper Sinclair and Dark Templar (post 10, 12-1). If Johnny V. chooses to back off, he will have to make his way toward the outside and then make a wide run coming out of the last turn to overtake the early leaders.
Unless Snapper Sinclair can prove to be the “speed of the speed” and put away the other speed horses early on – which is more than a reasonable possibility – this race, on paper, sets up for a closer. My Boy Jack should have no excuses, but if Bravazo can work out a trip, he’s talented enough to win as well. But the pick here is the favorite, My Boy Jack.
Good luck at the races!