Hotep Enters Louisiana Derby Picture With Convincing Win

Sam-Son Farms’ Hotep proved no disappointment to those Fair Grounds fans who backed him down to odds-on favoritism in Monday’s $40,000 feature for 3-year-olds and may now have entered the long-range picture for the Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27.

Ridden by Robby Albarado and trained by Mark Frostad, Hotep was unhurried early, commenced a bold rally outside the leaders approaching the stretch and drew off late to tally by 3 1/4-lengths under intermittent urging.

The son of 1992 Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner A. P. Indy returned mutuels of $3.80, $2.60 and $2.60, accomplished the mile and 40-yard distance in 1:41.55 and increased his lifetime earnings to $77,440 with his second victory in four career starts.

After the race, Frostad was asked whether Hotep could be a Louisiana Derby horse.

“It’s definitely a possibility,” the trainer said. “We’ll just have to see how he goes. He’s got two starts in him now this year and he looks great. The next one (the Feb. 20 Risen Star Stakes) is too soon. I might well look for a race for him somewhere.”

Hotep is a full brother to 2009 Queen’s Plate winner and recently crowned Canadian Champion 3-Year-Old Male Eye of the Leopard.

“I hate to jinx anything, but this guy (Hotep) is much more athletic,” Frostad said.

Jay Em Ess Stable’s Down With Dixie, never far back, continued willingly late to gain the place, finishing a half-length in front of Carl Moore Management’s Mr. Winthrop, who was a half-length to the good of Last Mango Racing Stable’s Daddy Forty Nine.

Down With Dixie returned $3.20 and $3, while Mr. Winthrop paid $6.40 to show.

Racing resumes Friday at Fair Grounds with a nine-race program beginning at 1:10 p.m,