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Misson Impazible Wins Saturday's Louisiana Derby
Twin Creeks Racing Stable’s Mission Impazible, allowed to settle early, commenced a rally when set down for the drive, gained the advantage in the late stages and won a hard-fought three quarter-length victory in Saturday’s $750,000 Louisiana Derby, the richest race ever run at the historic New Orleans oval.
The win by Mission Impazible, who was ridden by jockey Rajiv Maragh and was considered the weaker half of two Todd Pletcher trainees in the centerpiece event of the New Orleans Thoroughbred season, also completed a graded stakes Louisiana Derby Day training triple for the Texas native who has enjoyed unprecedented success in his relatively young career.
Earlier in the afternoon the Pletcher-trained Battle Plan, owned by Overbrook Farm and ridden by Javier Castellano, took down winning honors in the Grade II New Orleans Handicap for older horses, and then the Pletcher-trained Blues Street, owned by Anstu Stables and also ridden by Castellano, captured the Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap for older horses over the Stall-Wilson turf course in the race before the Grade II Louisiana Derby, where Pletcher’s favored Discreetly Mine finished fourth in the silks of the E. Paul Robsham Stable.
Mission Impazible returned mutuels of $16.20, $7.20 and $5, toured the nine furlongs in 1:50.32 and increased his career earnings to $512,754 with his second career win in five lifetime starts.
“It was very ideal for me the way (the race) played out,” said Maragh in post race quotes. “Todd really didn’t give a lot of instructions but he did say not to get tangled up with Discreetly Mine on the front end. The horse was always there for me, always willing to go and that made my ride much easier.
Pletcher, who was not in New Orleans, confirmed Maragh’s assessment of the situation by cell phone.
“That was kind of the way we had talked about it,” Pletcher said. “We wanted to secure a little bit of position from the inside and hopefully come away stalking the leaders and (Maragh) was able to maneuver exactly the trip we were hoping for and then he was able to find a little more down the lane.”
Edward Evans’ A Little Warm, who made the pace in the Louisiana Derby with early splits of 23.55 and 47.89, could not stay with the winner in the late stages but saved the place by a neck. He returned $8.60 and $5.80.
“You know, my horse ran huge,” said A Little Warm’s jockey David Cohen immediately after the local Derby. “It was his first time going two turns. I had pressure the whole way. Obviously the horse proved he can run with this type of company. With this underneath his belt you can imagine how fit he could be going a distance next. I look forward riding him against this kind of horses again.”
WinStar Farm’s Drosselmeyer, handicapped by the extreme outside post position, finished third, beaten a neck by A Little Warm and paid $4.20 to show.
“I had tons of trouble,” said Drosselmeyer’s jockey Kent Desormeaux. “I think I was the best. If I get through I win by three and I’m the favorite for the Kentucky Derby. Now I won’t even get to ride him.”
The order of finish was completed by favored Discreetly Mine, Stay Put, Ron the Greek, The Program, Mister Marti Gras, Fly Down, Wow Wow Wow, Hotep, Island Soul and Backtrack.
Racing resumes Sunday for the 85th and final day of Fair Grounds’ 2009-2010 Thoroughbred Racing Season Presented by Miller Lite. First post for the 10-race program is 12:40 p.m.