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Three Louisiana Derby Runners in Belmont Stakes; OTBs Open Early Saturday for Superb Betting Card

Fair Grounds OTBs Open Early Saturday at 9:30 a.m. for Superb Belmont Day Card

Whatever Saturday’s 142nd Belmont Stakes lacks in terms of star power without Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and Preakness Stakes hero Lookin at Lucky, it more than makes up for as a horseplayer’s gambling smorgasbord, with a large and competitive field that appears tailor made to provide a longshot winner and juicy payoffs.

Three of the Belmont starters are already known to Fair Grounds faithful from their Louisiana Derby runs: Fly Down, ninth in the Louisiana Derby, who went on to win the Dwyer Stakes at Belmont for trainer Nick Zito; Drosselmeyer, the Dwyer runner-up who was third with a tough trip in the Louisiana Derby for Bill Mott; and Stay Put, the impressive Fair Grounds allowance winner who finished fifth in the Louisiana Derby for Steve Margolis. Both Mott, a Hall of Famer, and Margolis, who finished sixth in the 2009-2010 Fair Grounds trainer standings, were stabled in New Orleans throughout the winter.  

The 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes—longest of the Triple Crown races and therefore known as the “Test of the Champion”—is the centerpiece on what is always one of the year’s best betting cards with 13 races, including six graded stakes. In addition to the Belmont, three others are Grade I events: the Manhattan for the best turf horses in the country, the Acorn for 3-year-old fillies and the Just a Game for female turf milers.

Gates at Fair Grounds and all Fair Grounds OTBs open early Saturday at 9:30 a.m. CDT, about one hour prior to Belmont Park’s first post at 10:35 a.m. CDT. The Belmont Stakes is set for 5:32 p.m. CDT and will be featured at all Fair Grounds OTBs. Advance wagering on the Belmont Day card will open Friday morning.

Ice Box, the Florida Derby winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up, drew post position No. 6 and was installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite in a field of 12 promising 3-year-olds. First Dude, the Preakness runner-up, was made the 7-2 second choice and will break from post 11.  

Of the Louisiana Derby horses, Fly Down is being given the most consideration by the morning line oddsmaker as the 9-2 third choice following his impressive Dwyer win. Drosselmeyer is listed at 12-1 and Stay Put, the first Triple Crown starter for Margolis and his primary owners--Richard, Bertram & Elaine Klein—is 20-1.  

The last Louisiana Derby starter to win the Belmont was Risen Star, who won both races, as well as the Preakness, in 1988.

Jockeys with local ties include Jamie Theriot, fourth in the Fair Grounds standings last season, aboard Stay Put; Calvin Borel, native Louisianan and three-time Kentucky Derby winner, on Dave in Dixie (20-1); Rajiv Maragh, who rode Mission Impazible to victory in this year’s Louisiana Derby, will be aboard Uptowncharlybrown (10-1); and Javier Castellano, winner of three major Fair Grounds stakes this past season, will be up on Interactif.  

Todd Pletcher, trainer of Kentucky Derby hero Super Saver and winner of four out of Fair Grounds’ five Grade II races this year, conditions Interactif (12-1), and Dale Romans, who had stalls here this winter and won the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks with Quiet Temper, is the trainer of First Dude.  

The Belmont field also includes turf stakes winner Make Music for Me (10-1), Lone Star Derby winner Game On Dude (10-1), Blue Grass Stakes winner and Kentucky Derby eighth Stately Victor (15-1) and Withers third Spangled Star (30-1).  

Fair Grounds Grade II Stakes Winners Quiet Temper, Discreetly Mine on Belmont Undercard

E. Paul Robsham Stables’ Discreetly Mine, winner of Fair Grounds’ Grade II Risen Star Stakes before a fourth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby, will be one of the favorites in Saturday’s Grade II Woody Stephens for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs on the Belmont Stakes undercard. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Javier Castellano, the son of Mineshaft finished a troubled 13th in the Kentucky Derby.  
 
Mark Stanley’s Quiet Temper, winner of the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks, will attempt to avenge her eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks in the Grade I Acorn for 3-year-old fillies at one mile.
 
Here’s a complete list of Fair Grounds horses racing in Saturday’s six graded stakes at Belmont:

Race 6—The Grade II Woody Stephens—For 3-year-olds at seven furlongs

  • Discreetly Mine, winner of the Feb. 20 Grade II Risen Star Stakes and fourth in the March 27 Grade II Louisiana Derby

Race 9—The Grade I Acorn—For 3-year-old fillies at one mile

  • Quiet Temper, winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks for trainer Dale Romans
  • Champagne d’Oro, second in the Fair Grounds Oaks for trainer Eric Guillot 
  • Seeking the Title broke her maiden at Fair Grounds in February and finished third in the Fair Grounds Oaks for trainer Dallas Stewart 
  • Tidal Pool finished third in the Jan. 23 Tiffany Lass for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas

Race 10—The Grade I Manhattan—For older horses at 1 ¼ miles on turf

  • Jet Propulsion finished fourth in the March 27 Grade II Muniz Handicap for trainer Marty Wolfson

Race 11—The Grade I Belmont Stakes—For 3-year-olds at 1 ½ miles

  • Drosselmeyer was third with a tough trip in the Louisiana Derby for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott
  • Fly Down finished ninth in the Louisiana Derby for Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito 
  • Stay Put was an impressive Fair Grounds allowance winner before finishing fifth in the Louisiana Derby for trainer Steve Margolis