Louisiana Derby Preview Day Follow-Up – Cox, Walsh & Amoss Contemplating Their Next Moves

New Orleans, La (February 20, 2023)

Brad Cox

Angel of Empire, Risen Star winner

“He came out of it in good order. He’ll stay here (at Fair Grounds) and we will look at either the Louisiana Derby, Arkansas Derby or Blue Grass with him. We were a little surprised he won. We always thought he would get better with more ground and he did. He should get the 1 /4 miles (of the Kentucky Derby) for sure. We will give him one more opportunity at either 1 1/8 miles or 1 3/16ths (Louisiana Derby). Hopefully that’s a positive race as well and then it’s on to the Derby (leading points earner with 54).”

Victory Formation, 9-5 Risen Star favorite, finished 9th

“I don’t know what to make of it. He might be a Pat Day Mile type horse, or maybe he just needs the lead. The post the other day (didn’t help). We wanted to give him an opportunity to sit off a horse. I don’t know if Flavien (jockey Prat) could have even have gotten to the lead. The horses to the inside were pretty intent on getting there. He had to sit off a few and never really traveled up the backside like he was taking him anywhere. He just kind of run even. He came out of it good. He’s always been a sound horse. We will come up with a plan in the near future.”

Tapit’s Conquest, 4th in the Risen Star

“I thought he was a winner at the eighth pole, he just kind of leveled off a little bit late. I think he got a good bit out of it. He’s still a young horse. He’s a Tapit and then usually get better the more they go out there and do it. We will look at the Louisiana Derby with him.”

Tapit’s Shoes, 3rd in the undercard allowance race

“I think just him being in tight, between another horse and the rail probably was a good thing for him. He didn’t fight the rider. He’s another horse by Tapit who should get better with distance and the more he does it. We are excited about him. Sound horse. He’s a half to Cyberknife too, who was kind of the same way. They just need time to develop. The Louisiana Derby is in the conversation.”

Instant Coffee, winner of the Lecomte (32 Kentucky Derby points)

“The Louisiana Derby has been our plan since the Lecomte. We will stick to that. He worked by himself the other day (49.80 on Feb. 18). Just wanted to get him back in the swing of things. We weren’t looking for much. Went good, galloped out well.”

Loggins, Breeders’ Futurity runner-up

“He’s not here. He’s off the Derby trail. Down the road. He’s in light training. At this point it’s too late in the season to bring him here (Fair Grounds). We will get more serious with him when we get back to Kentucky.”

Chop Chop, 5th in the Rachel Alexandra

“The blinkers didn’t help, but I don’t think that they hurt her either. She was close to a soft pace and didn’t rally on. She came out of it in good order and we will regroup. I was thinking about maybe trying her back on the grass, but I wouldn’t rule her out for the Fair Grounds Oaks or the Ashland. She likes Keeneland. It’s kind of odd. She might be one of those horses that just needs to relax and come with a run into some pace.”

The Alys Look, Silverbulletday winner

“She breezed yesterday (49 on Feb. 19) and is on target for the Fair Grounds Oaks. We just didn’t want to dance all the dances. Wanted to have some horse left for the spring and the rest of the year and we just thought it would be the right time to give her some time between races.”

Bishops Bay, maiden winner at first asking – win 2,000

“He’s still not there mentally. Very green. Physically, he’s going to continue to grow. I really don’t know (what’s next). First-level allowance is the right approach. I wish we had a chute here. I’d love to run him 7/8ths or a one-turn mile. I think he has a big, big future and I don’t want to get in too much of a hurry with him. I think he’ll stretch. He re-rallied once he was headed and galloped out well the other day. At this point, I don’t think he has a path to the Kentucky Derby.”

First Mission, 2nd behind Bishops Bay on debut

“Based on pedigree and physical, I really look forward to stretching him out. He showed a lot the other day and I think he has a bright future. There’s a maiden special weight race going long on March 18. Back in four weeks is doable. It’s possible.”

Brendan Walsh

Pretty Mischievous, won Rachel Alexandra

“I don’t think she’s gotten the credit she deserves. She’s four for five and the one time she got beat was behind Hoosier Philly, but she learned so much that day. There was a big change in her after that. She was stuck down inside that day, first time going two turns. I just hope people give her a bit more credit from here on in. She was very impressive the day she won the Untapable here and she beat a nice filly that day in the Alys Look. We kipped the Silverbulletday and she won it. She had a busy fall. She ran three times in three months and we knew we had to miss one of these races here. Hopefully we can go on to bigger and better things. The Fair Grounds Oaks or the Ashland would be the obvious races to point to. Races like the Louisiana Derby, the Fair Grounds Oaks and the Rachel Alexandra deserve to be Grade I’s. Look at the fillies who have come through here. She’s shown a liking for this track. I’d be afraid of her. She’s bred to be a good filly and has all the attributes.”

Banishing, 5th in the undercard allowance race

“I think he got tired. We worked him the week before the Lecomte and we were going to run him that day. He caught himself and we had to scratch. We didn’t work him the following week. He did a lot of walking while that healed up. In hindsight, we worked him two 5/8ths after that and maybe it wasn’t enough. It just wasn’t smooth sailing. I thought he was fit enough. I thought we’d get away with it. He was in a good spot, and was traveling good, basically he just got tired. That was a good race. We won’t rush Banishing. We might come back for one more go, or wait until Keeneland. We will let him figure his way out as we go. He might not just be quite ready for the whole thing yet. He’s a big physical and has taken a stretch where’s he’s kind of lanky looking. I’d like to see him fill out a little more, which he will with time. I think he can be a serious horse the second half of the year. Maybe a Travers kind of horse.”

Tom Amoss

Hoosier Philly, 2-5 Rachel Alexandra favorite, finished 3rd

“There was no question that the break and her positioning early was a major contributing factor to her performance. She looks great. It’s horse racing. We will put her back in training, line them back up and we will try it again. She had time between races. That had a little something to do with it too. I don’t think we learned very much off of that race at all, other than that was not in line with her 2-year-old races. I don’t want to commit to the Fair Grounds Oaks until talking to the owners.”

Curly Jack, 8th in the Risen Star

“I was disappointed with where he was placed early in the race. That race looked like it had a lot of speed and it played out that way. I did not want to be that close (early on). If you were that close, you were out the back door at the end of the race. I was disappointed we were not more cognizant of how fast they were going. The only forward horse who really held it together was the Asmussen horse (Harlocap) and he didn’t beat us by much. I think we will probably try the Louisiana Derby because we don’t have anywhere else to go. He’s won too many races. It’s either that or sit in the barn. He’s healthy, you don’t want to do that.”



Angel of Empire at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots