Bob Clancy's selections for the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby Saturday at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans:
Post time: 6:10 p.m.; Distance: 1 1/8 miles; Purse: $1 million; Forecast: Cloudy, high near 75; Kentucky Derby points to winner: 100
MO TOM (No. 6, 5-2) was rallying boldly through the lane when he checked sharply behind a tiring horse in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at this track Feb. 20. The son of Uncle Mo regained his footing and still finished third in an eye-catching performance on a track that favored front-runners that day. One month earlier, he won a Grade 3 race at the Fair Grounds despite some early trouble. Never worse than third in six starts, he could be last down the backstretch before launching his bid under Corey Lanerie. The added distance helps, especially at a track with one of the longest stretch runs in America. Two recent workouts indicate he's ready to show his best in a well-matched field of 11. A confident Tom Amoss trains this well-bred colt for Saints owner Tom Benson and his wife, Gayle.
BATTERY (No. 3, 10-1) steps way up in class off an easy victory at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 10. It is a particularly ambitious assignment, but he is the only entrant with a win at the distance and he comes in fresh after three workouts at Palm Beach Downs. Son of Bernardini is trained by Todd Pletcher (three Louisiana Derby wins) and ridden by Javier Castellano. It doesn't get any better than that.
GUN RUNNER (No. 1, 3-1) held on to win the Risen Star, his third victory in four career starts. Should save ground from the inside post, and a sharp workout last week adds to the appeal. Florent Geroux rides for Steven Asmussen.
GREENPOINTCRUSADER (No. 2, 7-2) ran second to Mohaymen at Gulfstream on Jan. 30. Only Grade 1 winner in the field, trained by Dominick Schettino might be closing fast with John Velazquez riding.
Remaining preps: Spiral: Turfway Park, April 2; Florida Derby: Gulfstream Park, April 2; Wood Memorial: Aqueduct, April 9; Blue Grass: Keeneland, April 9; Santa Anita Derby: Santa Anita Park, April 9; Arkansas Derby: Oaklawn Park, April 16; Lexington: Keeneland, April 16.
Contact Bob Clancy at email@example.com.