2008 Louisiana Derby Recap

2008 Louisiana Derby Recap
by Kenneth Strong of Predictem.com

Pyro shows professionalism, overcomes minor trouble to win 2008 Louisiana Derby

March 8, 2008 - Pyro may not be quite fast enough to win the 2008 Kentucky Derby yet but he certainly looked professional enough winning the 95th running of the $600,000 Louisiana Derby-G2 at Fair Grounds on Saturday.

The 3-year-old colt by Pulpit-Wild Vision by Wild Again stayed closer to the pace than usual in the mile and a sixteenth race, had to wait for room inside from late turn to passing the eighth pole, and finally drew away when a hole opened in mid stretch to win by three lengths over longshot pacesetter My Pal Charlie.

The latter set all the fractions of 24.10, 48.07, 1:13.86 and 1:38.07 from the inside under pressure from thought-to-be lone speed J Be K, who was rated while pressing outside to early stretch and then faded to finish eighth. My Pal Charlie finished a half length in front of California Derby winner Yankee Bravo, who held third by a length over Blackberry Road.


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Neither Yankee Bravo nor Blackberry Road had an excuse. Both gave their best and were outfinished late. Yankee Bravo saved ground while trailing, advanced inside to be in striking position right behind Pyro on the final turn and couldnt finish with that one in the drive. Blackberry Road stalked the pacesetters from just back and outside, moved three-wide to challenge late n the final turn and gave it all he had down the stretch but wasnt good enough.

If any horse in the Louisiana Derby can improve in their next start it would have to be Majestic Warrior. Last years hopeful Stakes-G1 winner, who was making his first start since Oct. 6, 2007, stalked wide, made a 4-wide move to pressure the leaders late on the final turn and then ran out of air in the stretch. Watch him closely in both his next starts, as he has one of the best trainers on the planet in his corner, Bill Mott.

The winner, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan and trained by Steve Asmussen for Winchell Thoroughbreds, stopped the timer in 1:44.44 for the mile and sixteenth and was given a 95 Beyer Speed Figure for the performance. It was Pyros second win in as many starts as a 3-year-old, having won the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds On Feb. 9 with an impressive late rally into a slow pace.

Sent off as the favorite in the nine-horse field, Pyro paid $3.60 to win and increased his lifetime earnings to $1,056,718 from a record of 3-2-1 in six starts. All three of his career losses have come against nemesis and possible Kentucky Derby favorite War Pass.

Pyro, who has now shown both the agility and professionalism required of a Kentucky Derby winner, will likely make his next start and final Derby prep in the $750,000 Blue Grass Stake-G1 at Keeneland on April 12, where he could meet Gotham Stakes winner Visionaire and Fountain of Youth Stakes winner Cool Coal Man.

Louisiana Derby Results and Payoffs

March 8, 2008 - 9th Race - Fair Grounds

3 Pyro $3.60 $2.80 $2.20

2 My Pal Charlie $26.00 $10.80

8 Yankee Bravo $5.20

7 Blackberry Road

$2 Exacta 3-2 paid $81.20

$2 Trifecta 3-2-8 paid $556.00

$2 Superfecta 3-2-8-7 paid $3,021.20