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2020 Louisiana Derby Picks, Odds & Betting Value Guide: Will Any of the Contenders Take Down Enforceable?

2020 Louisiana Derby Picks, Odds & Betting Value Guide: Will Any of the Contenders Take Down Enforceable? article feature image

Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

  • Post time for the 2020 Louisiana Derby is set for 5:49 p.m. ET on Saturday.
  • Below we'll analyze the latest betting odds for Enforceable, who's the favorite to win, along with Silver Slate, Wells Bayou and more.
  • Mike Conti runs through his full betting cards and picks for the Louisiana Derby, including an Exacta box, Trifecta and Pick 5 that's offering value on Saturday.

We have a great card at Fair Grounds, concluded with the Louisiana Derby. The Louisiana Derby is another prep race for the Kentucky Derby, which has been moved to the first Saturday of September.

Before we dive into Louisiana Derby Day, I want to quickly talk about why I’m focusing on Fair Grounds, other than the obvious presence of the Louisiana Derby.

When I’m deciding on where to focus my time, the first thing I look at is the stakes racing calendar. Stakes races are typically the classiest of all races, so it makes sense to start there. When not looking at stakes races, I try to avoid maiden claiming and low-level claiming races as much as possible and look for races that have higher purses (anything above $20K). A good indicator of an individual horse’s class or potential class, is the sire, dam and dam’s sir, as well as the previous race types.

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Once identified, the next important factor to look at are average field sizes. While a G1 at Santa Anita may be a classier race than a G3 at Turfway Park, you also need to take into account the size of the field and the odds of the morning-line favorite, when determining where, and how, to bet. The idea being, the larger the field, the better the betting opportunity.

Additionally, when looking at the odds of the morning line favorite, I’m looking to see where the value is.

A few factors that go into determining value are:

  1. Odds of the morning line favorite in comparison to the rest of the field
  2. Size of the field
  3. Recent past performances, including but not limited to, class of races, speed figures, record at the track, record at the distance
  4. Trainer/jockey stats and combination.

Louisiana Derby Betting Picks and Preview

The Louisiana Derby is the 12th and final race on Saturday’s card at Fair Grounds, with a 5:49 p.m. ET post time.

Sixteen horses have been entered into the race with two of them being ‘also-eligibles’ (AE). The Louisiana Derby is interesting because the prep race that leads up to it, The Risen Star, was split into two races, therefore we have to look at both of those races to really understand this field.

No. 10 Enforceable

Odds: 7-2

Enforceable is trained by Mark Casse, and Julien Leparoux gets the mount for the third time. Sired by Tapit, Enforceable has eight lifetime starts with two wins, two seconds and two thirds. In his most recent start, one of the two versions of the Risen Star, he finished second behind Mr. Monomoy by 2.5 lengths. He was caught wide the entire race and just didn’t have enough to get to the winner.

It appears that Leparoux has figured out how to ride him as he’s posted his two highest speed figures in his last two starts, both of which Leparoux was aboard for.

In those starts, Enforceable has rallied from the back of the pack to close strong and with the amount of early pace in this race, should be favorable for him.

Additionally, Enforceable has moved forward nicely since his layoff after the Kentucky Jockey Club in November. With Mr. Monomoy on the sideline due to an injury, Enforceable gets the top spot for me.

No. 3 Wells Bayou

Odds: 8-1

Wells Bayou is trained by Brad Cox with Florent Geroux aboard. These two have teamed up 35 times over the last 60 days and are winning at a 29% clip.

Wells Bayou is sired by Lookin at Lee, who won the 2010 Preakness Stakes and is out of a Hard Spun dam. He finished a length back of Silver Prospector in the G3 Southwest Stakes in his last start. He has the fastest speed rating in the race and both of his wins have come over an off track, which is important to note as the forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms.

His front running style should help him, especially if it’s an off track, though the question is, will he get in a speed duel. He is also tied for the high race rating and racing speed average.

Similar to Enforceable, Wells Bayou has significantly improved in his two starts since his layoff. Look for him to continue to improve here based on his running style, the Cox/Geroux combo and a horse who has shown he can run, regardless of the surface type.

Wells Bayou stands to have a big chance at a great price.

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No. 13 Silver Slate

Odds: 6-1

With Silver Slate we have the team of Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. and owner Winchell Thoroughbreds. Asmussen and Winchell have had numerous successful horses, but none more successful than champion Gun Runner.

As for Silver Slate, he has never missed the board having one win, two seconds and one third-place finish from four career starts. He has also been the post-time favorite in three of his four starts and has never gone off at odds higher than 3-1.

This is important to note as Asmussen wins at 26% when sending out a beaten favorite and Silver Slate was the post-time favorite in the Risen Star.

Silver Slate ran in the more competitive Risen Star, finishing third behind Mr. Monomoy and Enforceable, in his most recent start. He had plenty of excuses though as he was caught 3-wide on the first turn and 3-5 wide on the second turn.

Looking at the workout tab, he’s worked four times since the Risen Star, putting up a bullet 6-furlong work in 1:11.6 on March 9. Silver Slate is sired by Hard Spun and is out of a stakes winning Empire Maker dam.

While I like Enforceable more, Silver Slate could potentially pose as the more attractive betting option based on his odds. I highly doubt that we are going to get 6-1 at post-time though.

No. 4 Chestertown

Odds: 15-1

Another Asmussen horse, Chestertown was an expensive purchase for West Point Thoroughbreds, going for $2M in the OBS March Sale in 2019. He is sired by Tapit and out of stakes winning dam.

Similar to Silver Slate, Chestertown has never missed the board in his four career starts. Just like his stablemate, he has one win, two seconds and one third, but has not faced the competition up to this point that Silver Slate has.

His lone win came in a state-bred maiden victory back in December at Aqueduct. Since then he has two second-place finishes in OC50K non-winners of 1 races at Fair Grounds, missing by just a neck in his most recent start.

Although it’s a big step up in class, with the amount of pace expected in this race, his running style fits well here. He has been the post-time favorite in each of this four career starts, which has a lot to do with his purchase price.

But as we noted with Silver Slate, Asmussen has a 26% win percentage with beaten favorites. In addition, Chestertown gets the Hall of Famer, Johnny Velazquez aboard and similar to his stablemate, he put up a bullet work over 6F on March 9th.

At 15-1 he’s definitely one to include in both horizontal and vertical exotics.

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No. 11 NY Traffic

Odds: 15-1

NY Traffic got passed late in the Risen Star that was won by Modernist.

He won’t have to get the same distance that he tried for in the Risen Star and is getting blinkers on, suggesting that they want to ensure he gets the lead and stays focused.

Additionally, NY Traffic will be getting Luis Saez back aboard, after Javier Castellano had the mount in the Risen Star. Saez road NY Traffic to a six-and-three-quarter length win in his first start for trainer Saffie Joseph.

NY Traffic has posted three stellar workouts, the most recent being a bullet, since his last start. What he has going against him is his outside post position. Only 6% of horses breaking from outside of the 8-post have won during this meet at Fair Grounds.

Because of how hot the Saffie Joseph barn has been, the fact that he gets Saez back aboard and with the addition of blinkers, NY Traffic has a real chance to pull off a major upset if he can control the tempo up front.

No. 1 Major Fed

Odds: 8-1

Major Fed is a homebred for Lloyd Madison Farm. Sired by Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper, Major Fed is out of a Smart Strike dam. Trained by Gregory Foley, who is winning at a 22% clip during the meet, and ridden by Joel Rosario, for the first time.

He has one win, one second and one third from three career starts and has one and one second from two starts at Fair Grounds.

In his most recent start, he finished second to Modernist, in the weaker of the two Risen Star races. He finished willingly only a length back. Since then, Major Fed has posted two works, one of them being a bullet over 4F out of 117 horses that day.

The Risen Star was his first start off the layoff and I expect him to take a step forward here. He has also progressively improved his speed figures in each of his three career starts. If he does that again here, it puts him in serious contention.

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No. 9 Portos

Odds: 8-1

Next we have Portos, who is the homebred (Wertheimer Et Frere) son of Tapit out of a Tiznow dam. He is coming in off a layoff after his third-place finish in the G3 Withers at Aqueduct.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Portos is supposed to have Eclipse award winning jockey, Irad Ortiz Jr., in the saddle, but Ortiz Jr. has said that he is taking a hiatus from riding amid COVID-19. That’s a big loss for Portos, so it will be interesting to see who Pletcher gets to ride.

As for Portos’ racing career, he has one win, one second and two thirds from five career starts, all of which on the New York racing circuit. After breaking his maiden in his fourth career start, he took a major step up in class for the Withers.

He will definitely need to work out the right trip in the 14-horse field to put himself in contention, but his breeding suggests he should get the distance. His only win comes on an off track, where he drew clear by 10 lengths.

While he’s not a win contender in my book, Pletcher’s horses finish in the money 40% of the time in graded stakes, he is an include for me underneath in exotics.

No. 8 Royal Act

Odds: 10-1

The lone California invader, Royal Act, is trained by Peter Eurton. Sired by Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, Royal Act started his career on the grass, scoring in his debut by a half-length at Del Mar. He was kept on the turf for his second career start which came in a non-graded stakes race at Santa Anita. In his third start, he moved up to take on graded stakes company in the G3 Robert Lewis over the main track at Santa Anita. Royal Act finished second by three-quarters of a length at huge odds of 18-1.

His speed figures have continued to improve in each start, it will be interesting to see how he takes to a track outside of California though. Abel Cedillo, who rode him in the Robert Lewis for the first time, will make the trip from California with Royal Act.

Because of the fact that he is sired by American Pharoah, Abel Cedillo is making the trip for the mount and he has shown versatility, I will include him underneath in exotics.

No. 14 Modernist

Odds: 6-1

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Modernist is a homebred for the Wygod’s. Sired by Uncle Mo and out of a Bernadini dam, he is coming after back-to-back wins.

Most recently, Modernist won one of the Risen Star races, beating the likes of Major Fed, NY Traffic and Lynn’s Map. Junior Alvarado will pilot Modernist, as he has in each of his four career starts. He is going to want to be on or very close to the lead, which with the speed in this field, is going to be tough.

Additionally, he is going to have to overcome an outside post position and use his speed early to ensure he doesn’t get caught wide going into the first turn.

Having a win over the Fair Grounds track is definitely an advantage, but it was in the weaker of the two Risen Star races.That being said, Modernist was still able to put away his challenges at the 1/8th pole.

You can never count out a Bill Mott horse, but I like others more in this spot.

No. 2 Mailman Money

Odds: 15-1

This will be Mailman Money’s fourth career start. He has two wins in his three career starts. In his most recent start, Mailman Money ran a declining fourth in the Risen Star that Modernist won.

Trained by Bret Calhoun, Mailman Money will be ridden by Gabriel Saez, who has been aboard for all four career starts. Mailman Money broke his maiden in his debut over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs. He then won again next out in an impressive manner, in a race that was taken off the turf, by five-and-three-quarters, in an OC50k non winner’s of one.

Based on his most recent performance and his speed figures, Mailman money will need to take a big step up to be competitive in this deep field.

He’s a toss for me.

No. 6 Shake Some Action

Odds: 15-1

One of two horses that are not Triple Crown nominated, Shake Some Action is coming in off back-to-back wins. The son of Into Mischief was purchased for $300K at the Fasig Tipton two-year-old in training sale in May 2019.

Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Colby Hernandez, Shake Some Action broke his maiden in his second career start, which was on the grass. He came back to run in a mile and 1/8th OC50K non-winner of 1 by a diminishing neck.

While his speed numbers have continued to improve in each start, he is taking a major step up in class. Between the step up in class and the fact that he is not Triple Crown nominated, I’m going to side with the other Cox trainee in here, Wells Bayou.

No. 7 Sharecropper

Odds: 20-1

Sired by Pioneer of the Nile, who also sired American Pharoah, and out of a Curlin dam, Sharecropper was purchased for $600K at the Fasig Tipton yearling sale in August of 2018. He’s trained by Albert Stall Jr. and will have Miguel Mena up for the third consecutive time.

Mena and Stall have teamed up seven times over the last 60 days, but don’t have a win. Additionally, Stall only wins 10% of the time in graded stakes races.

Sharecropper was never a factor in his career debut, but came roaring back in his second start to win by a neck. In his most recent start, a OC50K non-winner of 1, he finished a distant fourth to the likes of Shake Some Action and Chestertown, although he lacked the necessary room.

For these reasons, Sharecropper is not one that I will be using.

No. 12 Lynn’s Map

Odds: 30-1

After back-to-back victories to finish out his two-year-old season, Lynn’s Map has struggled in the early part of his three-year-old campaign. He was sired by Liam’s Map and purchased in the OBS April 2019 sales for $285K. Trained by Mark Casse with Tyler Gaffalione aboard, this could be the last time we see Lynn’s Map run in graded stakes company.

He simply just hasn’t been good enough in his last two starts, finishing 6th and 5th respectively. He does have a win over the Fair Grounds track, but that was back in December in a OC75K non-winners of 1 event.

That’s about all that Lynn’s Map has going for him, though.

No. 5 Social Afleet

Odds: 50-1

Finally we have Social Afleet. He is trained by Dallas Stewart and Adam Beschizza will be in the reins. Frankly, I don’t understand why he’s running in this spot. He’s not Triple Crown nominated and has not run against company that is anywhere near this level.

He has two wins and one third from seven career starts. It took him 5 tries to break his maiden and he had to do so against state bred company at Fair Grounds in December. Since then he’s run in two state bred allowance races at Fair Grounds, winning his most recent start.

That’s about all he has going for him though, as his speed figures are nowhere near what is needed to win this race.

Also Eligibles

A horse officially entered for a race, but not permitted to start unless the field is reduced by scratches below a specified number.

Mr. Big News

Odds: 20-1

The son of Giant’s Causeway, Mr. Big News finished in the middle of the pack, at odds of 44-1, in the Risen Star that was won by Mr. Monomoy.

That was a big step up in class for him after breaking his maiden the race before. Trained by Bret Calhoun, Mr. Big News will have Robby Albarado aboard if he does indeed get into the field.

While the odds are stacked against him for multiple reasons, he has improved his speed figures in ever starts, but I think it’s too tall of an ask in this field for him to take another step up.

Farmington Road

Odds: 12-1

Another Todd Pletcher runner, Farmington Road is one that needs to be considered if he gets in.

Javier Castellano would get the mount for the second consecutive start. Last time out, Farmington Road closed to finish fourth in the same version of the Risen Star as Mr. Big News.

He was caught 5-6 wide on both turns and was forced to go 8-wide in the lane. He has continued to improve his speed figures in each start and if the son of Quality Road is able to work out a better trip, he’s one that I would include here.

2020 Louisiana Derby Betting Picks

Exacta box: 3,4,10,13

Trifecta: 3,10,13 with 1,3,4,10,11,13 with 1,3,4,8,9,10,11,13

Pick 5 (starting in Race 10): 1,2,8 with 3,6,8,9 with 6,8,9,12 with 6 with 3,10,13

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