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2020 Louisiana Derby Day Undercard Betting Picks and Betting Preview

2020 Louisiana Derby Day Undercard Betting Picks and Betting Preview article feature image

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

The 2020 Louisiana Derby headlines the racing card at Fair Grounds and around the country on Saturday but there are plenty of other classy races taking place throughout the afternoon.

Let’s dive in and see if we can’t find some value.

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Race 8: The Tom Benson Memorial Stakes

Post-time: 3:38 p.m. ET

The $100K Tom Benson Memorial Stakes is a 1 1/16-mile race run over the ture course with 11 runners.

I love No. 2 Altea (7-2) in this spot. I backed her in her last start, the G3 Endeavor at Tampa Bay Downs, as part of the Tampa Bay Derby undercard. She just missed in the final strides as she had to deal with traffic as four horses hit the wire together. None of the others are coming back to run in this spot though. Altea gets an easier race as this is not a graded stakes and the quality isn’t as good as it was in the Endeavor either.

Additionally, this is her second start off the layoff and second start with jockey Joel Rosario in the irons. Trainer Chad Brown will have her ready to go in this spot and I’d be surprised if we get anywhere near her morning line 7-2 odds.

The others to consider in here are No. 1 Dream Passage (9-2)and No. 8 She’sonthewarpath (6-1).

We will start with Dream Passage who is sent out by Brad Cox and has Florent Geroux aboard. Being down on the rail should be no problem for her, as she has early speed and wants the front. She’s been the post-time favorite in her last six starts, having three wins and two seconds during that stretch.

Last time out, Dream Passage was caught mid-stretch by Winning Envelope in a non-graded stakes race at Sam Houston, in his first start since late November. Cox and Geroux have teamed up to win 10 times in their last 35 tries together. Because of her early running style and the Cox/Geroux combo, I’m including her.

Finally, we have No. She’sonthewarpath. Chantal Sutherland gets the mount for Steve Margolis, and she has done a wonderful job piloting this filly to all four of her career wins.

She outran her 16-1 odds last time out to get the win over the Fair Grounds turf course, at the same distance, against similar, non graded stakes company. The daughter of Declaration of War, has taken a liking to the turf course at Fair Grounds with two wins and one third in three career starts.

While she doesn’t have the late kick that Altea has, coming off a win at the distance, right here at Fair Grounds is too much to overlook, so I’m going to include her.

Race 8 Bets:

  • Pick 5: 1,2,8 with 3,6,8,9 with 6,8,9,12 with 6 with 3,10,13
  • Win/Place: 2
  • Exacta key box: Key 2 with 1,8

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Race 9: The New Orleans Classic

Post-time: 4:10 p.m. ET

The G2 New Orleans Classic, the 9th Race on the card, run at 1⅛ Mile, is for four-year-olds and up. No. 6 Silver Dust is the (2-1) morning-line favorite after crossing the wire in front in both of his last starts, although he was disqualified two back. Both of those races came over this Fair Grounds track and both were against graded stakes company. He has three wins and three seconds in eight career starts at Fair Grounds, but hasn’t won at the distance in four tries and if we do get rain, he’s been unsuccessful over an off track in four career starts, as well. He’s one that you must include.

Next, we have No. 8 By My Standards (6-1). Trained by Bret Calhoun and ridden by Gabriel Saez, this is By My Standards’ second run after a long layoff. He won in impressive fashion in his first race back after rattling off two straight wins, the second being last year’s Louisiana Derby, By My Standards finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby.

He was then sent to the bench, before his 6-length score. He loves the Fair Grounds track as he has three wins, one second and one third from five career starts here and is a perfect 1-for-1 at the distance. That said, his preferred footing is a fast track, as he has no wins, one second and one third over an off track. Based on his comeback victory and his impressive work tab, a bullet in his most recent work, he’s one that I will be using.

Another one to include is No. 9 Gun It (6-1). He was purchased for $2.6M back in 2017 and is trained by the Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who teams up with his go-to rider, Ricardo Santana Jr. Gun It has two wins, three seconds and one third from nine career starts. He outran his 30-1 odds, finishing second by only three-quarters of a length to Silver Dust in his last start. S

ince the layoff in April, Gun It has seemed to really figure things out as he has one win, two seconds and a third in four starts, two of which came against graded stakes company.

The last horse to consider in this field of nine is No. 3 Fearless (9-2). He’s shipping in from Gulfstream Park, where speed is king. This son of Ghostzapper is no exception, winning both of his starts in front running style.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Fearless is scheduled to be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., but he has said that he will be taking time off amid the Coronavirus scare. Knowing that Luis Saez will be at Fair Grounds tomorrow and that he’s ridden the horse before, my guess is that he gets the mount. With his front running style and the aggressive nature of Saez, he’s another one that I’m going to include in my exotics at a decent price.

Horses I’m throwing out:

No. 1 Lone Sailor (6-1):  Although he’s coming off a win, it was against much lesser company. He just doesn’t seem to want to win with only three wins in 24 career starts and only one win in 16 tries over a fast main track.

No. 5 Tenfold (12-1): Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, trained by Asmussen, but ridden by Johnny Velazquez instead of the go to Santana Jr. Between that and only hitting the board once in his last nine starts, this is an easy toss for me.

Race 9 Picks:

No. 8 By My Standards to win

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Race 10: Muniz Memorial Classic

Post-time: 4:42 p.m. ET

Race 10 is the Grade 2 Muniz Memorial Classic, that will be run at 1 1/8 Mile over the turf course, is for four-year-olds and upward and draws a 13-horse field.


No. 1 Dot Matrix (8-1): While he’s won over 35% of his turf starts, he hasn’t been able to string together back-to-back wins since 2016 when he broke his maiden and then won his next start in allowance company. Dot Matrix does have the team of trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux and he was able to win in graded stakes company last time out, but it was against a much softer field than this. He also has being down on the rail going against him, as he will have ensure he uses some of his tactical speed if he wants any chance here.

No. 11 Marzo (15-1): Even though he’s had four straight graded stakes starts, the Michael Maker trainee only has one win, which was back in October at Keeneland. In his most recent start, Marzo finished a fading third behind Dot Matrix and Momma’s Boy. As I just mentioned, while it was against graded stakes company, the start at Sam Houston was a much weaker field.


No. 6 Instilled Regard (5-1): Any time you have trainer Chad Brown and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. teamed up on the turf, you have to include. These are two of the best in the sport on the turf. As previously discussed, the question is, will Irad ride. It appears most likely not, but we will see.

Even without Irad aboard, I still like Instilled Regard’s chances. He’s never finished off the board in five career starts on the turf, but only has one win. The son of Arch was purchased for $1.05M and his four losses on turf have come by a combined six lengths; he’s always in contention.

No. 8 Channel Maker (6-1): Hall of Famer Bill Mott sends out the son of English Channel. While he only has one win in his last nine starts, he has more triple figure speed numbers than an other horse in this field. With his speed, front running style and cutting back in distance, he has a big chance a great price here.

No. 9 Factor This (10-1): Here’s the other Brad Cox entry in this race. Shawn Bridgmohan gets the mount again after an upset win at 8-1 against graded stakes company right here at Fair Grounds, over the same distance, in his most recent start. Cox and Bridgmohan have teamed up 16 times in the last 60 days, winning eight of those starts. Factor This has six wins, three seconds and two thirds from 16 career turf starts.

He also has two wins from three starts at the distance. The challenge is he likes to win going wire to wire and that may be a tough task against this group.

No. 12 Synchrony (3-1): Finally we have the morning-line favorite Synchrony. He just missed last time out, losing to Factor This by one length. That was his first start off the layoff and he should be freshened up and ready to go here.

Trained by Michael Stidham, the son of Tapit loves the Fair Grounds turf course, having four wins, one second and one third in six career starts. He’s also a distance specialist with his three wins, two seconds and two thirds from eight starts over the 1 1/8 mile distance. Jockey “Jersey” Joe Bravo gets the mount. He’s ridden the horse four times before, never finish worse than third.

Race 10 Betting Picks:

Exacta: 6,12 with 6,8,9,12

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Twinspires Fair Grounds Oaks

Post-time: 5:15 p.m. ET

Race 11 is the G2 Twinspires Fair Grounds Oaks, which will be run over the main track at 1 1/16 mile.

Similar to the Louisiana Derby, this is a Kentucky Oaks qualifier, where the winner will also receive 100 points towards her entry. There’s not much to say about this one. No. 6 Finite is the 3-5 morning line favorite, and deservedly so. She’s never missed the board in seven career starts with five wins and two seconds. She comes in on a five-race win streak, most recently scoring by four and three-quarters lengths in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra, right here at Fair Grounds. She’s shown she can win over a fast main track, an off track, or over the grass; versatility at its finest. The trio of Winchell Thoroughbreds, trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Richardo Santana Jr. will team up again.

While I’m not going to bet on her to win because of her odds, she’s the single in the late Pick 5.

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