Super Derby on course to return for first time in four years

(Photo courtesy Louisiana Downs)

By TONY TAGLAVORE, Journal Sports 

Conditions for Super Derby 41, Louisiana Downs’ signature race which was last held in 2019, are now official.

The latest condition book released Sunday lists the Saturday, Sept. 2 Derby as a mile-and-an-eighth stakes race on the dirt for three-year-olds.

The purse will be $200,000. According to Equibase, that equals the smallest purse (2017) in Derby history. According to Equibase, five times in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the purse was $1 million. For the last two Super Derby runs (2018, 2019) before the race went on hiatus, the purse was $300,000.

This year’s Derby is not graded. From 1983-2001, it was a Grade I race which drew some of the country’s top horses. The Derby eventually dropped to Grades II and III before losing its graded status in 2017.

A maximum of 14 horses will go to post in Super Derby 41, each carrying 124 pounds.

This year’s Derby will be sponsored. The condition book refers to the race as “Super Derby Presented By Lip Chip, LLC.” According to its website, Lip Chip, based in San Antonio, deals in the microchipping and identifying of horses.

When Premier Gaming Group bought the Bossier City track early last year, the company’s founder and president, Kevin Preston, said the Derby would be held last September. However, less than a month before the race was to be run, it was cancelled. The change in plans came after the Downs — during its meet — reduced daily purse payments. Local horsemen voiced displeasure that a $300,000 Super Derby purse would be offered for one race. Track management acquiesced and reallocated that money to daily purses.

Entries to this year’s Derby, scheduled as the ninth race of the day, close Aug. 25.

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