The fields will not be filled to capacity for the Fair Grounds' top two races on the meet's climactic day — next Saturday's Louisiana Derby Day.
Entries were completed Saturday, and the top race — the $1 million Grade II Louisiana Derby — will have nine horses. That race, a major prep for the Kentucky Derby, usually has up to 11.
The $400,000 Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks for fillies, which has produced seven of the past 11 Kentucky Oaks winners, will have just eight competitors.
“We usually have five horses come from the (Fair Grounds') Risen Star for the Louisiana Derby,” racing secretary Scott Jones said. “This time, we only had three. The top four horses ran clear of the rest of the field, and one of them will not run in the (Louisiana) Derby. For the Oaks, it's always tough when you've got a nice filly like Farrell. Not a whole lot of people want to run their fillies against her. So we're happy with eight.”
Jones said those races, as well as the two other big ones — the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap and the $300,000 Muniz Memorial turf race — have competitive fields. The odds will be posted Monday.
Girvin, Local Hero and Guest Suite are back from the Risen Star. Untrapped was second to Girvin in the Risen Star, but trainer Steve Asmussen opted to run him in the Rebel Stakes instead of against stablemate Local Hero, who was third. Senior Investment, who will be in lane four, is expected to be a top competitor in the Louisiana Derby, for top 3-year-olds.
“He broke his maiden at Gulfstream by a length and three quarters,” Jones said. “He got quite a big number in that race. I think he is definitely one of the horses to beat.”
In the Oaks, Farrell definitely is the one to beat. She is considered the No. 2 filly in the nation, behind California-based Unique Bella. Farrell has had a string of impressive wins — the Golden Rod on Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs, the Silverbulletday at the Fair Grounds on Jan. 21 and the Rachel Alexandra on Feb. 25, toying with the field in that one.
Majestic Quality, who finished second by 3½ lengths in the Rachel Alexandra, also is entered, as well as Daria's Angel, who broke her maiden at the Fair Grounds on Feb. 18. Summer Luck, who lost by three-fourths of a length at Gulfstream in a Grade II prep race for the Florida Derby, also will run.
Mo Tom, one of the top 3-year-old colts last year at the Fair Grounds, will run in the New Orleans Handicap. He is coming off an unimpressive performance in the Mineshaft on Feb. 25 but had not raced since last summer. Eagle and International Star, two accomplished horses, also are in the New Orleans Handicap.
Enterprising, who won the Fair Grounds Handicap on Feb. 25, headlines the Muniz. Granny's Kitten, who won the Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes for 4-year-olds and up Jan. 21, could be a main competitor, as well as Oscar Nominated, who was second in the Fair Grounds Handicap.
“He only got beaten by three-quarters of a length (in the Handicap),” Jones said. “He could be a factor again, for sure. There is no standout in this race. Five or six horses could win it. It's going to be tight. I don't know who the favorite will be.”