Stands Atop Derby Points Leaderboard
By Dick Downey
The Downey Profile
Wells Bayou and Ny Traffic ran one-two throughout to make up the exacta in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.
Under Florent Geroux, Wells Bayou set fractions of 23.56, 48.00, 1:12.42 and 1:37.61 en route to a final time of 1:56.47 for 1 3/16 mile. Trainer Brad Cox capped off three stakes wins on the day.
Joe Bravo, who subbed for Luis Saez, had Ny Traffic always prominent and finished well, although beaten 1 1/2 length by the winner.
Modernist finished third, another 2 3/4 lengths back, from post 14 after Junior Alvarado had to keep him wide but within striking distance on both turns Major Fed got up in the stretch for fourth after being last early. Enforceable, the 7-2 morning line favorite, finished fiffth after being sent off as the 7-2 second choice.
The order of finish after the top five was Shake Some Action, Silver State, Chestertown, Royal Act, Social Afleet, Mailman Money, Sharecropper, Lynn’s Map, and Portos.
Wells Bayou, favored at 3-1, returned $2 bettors $8.40 to win, $5.80 to place and $4.60 to show. Ny Traffic paid $21.60 to place and $12.60 to show, and Modernist's show payoff was $9.60.
Wells Bayou leapt to the top of the Kentucky Derby points list with 104 after snagging 100. Ny Traffic picked up 40 points and now has 50. Modernist's 20 ponits grew his total to 70, and he is now second on the Derby leaderboard. Major Fed was awarded eight points.
About 30 minutes after the race ended, Fair Grounds announced that racing is now over at Fair Ground for the season. In accordance with the “stay-home” order issued by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Fair Grounds Race Course will suspend live racing operations effective immediately. The meet was set to end on March 29.
Winning trainer Brad Cox: “The plan was to give him another week. This spot was more ground, which we thought he would enjoy and thought he could establish the lead here. We did some homework on the race to see who was going to be running. You try to put together a game plan and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. In horse racing a lot of time it doesn’t. But this time it did. We are really happy with our assistants and everybody involved who do such an incredible job. We have a great team in place, and it showed today. We just have to figure out how to get him to the first Saturday in September and not May. It is uncharted territory, and we will do the best we can.”
Winning jockey Florent Geroux: “He’s was great leaving the gate. He stands there perfectly and then breaks super sharp. After that when he makes the lead, he relaxes very nicely. We took a few breathers around the turn and then when we turned down the lane, he didn’t lose his gear. Now he is prepping for the first Saturday in September so it’s a long way away and many things can happen. I am just hoping he comes back healthy and just go from there. We are going to enjoy those two very nice victories today.”
Joe Bravo, aboard NY Traffic: “The horse's first couple races you would think he was not Louisiana Derby quality. The last couple races, he really stepped up to the plate, and the horse is just getting good. The thing that makes him so good is that he listens. He broke great, put him in front, he relaxed off the other horse. He turned for home and my horse did not want to lay up. He ran for me down the lane and that’s all you can ask for.”
Bill Mott, trainer of Modernist: “Junior said he wished he was closer, but the horse had no real excuse. Thought he ran fine. Just hope he comes back okay and we will move forward."
Assistant trainer Travis Foley, Major Fed: “He ran awesome. I thought we would be fifth or sixth. He got left, and I don’t know how he ended up where he did. It is kind of unexplainable as far as the trip we had. He was rolling and ran awesome. I think we have a really nice horse.”
Joel Rosario, aboard Major Fed: "He ran fine. We didn't have much trouble. We lost a little momentum at the 3-1/2 (pole), but he finished up real well."