BOSSIER CITY, La. -- Louisiana Downs has expanded its Super Derby Day card from five stakes to six this year, and the additional race packs more punch than just the purse. The $150,000 Tiznow, which is for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles, is a Win and You're In race for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.
Jonesboro is the most proven horse in the eight-horse Tiznow as a multiple Grade 3 winner of $746,575. He should go favored over Smokeyjonessutton, who is looking for his first stakes win after running well against such horses as Grasshopper and Mambo in Seattle. The Tiznow will be a battle of contrasting styles, with the tactical edge lying with Jonesboro.
"I'm sure he'll be forwardly placed," said Randy Morse, who trains Jonesboro for Michael Langford. "I'm sure he'll be laying first, second, or third."
Smokeyjonessutton, meanwhile, will have to play catch-up in the later stages of the Tiznow.
"He lays back and makes one run," said Dallas Stewart, who trains Smokeyjonessutton for Stephanie Clark.
Jonesboro was under consideration for a start in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup, a 1 1/4-mile race in which he ran second a year ago. But his connections decided to ship in for the Tiznow instead. Morse said one of the main reasons is the race's distance. Jonesboro is a multiple graded stakes winner at a 1 1/16 miles.
"Plus, he's won at Louisiana Downs before," said Morse.
Robby Albarado will ride Jonesboro, who breaks from post 4.
Smokeyjonessutton is shortening in distance from a 1 1/8-mile optional claimer at Saratoga in which he finished third. After that race, his connections looked at the Tiznow.
"He had some trouble last time," said Stewart. "We think that he'll handle the distance, and he should fit well with this group."
Kent Desormeaux has the mount on Smokeyjonessutton.
The Tiznow also drew a sharp local in Autobeacat, a winner of 3 of his last 4 starts. Autobeacat is cross-entered in the $200,000 Unbridled on turf at Louisiana Downs on Saturday.
"We've got a horse that can run on either surface, and we'll keep our options open to the end," said Eric Heitzmann, who trains Autobeacat.
The Tiznow is among five stakes supporting the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby. The card is the richest of the meet, and officials look for attendance of about 15,000.