NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Hot Rod Charlie led wire to wire to win the $1 million Louisiana Derby by two lengths over Midnight Bourbon on Saturday and earn 100 points toward qualification for the Kentucky Derby.
It was the first graded stakes victory after some narrow misses for the California-based horse, who’d finished second in last years TVG Breeder’s Cup Juvenile and third in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita.
“How could it possibly not feel as good as anybody could ever feel. We’ve got a horse in the Kentucky Derby,” said Greg Helm of Roadrunner Racing, who is part owner of Hot Rod Charlie. “We’ve been struggling with him to be first every time and he comes in right when we need him.”
The major prep race for Triple Crown hopefuls was run in front of a mostly empty clubhouse and grandstand at Fair Ground Race Course because of crowd restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.