There’s No Taking This Filly Lightly : Horse racing: Lite Light takes on six colts, including Best Pal and Olympio, in today’s $1-million Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.
The Burrell boys learned to handicap horses at their father’s knee.
“Our father started taking us out to the track when we were six or seven years old,” Louis Burrell said. “We’ve been playing the horses for better than 20 years, but it’s different when you own one.”
The Burrells -- father Lewis, and sons Louis, Chris and Stanley, better known as rap music superstar M.C. Hammer -- will be betting big on the filly at Sunday’s Super Derby. The owners of Oaktown Stable, own 24 horses, including Lite Light. the Burrells also form a solid cheering section, betting heavily and celebrating with gusto. After Lite Light won the Coaching Club, Hammer took off his shirt at the winner’s circle and waved it to the crowd.
“We tried to recapture some of the racing fans that left the sport,” Chris Burrell said. “We try to create a little more excitement and get the sport some attention.”
Lite Light, the second filly ever to run the 1 1/4-mile Louisiana Downs race, will have to beat six males to take the $1 million purse.
“There was no question about running her against the males,” Louis Burrell said Saturday. “It was just a question of when. We think she’s the best filly in the world and the best 3-year-old period. If she prevails over Olympio and Best Pal here, there’s no doubt she’s the best. If she wins she should be the horse of the year.”
Best Pal, the betting favorite in the derby, could retain his position as the best 3-year-old in the country with a victory. It would be the gelding’s third $1 million purse.
Best Pal, winless in the first six months of the year, was the runner-up in the Kentucky Derby and won his last two races, beating Corporate Report in the Swaps Stakes and a field of older horses to win Del Mar’s Pacific Classic Stakes.
“I haven’t done anything different,” said Gary Jones, who took over as Best Pal’s trainer just prior to the Swaps. “The horse just got good. He just came on.”
Olympio, the winner of the Arkansas Derby and trained by Ron McAnally, is expected to set the pace.
“I’d say Olympio is the speed horse,” Jones said. “It’s a track that favors speed so he’s certainly going to be a big factor, but I think there are six horses here that could win it. Best Pal has come on strong lately. Well, now it’s welcome to the real world. Now we’ll find out how good he is.”
Best Pal is well trained for the race, Jones said. Pat Valenzuela will be aboard Sunday.
“We’ve had good workouts. We have no excuses. I know you’re always supposed to, but our horse is ready,” Jones said.
Lite Light turned heads with a three-furlong work in 35.30 seconds on Friday morning.
“She’s running really well,” said jockey Corey Nakatani. “If we have a clean race and she can run her own race she’ll be tough.”
The field includes Far Out Wadleigh, Free Spirit’s Joy, Lost Mountain, and Zeeruler.