The rapidly progressing Ground Transport has taken off in recent days as a live longshot for the 100th anniversary edition of the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 30 at Fair Grounds.
The sophomore son of Big Brown breezed a bullet four furlongs in :47 last Saturday at Fair Grounds on the same morning that Grade 2 Risen Star winner Ive Struck a Nerve traveled that same distance in :48 2/5 before pulling up lame shortly after his move.
Is Ground Transport viable as a longshot for the upcoming Louisiana Derby?
"We like him," said trainer Mike Stidham, speaking outside his barn during training hours Wednesday morning at Fair Grounds. "The horse is doing very well right now and that was a very good work for him the other day. We're pointing for the Louisiana Derby with him."
The "we" Stidham was speaking of originally included a partnership between Jeffery Yingling, Marty Nixon, Frank Calabrese and Marrette Farrell, but Stidham was quick to update the status of that ownership group on Wednesday.
"West Point Thoroughbreds just bought into the ownership for a one-quarter interest," Stidham said. "Originally, we had bought him out of a two-year-olds in training sale last year at Keeneland."
There is a lot of upside to Ground Transport, who has made three starts in his career, all at the Crescent City oval.
In his career debut and only start as a two-year-old on December 22, he was beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Departing, who remains undefeated after winning the Texas Heritage at Sam Houston most recently on March 2.
However, in his next start on January 19, Ground Transport broke his maiden in handy fashion by 1 1/2 lengths then on Louisiana Derby Preview Day, February 23, the Kentucky-bred's three-length win in the first-level allowance ranks was overshadowed by the four graded stakes run on the same afternoon.
Ground Transport will be asked to kick it up a notch once again in the Louisiana Derby, facing not only Departing in a rematch but also a highly regarded group of out-of-state invaders. However, longshots have a recent history of upsetting highly regarded invaders at the Crescent City oval and must once again be considered this time.
Ive Struck a Nerve was scheduled to go in the Louisiana Derby but instead found himself visiting the doctor following his Saturday workout. The Yankee Gentleman colt underwent successful surgery Monday in Lexington, Kentucky, for a fractured sesamoid suffered following the breeze.