Although heavy ground fog made splits unobtainable on some of the candidates who worked Saturday morning at Fair Grounds for the 100th anniversary edition of the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 30, Fair Grounds clocker Mike Diliberto was able to record splits on those locally-based Louisiana Derby probable starters who worked later in the morning as the fog gradually lifted.
Ground Transport, in a six-furlong move timed immediately after the break in 1:12 3/5, was caught in early splits of :12 2/5, :24, :35 4/5, :48 and 1:00 1/5 before completing the six furlongs.
"He looked very good doing it," Diliberto said of the Mike Stidham-trained son of Big Brown. "He looked very strong throughout the whole move."
Ground Transport is currently two-for-two this season, breaking his maiden and taking an optional claimer, both at Fair Grounds. The dark bay finished second in his career opener at the New Orleans venue in late December.
Hip Four Sixtynine was timed for five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 but Diliberto caught the Bobby Barnett trainee going the half in :47 and change.
"Bobby Barnett's horse was really rolling through the lane," he noted of the Southern Image colt, who just broke his maiden in his seventh try on February 23.
Sunbean breezed a half-mile in :48 1/5 for trainer Al Stall Jr., but Diliberto caught him galloping out five-eighths in 1:02. The Brahms sophomore is currently riding a three-race win streak that includes a last-out victory in the Gentilly on February 23.
No splits were obtainable for Whiskey Bravo, who got the half in :48 3/5 for trainer Keith Desormeaux. The chestnut son of Fusaichi Pegasus made his stakes bow a fourth-placing in the Texas Heritage earlier this month behind fellow Louisiana Derby hopeful Departing.