December 10, 2019

Altamira Racing Stable and David Bernsen’s St. Joe Bay is likely to return to Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots from his California base for the Grade II $750,000 Louisiana Derby on Mar. 28, according to conditioner Peter Miller. The dark bay son of Saint Anddan set a quick pace while hounded by 111-1 longshot Hero of Humor in the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 21 at Fair Grounds – including a first quarter in :23.29 and a half-mile in :47.08 – before holding on for a game fourth, beaten less than three lengths by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s multiple graded stakes winner International Star.

“The horse is doing really well and everything is great,” Miller said. “Right now we are planning on coming, but I still have not booked a rider.” Ridden last out by local jockey Florent Geroux, the speedy Florida-bred will have to find a new pilot, as said Frenchman is already booked by trainer Todd Pletcher on a yet to be named charge. A frontrunner in many of his races, St. Joe Bay has shown the ability to rate in the past, including a closing third in November’s Grade III $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar over seven Polytrack furlongs. Unfortunately in the Risen Star and three of his last four races, he has drawn the rail.

“He can run either way,” Miller added. “He doesn’t need the lead.”

St. Joe Bay also brings additional back-class to the Louisiana Derby. One race prior to rounding out the superfecta in his first trip to New Orleans, St. Joe Bay was a pace-setting second behind Martin and Pam Wygod’s Prospect Park, who was subsequently second in the Grade II $400,000 San Felipe Stakes behind Kaleem Shah’s leading Kentucky Derby hopeful Dortmund. In seven starts, St. Joe Bay has yet to finish worse than fourth, including four graded stakes on three different surfaces.