Nina’s Dragon Has Final Work For $1 Million Louisiana Derby

Nina’s Dragon Has Final Work For $1 Million Louisiana Derby

     Nina’s Dragon, runner-up in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby, worked six furlongs in 1:14.20 Wednesday morning at Golden Gate Fields in preparation for his start in the $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 30.

     Nina’s Dragon finished 3 3/4 lengths behind Dice Flavor in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby, which was run Feb. 16 at Golden Gate Fields.  The second-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile race was impressive considering Nina’s Dragon was making just his fourth career start and only his second try around two turns.

     The Grade 2 Louisiana Derby is a 1 1/8-mile race held at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans.  Jockey Julien Couton has ridden Nina’s Dragon in all four of his starts and he’ll be aboard the bay colt again in New Orleans.

     Nina’s Dragon has recorded a win, a second, and two thirds for trainer Lloyd Mason.  Nina’s Dragon will be Mason’s first starter in a $1 million race as well as his first starter at Fair Grounds.

     “It should be a lot of fun,” said Mason, adding that Nina’s Dragon will be flown to New Orleans next Monday or Tuesday.  “My assistant, Faith Taylor, will go with the horse.  Julien will get there three days before the race so he can take the horse to the track and gallop him.  I’ll get there the day before the race.”

     Nina’s Dragon has had three works since the El Camino Real Derby – a five-furlong move in 1:00.20 on March 2, a seven-furlong drill in 1:26.40 on March 9, and Wednesday’s work, which Mason said was the final work for the Louisiana Derby.

     “Super,” said Mason of Nina’s Dragon’s recent training.  “I couldn’t ask for anything more.  He’s a really nice horse.  I’ve never trained a horse that has the talent he has.”

     Nina’s Dragon, a son of Tizbud, was bred in California by Mason’s longtime client, Dave Currie.  Currie owns Nina’s Dragon in partnership with Yuhong Nina Bai. 

     While Nina’s Dragon is headed to Louisiana, Dice Flavor is heading out of the country – to Dubai for the $2 million UAE Derby at Meydan Race Course on March 30. 
The UAE Derby is a 1 3/16-mile race run on Tapeta, the same synthetic surface in place at Golden Gate Fields.  Dice Flavor is based in Southern California and trained by Paddy Gallagher.

      Pick Six Carryover To Start Week –  The racing week at Golden Gate Fields begins Thursday with a carryover of $23,140 in the Pick Six.  Post time Thursday through Sunday is 12:45 p.m. 

     Golden Gate Fields is a Stronach Group company, North America's leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator.  The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness.  The company is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its Adena Springs operation.  The company owns and operates AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology, and XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service.  The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.