Photo: Hodges Photography/Alexander Barkoff
As of Friday morning, with 15 days to go until Louisiana Derby Preview Day
on Feb. 22
at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, a field of 10 sophomores seemed probable for the Grade II Risen Star Stakes
with more to come over the weekend.
Reigning Eclipse Award-winner trainer Todd Pletcher
was expected to ship at least one horse for all five stakes on Preview
Day, including at least one for the Risen Star, and was due to make the
choice of which of his plethora of stakes stars were coming to New
Orleans by Monday.
However, at the present time, Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Grade III Lecomte winner Vicar’s in Trouble tops the list of prospects based on his 6 ½-length victory in that $200,000 event on Jan. 18.
Topping the earnings list of those presently expected for the Risen Star is Paul and Andrena Van Doren’s Rise Up, six-length winner of the Grade III $1 million Delta Jackpot last Nov. 23, who would be making his first start as a 3-year-old.
Brereton Jones’s Albano and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Gold Hawk, second and third respectively in the Lecomte a half-length apart, are also expected to try again in the Risen Star.
West Point Thoroughbreds Commanding Curve, who broke
his maiden impressively with a length and a half tally at Churchill
Downs on Nov. 30, is being pointed toward the Risen Start for his
Reddam Racing’s Bond Holder, winner of Santa Anita’s Grade I Front Runner last September and then fourth in both Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Grade I CashCall Futurity, is another who would be making his first start as a 3-year-old in the Risen Star.
Daniel Lynch and Merrill Scherer’s Quick Indian, a length the best in an allowance and $50,000 optional claiming company here Jan 24, as well as Michele and Cliff Love's Xtra Luck, third in that same test, are expected to come back in the Risen Star.
Gore Range Stable’s Emmett Park, undefeated in two
starts at Turfway, most recently on Jan 17, is expected to ship into New
Orleans for the Risen Star, and Don’t Tell My Wife Stables’ Flat Gone, who broke his maiden by 2 ½-lengths here on Jan. 25, completes the list of Risen Star probable starters at this time.
FIVE FILLIES LIKELY FOR RACHEL ALEXANDRA AS OF FRIDAY
As of Friday morning, the connections of five members of the distaff set had indicated that the Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots as part of the Louisiana Derby Preview Day program Feb. 22 would be the next assignment for their fillies.
The Rachel Alexandra is the second leg of Fair Grounds’ sophomore filly series that will conclude with the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks on Louisiana Derby Day March 29. Five of the last nine Fair Grounds Oaks winners have gone on to win the Grade I Kentucky Oaks later in the spring.
Heading the list of those targeting the Rachel Alexandra is Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia, adjudged winner of the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last
Nov. 2 at Santa Anita but absent from competition since then. The
daughter of Rockport Harbor is expected to breeze Sunday after her
trainer arrives in New Orleans and a further update on her status will
be made after the move.
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Untapable, a daughter of Tapit who was the winner of Churchill’s Grade II Pocahontas last September and third in the Grade I Hollywood Starlet Dec. 7 in her most recent start, has had three works so far at Fair Grounds in preparation for the upcoming Rachel Alexandra.
Next on the list of those presently expected for the Rachel Alexandra is Brereton Jones’s Divine Beauty, most
recently the runner-up in Fair Grounds’ $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes
Jan. 18. The winner of the Silverbulletday, Charles Fipke’s Unbridled Forever, is being held out of the Rachel Alexandra to be pointed for the Fair Grounds Oaks as her next assignment.
Fox Hill Farms’ Cassatt, also pointing for the
Rachel Alexandra, is another daughter of Tapit who is out of the Giant’s
Causeway mare Justenufftime, is lightly raced but broke her maiden by 4
¼ lengths in her most recent start here Jan. 9. In her career debut at
Churchill, she was third under the wire after being bothered but was
placed second following a disqualification.
Last of the five fillies known to be pointing for the Rachel Alexandra is Connie Apostelos’ Shanon Nicole, a homebred daughter of Majestic Warrior who broke her maiden by 4 ½ lengths here in her most recent start on Jan. 10.
FAIR GROUNDS POST TIME MOVES TO 1:25 P.M. AS OF FEB. 13
of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and fans of the Fair Grounds
simulcast signal are advised that as of Feb. 13, post time for regular
daytime cards at the New Orleans oval will be moved to 1:25 p.m.
Starlight Racing programs will remain at 5 p.m. and special event days such as Louisiana Derby Preview Day and Louisiana Derby Day will remain at 12:30 p.m.