Dickey: Finnick the Fierce leads 5 live Risen Star day longshots

February 14, 2020 11:47am
Dickey: Finnick the Fierce leads 5 live Risen Star day longshots
Photo: Coady Photography
On Saturday, "Louisiana Derby Preview Day" at Fair Grounds boasts 13 races with full and competitive fields that figure to hold up thanks to a fantastic weather forecast.

I've identified five horses that I think will bring some value on a card headlined by two divisions of the Risen Star Stakes (G2).

Race 13: Risen Star Division 2 1 1/8 miles; 7:12 p.m. ET Live longshot: No. 10 Finnick the Fierce (10-1) First, let's skip ahead to the finale, the second division of the Risen Star, because there's where I've found my top longshot play of the day.
The two Risen Star have flights are quite the contrast in early pace scenarios, as this race figures to have a hot, pressured pace with quite a few horses looking to get on or near the early lead.

Races like this scream for a closer, and one of the horses in this field has the perfect running style. Finnick the Fierce is prone to be a plodder, saving his energy for late in the race. The Rey Hernandez-trained Dialed In gelding will benefit greatly from the setup.

Hernandez is removing blinkers for this race, which should help Finnick the Fierce get just a little closer to the second tier of horses than he has previously. It seems as if this one is always flying toward the wire late, and when he gets his timing right, he could strike.

At double-digit odds, I'm betting it comes together for him Saturday.

Race 6: Colonel Power Stakes
5 1/2 furlongs on turf; 3:28 p.m. ET Value play: No. 4 Powell (8-1) Powell has never missed the board on turf or synthetic, with recent off-the-turf races muddling his form. He's a bonafide sprinter coming in third off the layoff and projects to be near the front in this short grass race. Powell may be a fan of a firmer turf course, and New Orleans has had a lot of rain this winter. Double check the course conditions before placing a bet. But the rail figures to be moved in with fields running over fresh, firm ground Saturday. Powell could show another forward move off his lifetime top last out, and such an effort puts him in prime condition to win at an agreeable price. Race 8: Albert M. Stall Memorial 1 1/16 miles of turf; 4:04 p.m. ET Live longshot: No. 11 Aife (15-1) With 14 older fillies and mares entered and experienced stakes winner Mitchell Road favored, I'll look to this longshot who's a case of finding a horse's preferred surface and sticking with it. She started her career on the turf and did well. Then she was moved to the main track and was given synthetic to try a few times. Once she was switched back to the grass, Aife's been putting up the best speed figures of her career. As with Powell above, she seems to prefer firm turf, and will run for the second time following a 100-day layoff. Three weeks ago, she registered a career top winning on this course, and I'll bet her back on that form. Play Aife on top and underneath in exactas and trifectas, and do not leave her off multi-race tickets. She could be a double-digit winner that sweetens the payoff in a Pick 4 sequence guaranteed at $100,000. Race 10: Fair Grounds Stakes (G3) 1 1/8 miles on turf; 5:32 p.m. ET Value play: No. 4 Factor This (8-1) The only thing I don't like about Factor This here is that Florent Geroux chose to ride No. 10 Space Mountain for trainer Mike Maker instead of this Brad Cox gelding. Shaun Bridgmohan has ridden this one enough to know him, but Geroux piloted Factor This to three straight wins last spring. That being said, Bridgmohan is a capable rider who should be wise enough to sit a considerable amount of lengths behind the early pacesetters gunning from the outside gates. I think this one is as good as No. 5 Dontblamerocket (coming in on a three-race win streak of his own) but at a much better price. No. 2 Synchrony may have seen better days, and if his odds at post time are near the morning line of 3-1, he'll be an underlay entering off a layoff. Factor This is the true definition of a value play. Bet him across the board. Race 11: Rachel Alexandra (G2) 1 1/16 miles; 6:05 p.m. ET Value play: No. 2 Ursula (8-1) I'm not saying Ursula will beat No. 6 British Idiom. I'm not saying Ursula is the second-best filly in the Rachel Alexandra. But I am saying If you have to pick one horse to bet in this race, Ursula is it. Her morning line odds are four times greater than No. 7 Finite, whom she was beaten by a head last time out. Two races back, Ursula had the best glimpse of Oaklawn Park's Martha Washington winner Taraz as that one took the Letellier Memorial on this strip at Fair Grounds by 11 1/4 lengths going six furlongs in the slop. Ursula has talent -- maybe not as much as the undefeated Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner British Idiom, but she can run. She's a Tapit filly, and there's a chance she's going to continue to improve with added distance. One thing I've noticed over the years is that jockey Mitchell Murrill always seems to deliver a notable ride on big race days in New Orleans. With British Idiom coming in off the bench, and Ricardo Santana Jr. aboard Finite having to worry about that one, perhaps Ursula gets to the lead and never looks back. If you bet anything in this race, bet Ursula to win and place. If you absolutely believe British Idiom will win, a straight 6-2 exacta makes sense.

 

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