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Risen Star or Rising Stars?

Rise Up 615 X 400 DD
Photo: Coady Photography


Casey’s Picks: Rise Up, Quick Indian, Gold Hawk, Intense Holiday


Vigorish: The Calumet owned son of English Channel is attempting to break his maiden in a grade two. Last time out, he ran second at 1 1/16 on the dirt. Out of a turf sire, his bottom pedigree screams dirt and his entire pedigree has distance threaded throughout. I would like him a bit more if he wasn’t still a maiden. Not sure what to make of him. Not sure if he wants ground added or taken away. Only in the money twice out of six lifetime starts. Not a contender.


Bond Holder: With the connections of Reddam Racing and Doug O'Neill, you naturally expect big things. But, with a colt like Bond Holder, I am not sure what to expect every time he steps onto the track. After breaking his maiden in a G1 Frontrunner, you'd expect a horse to get better and better. But, since the Frontrunner, Bond Holder has not run his race. 4th in the BC Juvenile and 4th in the CashCall, I am wondering if Bond Holder should even be running in this G2. Granted, he has faced top notch competition from the get go, he still doesn't appear to be a horse that will be entering the gate on the first Saturday in May. I don't think the Risen Star will be a winning run by this Mineshaft colt.


Vicar's In Trouble: Last out, this Into Mischief colt discouraged every other in the race when taking the G3 Lecomte for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. With distance questions still lingering, I think this colt has a decent chance. When running, he stalks the pace and pounces at the head of the stretch. I think the added ground as races go on will catch up to him. With a mainly speed oriented pedigree, I wouldn't be surprised if he is actually the speed in this race.


Rise Up: This Rockport Harbor colt is no stranger to graded stakes company. Already a graded stakes winner at 1 1/16 miles, Rise Up has a bang up chance to take this race. He is a fast colt, but I think the 1 1/16 miles is his limit. I like him here, but not as the ground is added in later preps.


Albano: This colt ran second last time out in the Lecomte (G3). He was running for second when Vicar’s In Trouble ran away with the win at the head of the stretch. This colt definitely raises distance questions with me. I think he will be finishing out of the money here.


Son of a Preacher: The son of Pulpit’s last win came at 6f. This was his maiden win. Since then, he has run at 8f or further, not winning a race to date. He will have some class to face and I don’t think he has the talent to win this race. He has the pedigree for the 1 1/16 but I don’t think he is ready for this field. Not a contender.


Interchange: This colt definitely has the pedigree to make the 1 1/16 miles, and even definitely the 10F Kentucky Derby. He has only raced twice, breaking his maiden at first asking at 5 ½ furlongs. This colt will have to handle the distance jump and the class jump before he can cross the wire first. Given his pedigree, I don’t see why he couldn’t be a huge upset.


Hoppertunity: BloodHorse’s Steve Haskin has this one knocking at the door in spot number thirteen in his Derby Dozen. He will have to really good to make this jump in class. Last out, breaking his maiden at a solid mile at Santa Anita, he comes East to test the class here. His connections always seem to work well together and Bob Baffert seems confident this year he will have multiple derby starters. Unsure about the distance, his sire was a winner at 9f and below. Contender.


Intense Holiday: Since making the graded stakes jump from MSW since making the grades stakes debut in the Champagne, he hasn’t finished better than third. The son of Harlan’s Holiday just keeps coming though. This graded stakes field may be more his speed. In every graded stakes race up until now, he has met Honor Code or Cairo Prince, or both. I like his chances here and maybe it will be a breakthrough performance and a learning experience.


Emmett Park (AE): In his maiden race at Turfway, he devastated a huge field by 8 lengths. By Bob and John, out of a Pembroke mare, I think he will enjoy the distance of this race. Major jump in class and I am not sure what to make of him. He is a late runner, so let’s see if he can run down this field. (also eligible)


Flat Gone: Broke his maiden in his seventh start, he is no stranger to graded stakes company. He was fifth in the Frontrunner, third in the Jean Lafitte, and ninth in the Delta Downs Jackpot. I like his pedigree and I would like to see how he handles the lesser competition in this G2. I don’t think he will be a main factor.


Commanding Curve: Last out, breaking his maiden at Churchill, we know he likes the surface there, But, what about the Fair Grounds? He is a winner at the distance and I am sure he will get the distance in the Risen Star. By an AP Indy sire, Master Command, and out of a Lion Hearted mare, he also has some class here. Contender.


Quick Indian: In his last two starts at the Fairgrounds, he has won his races. I believe he will relish the 1 1/16 mile distance. Indian Charlie is the sire, overtop an A.P. Indy mare, I think he has some still to flash. I believe the class jump will suite him since this definitely is not a Kentucky Derby quality field. I do like his chances here. Interested to see how he runs this race, seemingly since he loves the Fair Grounds track.


Xtra Luck: This Florida-bred colt by Exchange Rate is based solely at the Fairgrounds. His sire himself won the Risen Star and went on to win at 8.5f but was mainly a sprinter. Out of a Kris S mare, I am unsure what to think of this colt. He loves the Fairgrounds and has never raced past 1m 70y. Not sure he will want much more distance. Also, every time he has met my possible winning pick Quick Indian, he has lost. Contender for the sole reason he likes the track.


Gold Hawk: Love the pedigree of this horse. By Belmont winner Empire Maker, out of 2000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Caressing, Gold Hawk looks to be the talent of the Risen Star. Last out, he was third in the G3 Lecomte. Never out of the money, I believe the added distance will be a good thing for this colt. Empire Maker’s speed and stamina over a BC winning filly by speedster Honour and Glory, I think this colt could get the 1 1/16 miles. I also believe he has the pedigree for the 10f Kentucky Derby. Contender.


~Written by Casey Laughter 


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