The Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star on Saturday has drawn a full field of 13 horses who will go nine furlongs in the first Kentucky Derby prep race of the year that offers the increased points level (50-20-10-5).
The top four finishers from the Lecomte Stakes (G3), which was the first of the Derby preps this year at Fair Grounds, are in the field.
Here is a full field analysis with Morning Line odds for the Risen Star, which is the final race of the day on a card of 13. Post Time is scheduled for 7:20
1. STARRININMYDREAMS [ML 12-1] Trainer: Dallas Stewart. Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr. This Winner of his first two starts at Churchill Downs as a 2-year-old returns from his latest- a two-turn allowance Victory for trainer Dallas Stewart, who is also listed as an owner and breeder along with Win Star Farms.
2. PROXY [ML 8-1] Trainer: Michael Stidham. Jockey: John Velazquez. Once settled into the Fair Grounds this guy has run big. Broke his Maiden, Won an Allowance, and then ran 2nd in the Lecomte Stakes (G3). He earned four Derby points in that prep race with a less than ideal trip where got bumped at the break and then had some trouble in the stretch, yet still battled for 2nd place, beating the favorite for that spot. He possesses tactical speed, and gets a great rider change to Hall of Famer Johnny V.
3. BEEP BEEP [ML 20-1] Trainer: Norm Casse. Jockey: Miguel Mena. This Marylou Whitney home-bred Won his debut at Churchill Downs in November. He then returned to run 4th in an Allowance at Fair Grounds last month.
4. CARILLO [ML 15-1] Trainer: Tom Amoss. Jockey: James Graham. He was a debut Winner at Aqueduct in January going a mile and went right from there to a dispersal sale where he fetched a big price of $875,000 dollars. The new owners opted to move CARILLO from Chad Brown to Tom Amoss. He’ll probably get bet down because of this story. He has talent but faces a strong and large field here.
5. SENOR BUSCADOR [ML 6-1] Trainer: Todd Fincher. Jockey: Luis Quinonez. He is one of only two Stakes Winners in the field- that being the Springboard Mile at Remington Park following his debut Maiden score. He was content to sit in last place in that Stake and when asked to run entering the turn for home, he moved very quickly and had the lead at the top of the stretch. He drew off to Win by almost six lengths while earning a 93 Beyer Speed Figure, which tops this field. He Won that race with Lasix and now goes without the medication to be eligible for the Derby qualifying points available here. There seems to be enough speed in this field to set-up up his late closing move.
6. MIDNIGHT BOURBON [ML 6-1] Trainer: Steve Asmussen. Jockey: Joe Talamo. This is the other Stakes Winner in the field, his coming last time out in the Lecomte with a front running effort. It was his first start since finishing 3rd in the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. He looked tired in the final 100 yards of the Lecomte as his lead shrunk to one length at the wire. He goes extra distance in this 1 1/8 mile test and will likely face pace pressure.
7. O BESOS [ML 12-1] Trainer: Greg Foley. Jockey: Martin Pedroza. Since moving to Fair Grounds, he Won his last two starts with a Maiden Victory and then an Allowance Win in a sprint. He was slow breaking from the gate in all three starts. Gets a jockey change, and his speed figures are on the rise but this appears to be too tough a spot.
8. SERMONONTHEMOUNT [ML 50-1] Trainer: Tim Dixon. Jockey: Declan Carroll. This $3,500 purchase as a 2-year-old has a 6th place finish in the Sugar Bowl Stakes sandwiched between a Maiden Win and an Allowance Victory at Delta Downs. He is a late runner who has not gone more than seven furlongs. Doesn’t have a prayer.
9. DEFEATER [ML 12-1] Trainer: Tom Amoss. Jockey: Diego Saenz. The word was out when this $210,000 yearling purchase was a debut Winner at Fair Grounds by 2 ¼ lengths at odds of 6-5, going six furlongs last month. He is cross-entered in the eight race, which is a first-level allowance race going 1 1/16 miles. That race seems a better fit for him right now.
10. SANTA CRUISER [ML 15-1] Trainer: Kent Desormeaux. Jockey: Adam Beschizza. It took three tries for him to break his Maiden at Churchill Downs. Finally getting a W, going a mile in November. He came back to run 4th in the Lecomte after getting crushed at the break and falling 15 lengths behind. He is probably better than that race shows.
11. MANDALOUN [ML 9-2] Trainer: Brad Cox. Jockey: Florent Geroux. He was a heavy favorite in all three starts including the Lecomte where he disappointed his backers running 3rd. It was his first start going two turns and racing at Fair Grounds while sitting in good position early on he lacked a closing move down the stretch and also lost the battle for 2nd place. He adds blinkers, which may help, but he will have to go farther against a tougher field.
12. KEEPMEINMIND [ML 3-1] SCRATCHED.
13. RIGHTANDJUST [ML 15-1] Trainer: Shane Wilson. Jockey: Mitchell Murrill. Like others here, he Won his two most recent starts at Fair Grounds. He Won a $50,000 Maiden Claimer and then an Allowance and both races around two-turns. His front-running style works against him here, running from the outside post.
Summary: It’s a wide-open race with the scratch of Morning Line favorite #12 KEEPMEINMIND. That said, a lot of the odds you see here will drastically change come Post Time.
Track conditions might come into play on Saturday at the Fair Grounds as rain is in the forecast. There is a lot on the line here, as a Win will more than likely get you a spot in the Run For The Roses. So all the contenders will bring their A game.
The Play: The Daily Racing Blog has cut the wheat from the chaff and believe five horses have a shot at Winning: #2 PROXY, #5 SENOR BUSCADOR, #6 MIDNIGHT BOURBON, #10 SANTA CRUISER and #11 MANDALOUN.
If you have the bank, we suggest a five-horse Trifecta and Superfecta Box, otherwise key the #2 and #5 on top of the Tri and Super. Especially the #2 if it’s a sloppy track.
We’ll also do Win wagers on any of our top five at odds of 5-1 or greater.
Best of luck no matter how you play it.