This year’s running of the Grade 2, $400,000 dollar Risen Star Stakes will be Saturday at Fairgrounds.
The Winner of last year’s Risen Star– MANDALOUN may yet wind up as the Winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby if the late MEDINA SPIRIT is disqualified for a failed drug test. That remains an apple of discord, involving regulators and lawyers – and a possibility that could become reality any day now.
Seems fitting, in that it was only three years ago that the Risen Star produced an asterisked Derby Winner.
In 2019 COUNTRY HOUSE came in 2nd at Fairgrounds – and again, (seemingly) less than three months later at Churchill Downs. But then came the 22-minute wait for Kentucky stewards to disqualify 1st-place finisher MAXIMUM SECURITY for interference. When he came down, COUNTRY HOUSE went up and became the second Risen Star graduate to Win the Derby.
The legacy of WAR EMBLEM is much less complicated. After he finished 6th in the 2002 Risen Star, his one-gear, front-running style took him to Victories that spring in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
The Risen Star’s ring of honor extends beyond successes at Churchill Downs. MASTER DERBY in 1975 and WAR OF WILL in 2019 each pulled off the Risen Star–Preakness double.
In 2013, both Preakness Winner OXBOW and Belmont Stakes Victor PALICE MALICE made up the back end of the Superfecta that year in the Risen Star.
Two other Winners of the Louisiana race, MUCHO MACHO MAN and GUN RUNNER, went beyond the Triple Crown with Victories as older horses in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. In fact, GUN RUNNER became an Eclipse Award-Winning Horse of the Year as a 4-year-old in 2017.
So the Risen Star Stakes has a nice history of showcasing some very talented horses.
Will this year’s edition foreshadow the first Saturday in May?
On Friday the Daily Racing Blog will take a look at the field for this year’s contest. So stop back and see who we like.