A full field of 12 was drawn to enter the starting gate Feb. 20 in the $300,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) in New Orleans.
The Risen Star is one of four graded stakes on the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots card that also includes the Silverbulletday Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies, Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the turf, and the Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) for older horses.
The 1 1/16-mile Risen Star, Gulfstream’s Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at nine furlongs, and Oaklawn's rescheduled Southwest Stakes (gr. III) take the center spotlight as key Triple Crown preps for the weekend.
Several horses coming out of the Jan. 23 Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) are wheeling back in the Risen Star including the winner Ron the Greek and third-place finisher Letsgetitonmon. Ron the Greek, who rallied from 10th to win the Lecomte by 1 1/2 lengths, will tote 120 pounds while the rest of the field carries 116.
Also drawing attention ahead of the race are up-and-comers Hotep, Drosselmeyer, Discreetly Mine, and Tempted to Tapit.
Ron the Greek, Jack T. Hammer’s homebred son of Full Mandate—Flambe, by Fortunate Prospect was a 7-1 shot back in January as he carried a maiden win at Hoosier Park and an allowance score at Delta Downs on his ledger. Following his big win at Fair Grounds, he drew national attention while closing out as a 31-1 shot in last weekend’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
Letsgetitonmon, by Maria's Mon out of the Trempolino mare Café Concerto, hasn’t won since breaking his maiden in July of 2009, but has placed in three of six starts including the Lecomte. Trained by Steve Asmussen for Bob Zollars and Mark Wagner, Letsgetitonmon tuned up for the Risen Star Feb. 15 with a :49 3/5 half-mile work over a sloppy surface at Fair Grounds.
Samantha and Mace Siegel’s Worldly, who faded to finish fifth in the Lecomte, figures to get back on track in the Risen Star. By A.P. Indy out of the Siegel’s grade I-winning Urbane, Worldly was clocked going five furlongs in 1:03 the morning of Feb. 13.
“After (Worldly) ran fifth in the Lecomte (Jan. 23), we were originally going to give him a month and a half off, said trainer Paul McGee, “but he’s been doing so well we decided to shorten it up to a month.”
Another son of A.P. Indy, Sam-Son Farms’ Hotep, figures to be one of the ones to watch in the Risen Star off an impressive 3 1/4-length allowance win Feb. 1 going a mile and 40 yards. A full brother to Queen’s Plate (Can-IR) winner Eye of the Leopard , Hotep also took to the track Feb. 13, getting five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.
“It was a terrific work,” said trainer Mark Frostad. “I was very pleased, and Robby (Albarado, jockey) was very pleased. When (Hotep) won his last start so impressively I expressed some concern that running back in the Risen Star might come up a little too quick. I wanted to see how he came out of that race. However, he’s been training so forwardly since then I’ve decided that it’s not going to be a problem. We’re in good shape.”
Drosselmeyer, WinStar Farm’s son of Distorted Humor —Golden Ballet, by Moscow Ballet, has turned heads since breaking his maiden Nov. 18 at Churchill Downs by six lengths. In his lone effort at 3, he dusted off allowance foes at Gulfstream Park going 1 1/8 miles. In both efforts he was odds-on, and he closed out the Kentucky Derby Future Wager as the co-fourth choice at 20-1.
Discreetly Mine, second in the Champagne Stakes (gr. II) in mid-October, was a troubled fourth in his 3-year-old debut going six furlongs at Gulfstream in the Jan. 9 Spectacular Bid Stakes (gr. III). The stretchout would seem to suit the Todd Pletcher-trained son of Mineshaft . Training at Palm Meadows in Florida, Discreetly Mine worked a half-mile in :48 4/5 Feb. 14.
Gainesway Stable’s Tempted to Tapit showed he may be force to be reckoned with on the Triple Crown trail after crushing maiden foes at Aqueduct Jan. 18 by 11 1/2 lengths. By Tapit out of the Editor's Note mare Tempting Note, Tempted to Tapit also ships to New Orleans from South Florida where he worked four furlongs in :48.90 on Feb. 15.
Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), Feb. 20, Fair Grounds, $300,000, 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles, 4:43 CST.
PP – Horse – Wgt. – Jockey
1 – Bravo Whiskey – 116 – Curt Bourque
2 – Tempted to Tapit – 116 – D. Cohen
3 – Mountain Justice – 116 – Shane Sellers
4 – Discreetly Mine – 116 – J. Castellano
5 – Random Move – 116 – Miguel Mena
6 – Drosselmeyer – 116 – Kent Desormeaux
7 – Northern Giant – 116 – John Jacinto
8 – Worldly – 116 – Pat Valenzuela
9 – Stay Put – 116 – Jamie Theriot
10 – Letsgetitonmon – 116 – Shaun Brigmohan
11 – Ron the Greek – 120 – John Graham
12 – Hotep – 116 – Robby Albarado