On This Day...
Photo: John C. Englehardt
Risen Star out for a run at Fair Grounds.
Feb. 27, 1988
Risen Star at Fair Grounds

There was no question where Risen Star would be prepared for the 1988 Kentucky Derby (gr. I). After all, part owner and trainer Louie Roussel III was the majority owner of Fair Grounds. The other partner, Ronnie Lamarque, was a New Orleans auto dealer.

Risen Star won by 10 lengths two days into the new year at Fair Grounds, then ran second in the Lecomte Handicap. The son of Secretariat got back on a winning note with a victory in the Feb. 27 Louisiana Derby Trial Stakes over 11 rivals. From there, it was on to the track's signature event.

Risen Star won the Louisiana Derby (gr. III) in what Roussel called the fastest 1 1/16 miles for a 3-year-old ever recorded at the track. The time was 1:43 1/5, and officially it was four-fifths of a second off the track record.

Rousell then took Risen Star to Kentucky. Risen Star won the Lexington Stakes (gr. II) over Forty Niner at Keeneland, but was no match for the filly Winning Colors and Forty Niner in the Run for the Roses. He came back to win the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont (gr. I) Stakes.

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