Trainer Ken McPeek, who saddled Rogue Romance to run third in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 19, said that the colt would be returning to Fair Grounds to run back in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) next month.
McPeek also said that Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. III) winner Kathmanblu is ticketed for the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) on the same day.
“Everything is fine with both of them,” McPeek said on the morning of Feb. 27 while speaking by phone from South Florida, “and we’re planning on coming back with both of them.”
The $1 million Louisiana Derby, at 1 1/8 miles, and the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks at 1 1 1/16 miles, are part of a strong stakes program at Fair Grounds March 26.
Prior to the Risen Star, Catesby Clay’s Rogue Romance, a son of Smarty Jones , had not raced since finishing third in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs.
Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stables’ Kathmanblu had won Gulfstream’s $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes Jan. 22 in her 2011 debut before taking the Rachel Alexandra.
Nine years ago, McPeek saddled Take Charge Lady to win the Fair Grounds Oaks and Repent to capture the Louisiana Derby, both for Select Stable.
With its purse boosted to $1 million, the Louisiana Derby's 98th running will become the richest Thoroughbred race ever run in New Orleans.
Kathy Ritvo, who trains Risen Stat winner Mucho Macho Man for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing, said she has not decided on the Macho Uno colt's next start.
“Mucho Macho Man is doing great today,” Ritvo said, speaking by phone from South Florida Feb. 27, “but we just need a couple of more days to decide what’s next. We’ll probably have something decided by Wednesday (March 2).”
Just for Fun Stable’s Decisive Moment, fifth in the Risen Star Stakes after making the pace, also remains under consideration for the Louisiana Derby.
Trainer Juan Arias said the son of With Distinction, winner of the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs Jan. 14, has completely recovered from a slight soft tissue injury in his left hind.
“We X-rayed him and did an ultrasound on him and he came out clean,” said Arias. “He’s back in training now and we’re looking for another race for him at the end of March. The Louisiana Derby is definitely one of the races under consideration for him. ”