Circular Quay, Risen Star favorite shown winning the Hopeful Stakes last year.

Circular Quay, Risen Star favorite shown winning the Hopeful Stakes last year.

Coglianese photo

Circular Quay Tops Full Field in Risen Star Stakes

Edited Fair Grounds report

Michael and Doreen Tabor’s Circular Quay, an Eclipse Award finalist as a juvenile last season, kicks off his 3-year-old campaign by heading a full field of 14 sophomores named to the $300,000 grade III Risen Star Stakes, the featured event of “Louisiana Derby Preview Day” Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course.

A chestnut son of 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch, Circular Quay closed out his 2-year-old campaign with a runner-up finish in the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Nov. 4 despite being steadied and pinched back at the break. Two months prior, the Kentucky-bred proved much the best when capturing the grade I Hopeful at Saratoga.

Two-time Eclipse Award winning jockey John Velazquez will make his first visit to Fair Grounds this season for the mount on Circular Quay, who will break from post position No. 5 and has been installed as the 9-5 favorite in the Risen Star morning line.

Another graded stakes winner in the Risen Star field is J. Paul Reddam’s Notional, who easily captured Santa Anita’s grade II San Rafael Stakes Jan. 13.  That California-bred West Coast invader had previously finished sixth in the grade I Hollywood Futurity Dec. 16, in which he was beaten 2 1/2 lengths. Six-time Fair Grounds riding champion Robby Albarado is named aboard Notional, who will break from post No. 12 and is the early 9-2 second choice.

Also making his sophomore debut on Saturday is Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Zanjero, second to Nobiz Like Shobiz in Aqueduct’s grade II Remsen in his last start Nov. 25.  The Remsen winner moved to  the fore of this year’s 3-year-old division with his impressive tally in last Saturday’s grade III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream, further enhancing the quality of Zanjero, who will break from post No. 10 with Jesus Castanon up.

Other contenders in the Risen Star include Izzie’s Halo, who was second to Hard Spun in last month’s grade III Lecomte Stakes; Teuflesberg, who won the Sugar Bowl Stakes and was third in the Lecomte; and Weather Warning, who tries two turns and stakes company for the first time but has a pair of impressive victories at the meet.

Trainer Cam Gambolati said Spectacular Bid Stakes winner Buffalo Man would stay in Florida for Monday's $100,000 OBS Championship in Ocala rather than travel to New Orleans for the Risen Star.

Field for the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), in post position order, with weight, jockey, and morning-line odds:

1--Slew's Tizzy, 116, James Graham, 30-1
2--Makeithapencaptain, 116, Ramsey Zimmerman, 30-1
3--Beta Capo, 120, Donnie J. Meche, 30-1
4--Izzie's Halo,  116, Jesse M. Campbell, 8-1
5--Circular Quay, 122, John R. Velazquez, 9-5
6--Westwon, 116, Corey J. Lanerie, 15-1
7--Scat Thief, 116, Joseph Talamo, 30-1
8--Imawildandcrazyguy, 116, Fernando Jara 15-1
9--Spankey Come Home, 116, Gerry Olguin, 30-1
10--Zanjero, 120, Jesus Lopez Castanon, 5-1
11--Weather Warning, 120, Lonnie Meche, 10-1
12--Notional, 122, Robby Albarado, 9-2
13--Teuflesberg, 122, Emma-Jayne Wilson, 15-1
14--(SCRATCHED) Buffalo Man, 122, Jose Lezcano, 10-1