Airoforce has successfully transferred his form to dirt.

Airoforce has successfully transferred his form to dirt.

Keeneland Photo

Airoforce, Mo Tom Top Risen Star

Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) winner set for Feb. 20 season debut.

John C. Oxley's expected favorite Airoforce  invades New Orleans to take on the local contingency—led by G M B Racing's Mo Tom—in the $400,000 Veterans Ford Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) on Feb. 20 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

At 1 1/16 miles on the main track, the Risen Star drew 13 sophomores in pursuit of the total of 85 qualifying points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, with 50-20-10-5 awarded to the top four finishers.

Trained by Mark Casse, Airoforce was a graded stakes winner on both turf and dirt during his juvenile campaign, with his only loss coming by a neck in the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) at Keeneland. To cap his juvenile campaign, he was a smart winner of the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) at Churchill Downs over a sloppy surface, defeating eventual Los Alamitos Futurity (gr. I) and Robert B. Lewis (gr. III) winner Mor Spirit, along with Mo Tom in third. Regular rider Julien Leparoux will ride from post 10 in the son of Colonel John's sophomore bow.
Mo Tom kicked off his 3-year-old season in style with a 2 1/4-length win in the local $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) on Jan. 20. Defeating fellow G M B Racing-owned Tom's Ready  in the process, he won his second stakes in his five-race career. Last year's leading trainer at Fair Grounds Tom Amoss will seek his first victory in the Risen Star when the son of red-hot sire Uncle Mo  breaks from the 2 hole under regular pilot Corey Lanerie.
Tom's Ready, a son of More Than Ready  trained by Dallas Stewart, will try to turn the tables from post 8 under John Velazquez. The Hall of Famer will ride the dark bay for the first time since finishing fourth upon his debut at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 15. Briefly in front at the top of the lane in the Lecomte, Tom's Ready ran gamely in defeat and finished well, three-quarters of a length in front of Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Uncle Walter. That runner, trained by Mike Maker, also returns for more when he breaks from post 12 under Javier Castellano.
Two graded stakes also-rans who must be respected in this spot are Treadway Racing Stable's In Equality, who shipped in from New York for trainer Leah Gyarmati and worked five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 over the local surface on Feb. 13, and Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm's Gun Runner .
In Equality, a game son of Quality Road , was third last out in the $150,000 Jerome Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack on Jan. 2 and will break from the rail under Junior Alvarado. Gun Runner, a good-looking Candy Ride  colt trained by Steve Asmussen, has been working extremely well—including two consecutive six-furlong moves in 1:12 and change—over the local surface and will make his sophomore bow after finishing fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club last out. Leading rider Florent Geroux picks up the mount from post 6.

Entries: Veterans Ford Risen Star S. (G2)

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Saturday, February 20, 2016, Race 11

  • Grade II
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $400,000
  • 3 yo
  • 5:21 PM (local)
11In Equality (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJunior Alvarado116Leah Gyarmati30/1
22Mo Tom (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey J. Lanerie120Thomas M. Amoss3/1
33Dolphus (KY)Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.116Joe Sharp15/1
44Bistraya (LA)Keeneland Sales GraduateEdwin A. Maldonado116Ricky Agarie15/1
55Forevamo (FL)Colby J. Hernandez120Albert M. Stall, Jr.12/1
66Gun Runner (KY)Florent Geroux116Steven M. Asmussen6/1
77Its All Relevant (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoe Bravo116Dominick Schettino15/1
88Tom's Ready (PA)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez116Dallas Stewart8/1
99Laoban (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMiguel Mena116Eric J. Guillot30/1
1010Airoforce (KY)Julien R. Leparoux122Mark E. Casse5/2
1111Zapperini (KY)Francisco C. Torres116Gregory D. Foley30/1
1212Uncle Walter (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJavier Castellano116Michael J. Maker8/1
1313Candy My Boy (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateShaun Bridgmohan116Roger A. Brueggemann15/1