Gun Runner wins the 2016 Risen Star Stakes.

Gun Runner wins the 2016 Risen Star Stakes.

Amanda Weir Hodges/Hodges Photograghy

LA Derby: Gun Runner Faces Greenpointcrusader

Seven Risen Star (gr. II) contenders return with four new rivals March 26.

Veterans Ford Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) winner Gun Runner  will take on grade I winner Greenpointcrusader , who last finished second to Mohaymen  in the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II), when the two leave the starting gate side by side in the March 26 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Along with Gun Runner, who drew post one, seven other horses who contested the 1 1/16-mile Risen Star Feb. 20 will stretch out to 1 1/8 miles in pursuit of the Louisiana Derby's $1 million purse and Road to the Kentucky Derby points, awarded on a 100-40-20-10 scale to the top four finishers toward a place in the starting gate for the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Gun Runner currently ranks third on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 51 points, behind Mohaymen (70) and Destin (51). 

ANGST: Gun Runner Opens 3-Year-Old Season in Style

Joining the Winchell Thoroughbreds runner are the next four from the Risen Star in half-length runner-up ForevamoMo Tom, Candy My Boy, and Zapperini. Those return along with Tom's Ready , who ran seventh, and Uncle Walter, who was last of 11.

Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner Greenpointcrusader, departing the two hole, has not raced since the Jan. 30 Holy Bull—his season debut after a seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). He ranks 17th in Kentucky Derby qualifying points with 14, and leads a group of four invaders coming in through various routes to tackle the local runners.

The others are Ontario-bred Battery, winner of a Feb. 10 allowance for trainer Todd Pletcher at Gulfstream Park; Feb. 19 Oaklawn Park allowance winner Conquest Windycity for trainer Mark Casse; and Brad Cox trainee Dazzling Gem, also an allowance winner at Oaklawn on Feb. 13.

Greenpointcrusader has been tuning up for this start with a solid work pattern at Palm Meadows Training Center, including five furlongs in 1:02.30 March 18 for trainer Dominic Schettino. Gun Runner, who made his season debut a winning one with the Risen Star victory, has also been breezing well. He last worked five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 3/5 for trainer Steve Asmussen March 14 at Fair Grounds.

Entries: Louisiana Derby (G2)

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Saturday, March 26, 2016, Race 10

  • Grade II
  • 1 1/8m
  • Dirt
  • $1,000,000
  • 3 yo
  • 5:12 PM (local)
11Gun Runner (KY)Florent Geroux122Steven M. Asmussen3/1
22Greenpointcrusader (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez122Dominick Schettino7/2
33Battery (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateJavier Castellano122Todd A. Pletcher10/1
44Conquest Windycity (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoseph Rocco, Jr.122Mark E. Casse15/1
55Candy My Boy (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFrancisco C. Torres122Roger A. Brueggemann15/1
66Mo Tom (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey J. Lanerie122Thomas M. Amoss5/2
77Tom's Ready (PA)Keeneland Sales GraduateBrian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.122Dallas Stewart15/1
88Uncle Walter (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRobby Albarado122Michael J. Maker20/1
99Dazzling Gem (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateShaun Bridgmohan122Brad H. Cox12/1
1010Zapperini (KY)Julien R. Leparoux122Gregory D. Foley20/1
1111Forevamo (FL)Colby J. Hernandez122Albert M. Stall, Jr.10/1