Saturday’s $400,000 Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds is the first Road to the Kentucky Derby points race with 50 points up for grabs to the winner, virtually assuring the winner a starting spot in the gate on the first Saturday of May for the Run for the Roses.
A field of 10 will line up led by the LeComte (G3) winner Instilled Regard for the Jerry Hollendofer barn. The colt is the 8-5 morning line favorite and will break from the five post with jockey Javier Castellano in the irons.
LeComte runner up Principe Guilherme is the second choice on the morning line at 7-2 and the undefeated Todd Pletcher trainee Noble Indy is the third choice on the morning line at 5-1.
The Risen Star offers up 50-20-10-5 points toward entry into the Kentucky Derby. There are two other Road to the Kentucky Derby points races on tap this weekend—Saturday’s $100,000 El Camino Real at Golden Gate Fields and Monday’s $500,000 Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park.
For the latest Kentucky Derby future odds go to US Racing.
Each of those two races offer 10-4-2-1 points toward entry into the Kentucky Derby.
The Risen Star serves as a prep for the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 24.
The Risen Star has produced several leading Kentucky Derby contenders in the last few years including Gun Runner who was third in the 2016 edition and Golden Soul and Commanding Curve, who were second in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
2013 Preakness (G1) winner Oxbow ran in the Risen Star as did 2013 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Palace Malice.
Let’s head out to Fair Grounds for Saturday’s featured raced of the day:
Fair Grounds Race 9 The Risen Star (G2) Post time 5:03 CT
1 High North 15-1
5 Instilled Regard 8-5
9 Principe Guilherme 7-2
2 Noble Indy 5-1
High North makes his three-year-old debut here for the Brad Cox barn. In his last outing the colt was fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs, beaten five lengths. The colt was bumped and bothered on the first turn by a loose horse, was outrun in the early going and came up the inside with a mild late run. Three runners came out of that race to win next out while the top pair most recently ran third and fourth in the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Our top pick graduated two back at Keeneland by a nose going two turns after running second at Belmont Park behind Avery Island, who came back to win the Nashua (G2), run second in the Remsen (G3) and then win the Withers (G3) in his most recent outing. Cox has this guy cranked up with sharp works and is 24% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. He was a $230,000 Keeneland purchase, by Midnight Lute out of the stakes winner Spacy Tracy ($249,690) who has dropped two other winners including stakes winner Benner Island ($305,863).
Instilled Regard won the LeComte (G3) last out at Fair Grounds in a sharp effort over three foes he faces again today. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee made his stakes debut two back in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) where he was third beaten ¾ of a length and placed second thanks to a DQ of the winner Solomini.
McKinzie was placed first and then came back to win the Sham (G3) in his next outing on Jan. 6. The colt owns a solid pace profile throughout and his last pair of speed figs are tops in here. The colt was a $1,050,000 Ocala purchase, by Arch out of a Forestry mare.
Principe Guilherme was the beaten chalk in the LeComte. He was caught out wide on the first turn, bumped with a foe at the half mile pole and finished up well while unable to get to the winner in the stretch. The colt broke his maiden in his debut by 6 ¼ lengths and then romped over Alw-1 optional claimers by 11 ¾ lengths in fast time in his first trip over the main track at Fair Grounds.
The colt was a $600,000 purchase, by Tapit out of the stakes winner Aubby K ($435,004). With just one stake try under his belt the Asmussen trainee still appears to have some upside.
WIN: High North to win at 8-1 or better.
EXACTA: 1,5 / 1,2,5,9
TRIFECTA: 1,5 / 1,2,5,9 / 1,2,5,6,9
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