The Brad Cox trained Mandaloun came up short at 4-5 last out but looks capable of turning the tables on Saturday in the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds.
The colt was unable to catch Midnight Bourbon who got away with a dawdling early pace and took the field gate to wire, with Proxy coming back to win the place photo by a head.
The Risen Star is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race with 50-20-10-5 points up for grabs toward entry into the Run for the Roses.
The race is the highlight of Louisiana Derby Preview Day with six stakes on tap at the New Orleans racetrack. The co-feature is the $300,000 Rachel Alexandra (G2), which is a Road to the Kentucky Oaks points race.
A field of 13 was entered in the Risen Star but 12 likely will start. The 3-1 morning line favorite Keepmeinmind will stay at Oaklawn Park according to his connections.
That will likely mean Mandaloun’s price will be shorter than his 9-2 morning line as he tries to bounce back with the addition of blinkers for Cox.
“I feel like the works with blinkers have shown some progression and he can take that next step forward with them and have more focus late,” Cox said. “He was right there in the Lecomte and he was wide. The two horses that finished in front of us had a little more seasoning and I think he got a lot out of that race.”
2021 Lecomte Replay
Santa Cruiser may offer some value and is 15-1 on the morning line. The colt was off poorly in the Lecomte and was making up ground late in a race void of any early pace.
Senor Buscador ships in from Sam Houston for trainer Todd Fincher. He won the Springboard Mile at Remington Park going a mile in his last outing, drawing off to win by 5 ¼ lengths.
Fincher thinks the long stretch at Fair Grounds will suit his colt, a son of Mineshaft out of the stakes winner Rose’s Desert.
“I’ve never been there, it’s a big race, there’s Kentucky Derby points on the line and I’m really looking forward to it,” Fincher said. “I think the distance is absolutely in his favor. My wish list would be two preps and hopefully qualify for the Kentucky Derby.”
My Best Plays for Saturday will include my strongest plays from Aqueduct and Fair Grounds.
Let’s head out to Fair Grounds for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Fair Grounds Race 13 The Risen Star G3 6:18 CT
11 Mandaloun 9-2
10 Santa Cruiser 15-1
2 Proxy 8-1
5 Senor Buscador 6-1
The Cox trainee was sent off at 4-5 in the Lecomte (G3) last out in his stakes debut. The colt tracked the early pace and looked like he was going by the pacesetter in the stretch but came up short late and missed the place spot by a head. The winner was able to set slow early fractions and had enough left late to hang on for the win. Our top pick adds blinkers and gets more ground here as we are going nine furlongs today. His last was his first going two turns and he should move forward off that effort. The colt is by Into Mischief out of the stakes winner Brooch who won a Group 3 at nine furlongs and a Group 2 at a mile overseas. A couple of sharp works on the morning tab and he looks ready to go here.
The ridgling was off poorly in the Lecomte where he was sent off at 7-1. The colt was bumped and then a foe cut him off coming out of the gate, leaving him last. He was outrun early and picked it up late to finish fourth while no match for the top three. The Desormeaux trainee was making his first start against winners. He graduated two back at Churchill Downs going a one turf mile. He ran into Essential Quality in his debut, running third going six furlongs last September, beaten 4 ½ lengths. He got no pace to run at last out and was the lone runner in the field making up ground late. He gets more distance, and just needs to see a little pace in front of him.
This colt also exits the Lecomte. The colt chased the early pace after getting bumped coming out of the gate. He flattened out late while drifting in slightly in the stretch, beaten a length while coming back and winning the place photo. The Stidham trainee has shown improvement in each start and I like the jock switch here to Johnny V. The colt is by Tapit out of the stakes winner Pantry Raid, who earned over a $1 million and was a G1 winner at nine furlongs. She has dropped four other foals to race with three winners, top earner stakes winner Micheline ($545,978).
WIN: Mandaloun to win at 3-1 or better.
EXACTA: 11 / 2,5,6,10 and 10,11 / 2,10,11