Mo Town, Guest Suite head big cast likely for Risen Star

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Mar­cus Hersh

At least a dozen 3-year-olds were ex­pected to be en­tered Thurs­day in the Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 25 at Fair Grounds.

Fair Grounds rac­ing of­fi­cials on Wed­nes­day listed Ark­low, Girvin, Guest Suite, It’s Your Nickel, Lo­cal Hero, Mo Town, Share­holder Value, So Con­flated, Sorry Erik, Take­off, Un­trapped, and U S Of­fi­cer as ex­pected en­trants in the Risen Star. The race, one of six stakes on the card, will be con­tested at 1 1/16 miles and is the first North Amer­i­can Ken­tucky Derby prep of the year to of­fer 50 Derby qual­i­fy­ing points to the win­ner.

Mo Town, who won the Rem­sen Stakes last fall in his most re­cent start; Guest Suite, win­ner of the Le­comte Stakes on Jan. 21 at Fair Grounds; and the fast maiden win­ner Lo­cal Hero could vie for Risen Star fa­voritism.

Guest Suite, who won the Le­comte, his 3-year-old de­but, in a very solid per­for­mance, had his ma­jor Risen Star work Tues­day, go­ing five fur­longs in com­pany in a bul­let 59.40 sec­onds.

“We broke him off be­hind an­other horse, and he worked great,” trainer Neil Howard said. “He went off in 25 and change, nice and smooth, and he came home well. He had two nice half-miles be­fore that, and yes­ter­day was kind of his more se­ri­ous work for the race.”

Howard said Guest Suite, a geld­ing by Qual­ity Road, prob­a­bly would have his fi­nal Risen Star work – an eas­ier half-mile drill – on Tues­day.

The Grade 2, $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes for 3-yearold fil­lies, a prep for the Fair Grounds Oaks, is ex­pected to draw a shorter field, with seven horses listed as prob­a­ble en­trants. The chief play­ers fig­ure to be Far­rell, who won the Sil­ver­bul­let­day last month at Fair Grounds; Val­adorna, run­ner-up in the Breed­ers’ Cup Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies and a re­cent Fair Grounds al­lowance-race win­ner; and Shane’s Girl­friend, the Delta Downs Princess win­ner who ships from Cal­i­for­nia for trainer Doug O’Neill.

Eagle ready for Mi­ne­shaft

Eagle worked six fur­longs in a strong 1:12.40 on Mon­day and is all set to make his 5-year-old de­but Feb. 25 in the Grade 3, $125,000 Mi­ne­shaft Hand­i­cap. A good field is ex­pected for the race, with In­ter­na­tional Star, Mo Tom, De­cem­ber Seven, Daz­zling Gem, Hon­or­able Duty, and Dal­more also ex­pected to be en­tered.

Eagle fin­ished a tough-luck se­cond by a head in the 2016 Mi­ne­shaft. Later last spring he won the Grade 3 Ben Ali, and he was se­cond in the Grade 1 Stephen Fos­ter be­fore fin­ish­ing fourth in the Sub­ur­ban Hand­i­cap and then get­ting a wellde­served rest.

Eagle has been work­ing steadily and with ap­par­ent verve for the first start of 2017.

“He’s been on a real nice pat­tern,” Howard said. “He’s do­ing well and looks very good. This is kind of a tall or­der off a lay­off.”

Cox horses pass­ing stakes

Fair Grounds turf-stakes stal­warts Cash Con­trol and Choco­late Ride will not race on the Feb. 25 card, trainer Brad Cox said Wed­nes­day.

Choco­late Ride, one of the top lo­cal grass horses the last two rac­ing sea­sons, fin­ished fourth in the Dilib­erto Memo­rial and third in the Colonel E.R. Bradley ear­lier in the meet and will not race in the Fair Grounds Hand­i­cap on Feb. 25, Cox said.

“He’s train­ing, but he won’t be in that race,” Cox said. “We just backed off a lit­tle. We’re go­ing to look for an al­lowance race in March.”

Cox said his only in­tended starter in the Fair Grounds Hand­i­cap is Western Re­serve, who won the Dilib­erto and was a close se­cond in the Bradley be­hind Granny’s Kitten, an­other ex­pected run­ner next week­end. Cox said he was not plan­ning to en­ter Spe­cial Ops, who im­pressed in con­sec­u­tive turf al­lowance wins at the meet.

Cash Con­trol, a 6-year-old mare, hasn’t worked since she ran be­low par fin­ish­ing fourth Jan. 21 in the Marie Krantz Memo­rial, and Cox said Cash Con­trol won’t race in the Feb. 25 Daisy Devine, a race she won last year. Cox said Cash Con­trol could start April 1 in the $50,000 New Or­leans Ladies. For the Daisy Devine, Cox has am­ple backup in the form of Be­lieve in Ber­tie, the 4-year-old filly who set a one-mile turf-course record romp­ing in the Pago Hop Stakes on Dec. 31.

LOU HODGES JR./HODGES PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Guest Suite, win­ner of the Le­comte, will be among the fa­vorites in next week’s Risen Star.

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