Mo Town, Guest Suite head big cast likely for Risen Star
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.
Guest Suite, winner of the Lecomte, will be among the favorites in next week’s Risen Star.