Road to the Kentucky Derby! Risen Star Stakes x2:

The Kentucky derby trail moves to Louisiana as they have split the grade 2 Risen Star Stakes into 2 divisions! They are full competitive fields and I cannot wait to watch!

1st Risen Star Stakes G-2;  Fair Grounds Race 12:

Distance/Surface: 9 Furlongs Dirt

Full Field with Morning Lines (**Favorite:):

  1. Digital 6-1
  2. Silver State 4-1
  3. Ready to Roll 20-1
  4. Perfect Revenge 20-1
  5. Moon Over Miami 10-1
  6. Shashashakemup 20-1
  7. Blackberry Wine 5-1
  8. **Enforceable 7-2
  9. Mr. Monomoy 6-1
  10. Farmington Road 8-1
  11. Scabbard 12-1

Pace Scenario/Initial Thoughts: This is a very interesting race. You have a weird mix of Lecomte horses with some new shooters coming off maiden victories. There are no strong favorites in this race, so plenty of ways for bettors to go here. There is a decent amount of pace in this race. Ready to Roll, Blackberry Wine, and Shashashakemeup look like the early speed in the race. Digital, Scabbard, and Mr. Monomoy look to be your best stalkers in the race. Silver State and Enforceable will be your closers

Horses I like:

  • Perfect Revenge: This is too weird of a placement for me not to take notice. Saffie Joseph claims this horse off a 5th place finish in a $50,000 optional claimer. He then runs Perfect Revenge in another $50,000 optional claimer and gets 2nd losing by 5 lengths. Off that questionable performance, Joseph ships the horse to the Grade 2 Risen Star?! This over confident placement is too fishy not to take a shot on this horse at 20-1! I do like that the horse has been steadily improving since turning 3 and now switches to a high percentage jockey.
  • Ready to Roll: This colt is lightly raced. His 2 year old races were not good as he had poor showings in 2 sprint races. But look back at his first race as a 3 year old. He goes 1 1/6 miles in a $85,000 MSW and wins by 7 ½ lengths! That is major improvement. He clearly wants to go longer, and Bret Calhoun has placed him confidently after that impressive maiden win. The pace scenario sets up well for this horse as well. The horse was bought at auction for $270,000. Clearly the connections think that this horse has talent. At 20-1 I’m taking a shot on this horse.
  • Blackberry Wine: Appears to be the best horse that did not run in the Lecomte stakes and those are the horses I am trying to beat. I was not impressed with the race, and I think these new shooters have a great chance to upset. B. Wine actually ran on the same day as the Lecomte and ran her race a full 3/5 of a second faster than the winner of the Lecomte (Enforceable). He has the top speed figure in the field and is at a very good price.

Horses I’m Playing against:

  • Enforceable: He is a deserving favorite here, but I think he beat a very weak field in the Lecomte and I’m trying to beat at what will likely be a short price. The 7-2 morning line is silly. He will be closer to 8-5 or 2-1. Enforceable has had 5 different jockeys throughout his short career including some great ones like F. Geroux, Tyler Gaffalione, and Jose Ortiz. This is a red flag to me. Why would so many great jockeys be jumping off this horse for other options? My guess is they know the limits of this horse….
  • Mr. Monomoy: This horse will likely improve with more distance, but he’s had two tries now at routing and has come up short both times. In particular, he had a perfect pocket trip in the Lecomte and had no excuse to lose that race. He’ll likely hit the board, but I don’t think he has enough talent to win this race.
  • Scabbard: He’s 12-1 on the morning line, but I think betters will likely bet this one down closer to 6-1. I want no part of him. He as a decent 2 year old, but has simply not blossomed as a 3 year old. This is his 3rd jockey in 3 races. Jockey’s know when horses are live. I think this is telling you what they think of him.
  • Silver State: If there was more speed signed up for this race, I would consider Silver State. But he is a deep closer with problems getting out of the gate. At a short price, I will try to beat.

Top Pick:

I know you will think I’m crazy, but Ready to Roll is my top pick. I know his speed figures have been slower than his competitors, but there is no reason to think this horse cannot improve. This is only his 4th career start and 2nd as a 3 year old. He gets a big upgrade at jockey with Gabriel Saez. His last placement was interesting too. 2 races back he loses a 6f $45,000 MSW by 11 lengths! What do his connections do after that terrible loss?! They send him long in a $85,000 MSW where he posts his best speed figure to date and wins by over 7 lengths. If he improves at all from that race, he is very dangerous at a whopping 20-1 price! Take Ready to Roll! I also recommend a bet on Perfect Revenge at 20-1 as well. If Blackberry Wine, keeps his 5-1 price or better he is a good bet as well.

2nd Risen Star Stakes G-2; Fair Grounds Race 13:

Distance/Surface: 9 Furlongs Dirt

Full Field with Morning Lines (**Favorite:):

  1. Modernist 8-1
  2. Trucelent 20-1
  3. Mr. Big News 20-1
  4. Fame to Famous 20-1
  5. Liam’s Lucky Charm 9-2
  6. Excession 20-1
  7. Major Fed 10-1
  8. **Anneau d’Or 9-5
  9. Lynn’s Map 10-1
  10. Finnick the Fierce 10-1
  11. Mailman Money 8-1
  12. Ny Traffic 10-1

Pace Scenario/Initial Thoughts:  The pace will likely be slow in this race, so we will be looking for frontrunners in this one. Anneau D’Or, Liams Lucky Charm, and Ny Traffic are your likely frontrunners in this one. Behind them, Lynn’s Map, Mailman Money will try to get good stalking trips. Major Fed looks like the only good closer in the race.

Horses I like:

  • Ny Traffic: Previously in the Harold Wyner barn, this horse moved to the Saffie Joseph barn at the begging of this year. The first race out in the new barn, Ny Traffic won gate to wire by 6 ¾ lengths. Javier Castellano takes the mount which is a great sign. On tap of that this horse fired an absolute bullet of a workout on 2/9/20 going 5 furlongs in 58.4 seconds. This horse is improving, clearly healthy, and confidently placed. He’s ready to fire at 10-1 odds!
  • Liam’s Lucky Charm: This horse was raced hard in his 2 year old campaign racing 5 times in as many months stepping up in class each time. He was clearly tired. They then gave this horse a nice layoff. After the layoff he fires a huge win in a non-graded stakes by 5 ½ lengths. I am slightly concerned that this horse might be a better sprinter than a router. But there is not a lot of speed signed up for this race, so if LL Charm can get to the lead early, I don’t think the other runners will be able to catch him. He should improve second off a layoff and at almost 5-1 he is worth a bet.
  • Major Fed: If the pace is faster than I anticipate, then Major Fed has the best chance to pick up the pieces late. He has a very strong closing kick which he showed off in his maiden win last out. He’ll need the right pace setup, but if he gets it, he’s mighty dangerous at a good price.

Horses I’m Playing against:

  • Anneau d’Or: He was a very good 2 year old horse. But now he is being asked to come win a competitive grade 2 race off a two month layoff. That is very difficult to do. His 9-5 morning line is silly as I expect him to go off as your heavy favorite… closer to 6-5. He has never left the west coast, so we have no idea whether he’ll like the track at Fair Grounds. He also has a jockey switch to Joel Rosario which might be an upgrade but is yet another variable to consider. Trainer Blaine Wright is only a 19% shipper with a -$0.88 ROI. In other words he’s shipping heavy favorites that win less than 20% of the time. With so many unknowns, I’m going to try to beat.

Top Pick:

Ny Traffic is my top pick! This is yet another suspicious placement by Saffie Joseph. Not many people are willing to throw a horse off an optional claimer into a grade 2 stakes race. Saffie wins 31% of his graded stakes with a $5.72 ROI.  He would not place this horse here if he didn’t think Ny Traffic was live. His workouts are impressive, he is confidently placed, and clearly improving as a 3 year old. Love him at 10-1!