Now it gets fun! The Risen Star takes place Saturday at the Fair Grounds in Louisiana and is the first of the 50-20-10-5 point races in the official Kentucky Derby prep season.
The race is the 12th on the card and is set for a 4:02 p.m. PDT post.
Following is a breakdown of the key horses in the race:
War of Will (5-2): Won his last two starts for trainer Mark Casse, including the LeComte, the prep for this race. Gets Tyler Gaffalione back up here and there’s a lot to like about his chances. The preferred running style is to sit just off the pace and get first run when they hit the lane. It has worked in his last two starts, but things get considerably tougher here.
Owendale (6-1): The winner of two of six career starts for trainer Brad Cox, Owendale has yet to run a graded race, but is coming off an impressive score in an optional claimer over the Fair Grounds track. Shaun Bridgmohan returns to ride for the third straight race. This may be a step up, but the horse has shown he likes the track. His 91 Beyer in the last start is the second best behind the heavy favorite.
Hog Creek Hustle (8-1): The Vickie Foley runner was second in the LeComte, four lengths back of War of Will at 13-1. Florent Geroux was up for the first time that day and rides back here. He has run well in two starts over the track.
Plus Que Parfait (10-1): The horse got a decent amount of love heading into the LeComte, but then stumbled at the start, and later bumped for a bad trip, finishing 5th. So, what happens here? If you liked the Brendan Walsh runner heading into that last start, then you probably should give him a pass for that effort and one more chance here. Julien Leparoux returns for the ride, another positive sign. Might get some value here so keep your options open.
Mr. Money (12-1): Here is one intriguing horse. He was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for trainer William Calhoun and has not run since. There has been a series of impressive works over the Fair Grounds and if he is ready to roll, this could be your wildcard.
Henley’s Joy (10-1): Only one bad effort in six starts and that came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Other than that, the Michael Maker runner has three wins and two seconds in the five starts. My concern? All six starts have come over the turf so how will he take to the main track. One to watch, but Gaffalione does stick with War of Will.
By Dennis Miller