Risen Star Stakes 2015; Classy Colts Contend for Derby Points
Risen Star Stakes 2015; Classy Colts Contend for Derby Points: This year’s edition of the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes takes place on Saturday, February 21, at Fair Grounds Racecourse in New Orleans, Louisiana. The race is for 3-year-old colts and is run over 1-1/16 miles on the dirt for a purse of $400,000. The Risen Star is a race on the Kentucky Derby Trail that offers 50 points to the winner and 20, 10, and 5 points for the following top finishers, respectively. In addition to being a qualifying race for the ultimate goal of the Kentucky Derby, the Risen Star is also used as a prep race for the Louisiana Derby. Last year the race was won by the ill-fated colt Intense Holiday, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Mike Smith, who later participated in the Kentucky Derby. This year, the Risen Star Stakes features several classy colts who have an opportunity here to earn a spot in the starting gate for the Run for the Roses.
International Star, a son of Fusaichi Pegasus, won the Lecomte Stakes (G3) on January 17, 2015, in convincing style while starting in the one-hole and saving ground. Miguel Mena repeats the mount, but now the horse draws the outside and might lose some ground. A good race, not necessarily a victory, would point him in the right direction to earn a spot in the Derby.
Imperia, a son of Medaglia D’Oro out of the Chilean superstar mare Cocoa Beach, lost by a head to El Kabeir last time out in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on November 29, 2014. In that race Imperia was hurt by the absence of early speed; however, he battled and almost won the race, losing in the final stride by a small margin. Owned by Godolphin and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Imperia will be making his sophomore debut with Mike Smith in the saddle.
Tiznow R J was third in the Lecomte Stakes after being conquered by outsider Hero of Humor. Regardless, that was a nice race for him since he moved up in class from a maiden race to graded stakes competition. Now claiming more experience, an improvement by this colt is expected. Tiznow R J has been working very well, highlighted by his swift six furlongs in 1:11.80 on February 9.
The gelding War Story was initially entered in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park but was scratched because he drew the outside post. He was then entered in the Risen Star at a more familiar racetrack and now draws a very favorable inside post position. War Story was a step slow at the start in the Lecomte but was still able to manage a runner-up performance.
Todd Pletcher is attempting to rack up consecutive victories in the Risen Star, this time competing with the lightly raced J S Bach. This horse crushed the field in a maiden race over 1-1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park, winning wire-to-wire by 8½ lengths. He’s moving up in class and facing horses with more experience, but J S Bach simply needs a good race to stay on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
The rest of the field consists of St. Joe Bay, a graded stakes-placed colt in California; Keen Ice, who was fifth in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park; Bluff, a maiden winner at Fair Grounds; and Big Big Easy and Hero of Humor, both horses without success in graded stakes races.
Risen Star Stakes 2015 Post Positions & Odds
Race #11 5:24 PM CT
1. St. Joe Bay 12-1 F.Geroux/P.Miller
2. Tiznow R J 5-1 R.Albarado/S.Asmussen
3. Bluff 12-1 K.Clark/J.Jones
J S Bach 5-1 R.Bejarano/T.Pletcher
5. Imperia 7-2 M.Smith/K.Mclaughlin
6. War Story 5-1 K.Desormeaux/T.Amoss
7. Hero of Humor 30-1 A.Murgia/G.Dorochenko
8. Keen Ice 8-1 J.Graham/D.Romans
9. Big Big Easy 12-1 R.Eramia/S.Asmussen
10. International Star 9-2 M.Mena/M.Maker