2020 Risen Star Stakes Cheat Sheet

Racing
Enforceable (left) and Anneau d’Or headline Saturday’s Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds, which has been split into two divisions. (Jan Brubaker-Hodges Photography/Eclipse Sportswire)

Saturday’s $400,000, Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford at Fair Grounds is the first prep race on the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby that elevates the points distribution to the top four finishers to the tune of 50-20-10-5.

Finishing first in the 1 1/8-mile Risen Star goes a long way, then, toward securing a spot in the 20-horse starting gate when the 146thKentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve is run on May 2, and a second- or third-place finish is a big help toward accumulating the necessary points to qualify for the Derby as well.

The 48th running of the Risen Star attracted such a large number of horses that the race has been split into two divisions. Each division carries the same $400,000 purse and also offers full Derby points distribution to the top four finishers.

The first division has a scheduled post time of 6:38 p.m. ET and features 11 runners, topped by Lecomte Stakes winner Enforceable. The second division has a post time of 7:12 p.m. ET and drew 12 starters, headlined by California shipper Anneau d’Or, who just missed winning last fall’s TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Both races will be broadcast live on FOX Sports’ America’s Day at the Races, airing nationally on FS2, and also on TVG.

Whether you are interested in making a couple of bucks on the race or just want to know a little bit about this year’s runners, we’ve got you covered with our 2020 Risen Star Stakes Cheat Sheet.


Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford, First Division, post time 6:38 p.m. ET

1. Digital (6-1)

Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

Trainer: Bret Calhoun

Owner: Tom Durant

Career record: 3 starts – 1 win – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $56,000

Earnings per start: $18,667

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 100

Pedigree: Into Mischief – Cool Spell, by Grand Slam

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This son of leading 2019 sire Into Mischief enters the Risen Star’s first division off of a one-length loss to Blackberry Wine, who also drew into this race. He was favored over that foe at odds of 3-2 versus 4.20-1 in a 1 1/16-mile allowance-optional claiming race at Fair Grounds on Jan. 18, and led in early stretch but could not hold off Blackberry Wine’s late charge. Digital did boost his Equibase Speed Figure to an even 100 in his first start at age 3. He’s yet to run a bad race and should be considered for inclusion on all exotic tickets in a very competitive race, but he’ll need to break well from the inside post and get a good ground-saving trip on Saturday, and he has had had troubled starts in two of his three races to date. Jockey Brian Hernandez won the 2017 Risen Star aboard Girvin.


Coady Photography

2. Silver State (4-1)

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owners: Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing

Career record: 3 starts – 1 win – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $96,106

Earnings per start: $32,035

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 99

Pedigree: Hard Spun – Supreme, by Empire Maker

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Silver State looms as one of the main challengers to Enforceable in Saturday’s first division of the Risen Star, based on his encouraging effort in the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds on Jan. 18. He bobbled and got bumped at the break and raced near the rear early in that 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Derby points race, but Silver State mustered a stout rally at the top of the stretch and continued on well to finish 1 ½ lengths behind Enforceable while besting Mr. Monomoy by a neck for second. All three of those horses return in this division of the Risen Star, and Silver State will need to overcome his tendency to start poorly, which has hampered him in all three of his races, and get a clean trip in a crowded race in order to win. This colt should appreciate the extra half-furlong on Saturday as a son of 2007 Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun and out of an Empire Maker mare who’s related to 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos. Whether he’ll get a fast enough early pace to set up his closing kick is another question. Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has won the Risen Star twice, with Pyro in 2008 and with eventual 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner in 2016. Winchell Thoroughbreds co-owned Gun Runner.


3. Ready to Roll (20-1)

Jockey: Gabriel Saez

Trainer: Bret Calhoun

Owner: Allied Racing Stable

Career record: 3 starts – 1 win – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $58,800

Earnings per start: $19,600

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 82

Pedigree: City Zip – One for London, by Eskendereya

Color: Bay

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Ready to Roll figures to be one of two or three horses contesting the early pace in this division of the Risen Star along with Blackberry Wine, Shashashakemeup and possibly Mr. Monomoy and Farmington Road. He enters off of a maiden win in a 1 1/16-mile race on Jan. 24 at Oaklawn Park, where he took to a muddy track with relish and drew away to win by 7 ½ lengths after gaining the lead early on. His first two efforts in sprints last fall as a juvenile were not impressive, but his first start came on turf and he was roughed up at the beginning of his second race. This colt posted good workouts at Fair Grounds since his Oaklawn victory for Bret Calhoun, who also has Digital entered in this division of the Risen Star. Gabriel Saez, who won the 2009 Risen Star on Friesan Fire and took last year’s Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby on By My Standards for these connections, has the mount, and that’s a big plus as he’s a good judge of pace who is very familiar with Fair Grounds’ track and its long stretch. Having said all of that, Ready to Roll will still have to improve his top Equibase Speed Figure by somewhere around 20 points to reach the winner’s circle against this formidable field.


4. Perfect Revenge (20-1)

Jockey: Shaun Bridgmohan

Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.

Owners: Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch

Career record: 8 starts – 1 win – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $41,146

Earnings per start: $5,143

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 83

Pedigree: I Want Revenge – Ourperfectpastor, by Pleasantly Perfect

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This longshot contender ships in from Florida after finishing fifth and second in his first two dirt starts. Prior to that, he won one of six races competing on turf and the all-weather Tapeta Footings surface at Woodbine, and finished last of 12 in his only stakes appearance north of the border. On the (slightly) positive side, he did finish second in his most recent start, a one-mile starter-optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park, which was his first race for a new owner and trainer after he was claimed in December. But Perfect Revenge only earned an Equibase Speed Figure of 73 in that race, and overall he appears overmatched against most of the first-division Risen Star field. Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan won the 2008 Risen Star on Pyro.


Viola Jasko/NYRA Photo

5. Moon Over Miami (10-1)

Jockey: Junior Alvarado

Trainer: Bill Mott

Owner: Summer Wind Equine

Career record: 3 starts – 1 win – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $43,440

Earnings per start: $14,480

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 95

Pedigree: Malibu Moon – Zinzay, by Smart Strike

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Summer Wind Equine homebred disappointed in his first start at age 3, when he finished fifth of eight as the 1.70-1 favorite in a 1 1/16-mile allowance-optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 11 (a race won by Risen Star second-division entrant Ny Traffic). He closed out his juvenile campaign on Dec. 7 with a very impressive win over Farmington Road in a one-mile Aqueduct maiden race and now returns to face that foe along with several accomplished locally based contenders at Fair Grounds. If Moon Over Miami can regain his December form, he shapes up as an interesting upset candidate in the Risen Star. His extended pedigree rivals Enforceable’s as the best in this division’s field, as his dam is related to millionaire and Coaching Club American Oaks winner Music Shop as well as Musical Chimes, a French classic winner and a turf Grade 1 winner in the U.S. Look for Moon Over Miami’s jockey, Junior Alvarado, to keep Enforceable in his sights as both of those horses settle in midpack before the real running begins at the top of the stretch. Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott finished second in last year’s Risen Star with Country House – which was the stakes debut for that soon-to-be controversial Kentucky Derby winner.


6. Shashashakemeup (20-1)

Jockey: James Graham

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 3 starts – 1 win – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $36,760

Earnings per start: $12,253

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 95

Pedigree: Shackleford – Churchflower, by Pulpit

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Shashashakemeup fought for the early lead in the Jan. 18 Lecomte Stakes before tiring at the top of the Fair Grounds stretch, and will need a much-improved effort in arguably a more competitive race to have any chance at winning Saturday’s first division of the Risen Star. He turned heads right off the bat last November at Churchill Downs, wiring the field in a 5 ½-length score at seven furlongs and earning a good first-out Equibase Speed Figure of 95. Since then, he’s disappointed in his two stakes tries at Fair Grounds. Jockey James Graham, a good pace rider, stays on Shashashakemeup for the fourth straight start and probably will put him in the race early once again to compete with Ready to Roll and Blackberry Wine for the lead. Graham and trainer Keith Desormeaux memorably won the 2013 Risen Star with 135.20-1 shot Ive Struck a Nerve.


Coady Photography

7. Blackberry Wine (5-1)

Jockey: Adam Beschizza

Trainer: Joe Sharp

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 6 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 3 thirds

Career earnings: $112,622

Earnings per start: $18,770

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 101

Pedigree: Oxbow – Classicism, by A.P. Indy

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This colt stands perhaps the best chance of displacing one of the top three finishers in last month’s Lecomte Stakes – Enforceable, Silver State, and Mr. Monomoy – from filling out the trifecta again in the first division of the Risen Star. The Calumet Farm homebred was pointed to turf for his first five starts, but two of those – his career debut and a 1 1/16-mile maiden race at Churchill Downs on Nov. 30 – were rained off the grass and run on dirt. Blackberry Wine won the November race at Churchill by an impressive 5 ¾ lengths, and, after making one more start on turf, went back to dirt on Jan. 18 at Fair Grounds in an allowance-optional claiming race held at the same two-turn distance as his maiden win. He turned back a game challenge from Risen Star foe Digital in midstretch of that race, and posted an impressive one-length victory which netted a 101 Equibase Speed Figure. That figure is the highest among the field for this division of the Risen Star, and it’s worth noting that Blackberry Wine’s final time of 1:43.22 for the win was half a second faster than Enforceable’s time of 1:43.72 in the Lecomte run later that same day at Fair Grounds. This son of 2013 Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow has posted a bullet workout on this track since his victory, and he also has a favorable running style for this division as the 11-horse field lacks early speed. Trainer Joe Sharp won the 2017 Risen Star with Girvin.


Eclipse Sportswire

8. Enforceable (7-2)

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Trainer: Mark Casse

Owner: John Oxley

Career record: 7 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $267,150

Earnings per start: $38,164

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 97

Pedigree: Tapit – Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union

Color: Gray or roan

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: A late developer who’d kept good company throughout his juvenile season, Enforceable put it all together in last month’s Lecomte Stakes, getting a perfect off-the-pace ride from Julien Leparoux and pulling clear in deep stretch to post a clear win over Silver State and Mr. Monomoy. He finished a creditable third and fourth in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity and Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, respectively, to close out 2019 and overall has never truly run a poor race through seven starts. He will have to take another step up in form to notch another stakes win in Saturday’s first division of the Risen Star, however, with two notes of caution. First, his career-top Equibase Speed Figure of 97 earned in the Lecomte is lower than those of several other contenders, including upstart Blackberry Wine (see above). Second, he is a closer dependent on a solid pace, and this division of the Risen Star doesn’t figure to be run especially fast early on. Enforceable does possess an elite pedigree with plenty of stamina, however, as a son of accomplished stallion Tapit and out of a multiple graded-stakes winning mare in Justwhistledixie who has also produced three other graded stakes winners at route distances. Trainer Mark Casse won this race last year with eventual Preakness Stakes winner War of Will, and Enforceable gives him a great opportunity for a repeat. Read Mike Curry's Making the Grade analysis for Enforceable.


Coady Photography

9. Mr. Monomoy (6-1)

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Trainer: Brad Cox

Owners: Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, and Doheny Racing Stable

Career record: 4 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $87,162

Earnings per start: $21,791

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 94

Pedigree: Palace Malice – Drumette, by Henny Hughes

Color: Bay

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This half-brother (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to 2018 champion 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl ran a solid third in the Lecomte Stakes last month behind Enforceable and Silver State and was the only horse who raced in the first division of horses (sitting fourth through the backstretch) to still remain in contention during the final furlong. It will be interesting to see where jockey Florent Geroux places him in Saturday’s first division of the Risen Star, which figures to have a pedestrian early pace set by either Ready to Roll, Shashashakemeup, or Blackberry Wine. Mr. Monomoy had troubled starts in his first three races before getting away better in the Lecomte, and it will be paramount for Geroux to have him break cleanly from an outside post so he can use the colt’s early speed to get him in a good spot just off the pace. This son of 2013 Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice figures to improve as the races get longer, and is a logical candidate to hit the board in the Risen Star. Geroux won the 2016 Risen Star aboard Gun Runner; he currently leads all jockeys at Fair Grounds in earnings and finished as the leading money winner at the track in both 2018 and 2019.


10. Farmington Road (8-1)

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Owners: Robert LaPenta, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Chrysalis Stables

Career record: 3 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $29,000

Earnings per start: $9,667

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 100

Pedigree: Quality Road – Silver La Belle, by Langfuhr

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Todd Pletcher trainee is an intriguing ship-in contender for the Risen Star’s first division. He made his first two starts last fall as a 2-year-old, finishing a well-beaten fifth at Belmont Park in a six-furlong sprint and then a distant second behind Risen Star opponent Moon Over Miami in a one-turn mile maiden race at Aqueduct in December. He returned for his 3-year-old debut in a one-mile and 70-yard, two-turn race at Tampa Bay Downs and charged through the stretch from a pace-stalking position to win going away by 1 ¾ lengths. Look for Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano, who was on Farmington Road at Aqueduct, to have his charge right in the middle of – perhaps splitting – the 11-horse field Saturday before asking him for run in the far turn. He faces a big jump in class but has the right connections and a good pedigree in his favor, as his dam won at 1 1/8 miles in her career and is a half-sister (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to multiple long-distance turf stakes winner Silverfoot. Pletcher and Castellano teamed up to win the 2010 and 2012 editions of the Risen Star with Discreetly Mine and El Padrino, respectively. Pletcher also trained 2014 Risen Star winner Intense Holiday.


Coady Photography

11. Scabbard (12-1)

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Eddie Kenneally

Owner: Joseph Sutton

Career record: 5 starts – 1 win – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $236,848

Earnings per start: $47,370

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 96

Pedigree: More Than Ready – Cowgirl Mally, by Gone West

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This colt has amassed more than $236,000 in earnings by competing creditably in graded stakes, but he has not reached the winner’s circle since capturing a six-furlong Churchill Downs maiden race in his career debut back in June 2019. Since then, he has finished second in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special Stakes, runner-up again to highly-regarded Dennis’ Moment in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes (arguably his best race so far), fourth in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and a non-threatening fifth in last month’s Lecomte Stakes in his 3-year-old debut. He is a one-dimensional closer who can be counted on to give a good effort and pass some horses in the stretch, but he’s also a colt that needs a lot of variables to play out in his favor to boost his win chances. Getting Joel Rosario, an expert off-the-pace jockey, to ride is a big plus for Scabbard, but overall based on his prior form and the level of his competition on Saturday, a minor award appears to be his ceiling once again.


Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford, Second Division, post time 7:12 p.m. ET

1. Modernist (8-1)

Jockey: Junior Alvarado

Trainer: Bill Mott

Owners: Marty and Pam Wygod

Career record: 3 starts – 1 win – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $48,800

Earnings per start: $16,267

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 93

Pedigree: Uncle Mo – Symbolic Gesture, by Bernardini

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: After finishing fifth and third in his two juvenile starts last year, Modernist showed encouraging improvement in his 3-year-old debut, romping in a 1 1/8-mile maiden race at Aqueduct on Jan. 25. The Wygod family homebred set slow fractions on a track rated as good and defeated five suspect opponents, and he now steps immediately up to face graded stakes company in the second division of the Risen Star. Look for jockey Junior Alvarado to put his colt into the race early against a field that also possesses several other horses that prefer to race on or near the lead, including Truculent drawn just to his outside. Having already won at 1 1/8 miles is a plus, and this colt also has a pedigree that should benefit him in Saturday’s race and even longer ones down the road: his dam is a half-sister (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (now Distaff) winner Life Is Sweet and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Sweet Catomine. However, he’ll need to run faster than he has to date in order to win the Risen Star. Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott finished second in last year’s Risen Star with eventual disqualification-aided Kentucky Derby winner Country House.


2. Truculent (20-1)

Jockey: Declan Carroll

Trainer: Jack Sisterson

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 4 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $55,100

Earnings per start: $13,775

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 82

Pedigree: Raison d’Etat – Raver, by Tiznow

Color: Bay

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This colt has not raced since breaking his maiden in his fourth career start back on Nov. 28 at Fair Grounds. In that race, he set the pace and had plenty in reserve to win the one-mile and 70-yard test by two lengths. He’s been working steadily at Fair Grounds since that victory but faces a very stiff class challenge in Saturday’s second division of the Risen Star, and he’ll have to take a gargantuan leap in ability from his juvenile races to have a shot at hitting the board. Young sire Raison d’Etat has not had much success with his early crops to race; however, this colt is a relative on his dam’s side to the influential sire Pulpit, part of a high-quality Claiborne Farm bloodline. Truculent is also entered in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes on Feb. 14 at Turfway Park, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds.


3. Mr. Big News (20-1)

Jockey: Robby Albarado

Trainer: Bret Calhoun

Owner: Allied Racing Stable

Career record: 4 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $39,053

Earnings per start: $9,763

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 91

Pedigree: Giant’s Causeway – Unappeased, by Galileo

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This son of the late leading sire Giant’s Causeway has improved his form since moving to Fair Grounds, finishing second in a 1 1/16-mile maiden in late December and then winning at the same level and distance on Jan. 20. In the latter start, he raced three wide around both turns and closed well to score by a nose, and his pedigree is packed with stamina on both sides, which bodes well for future route races on dirt or on turf. Still, he’ll have to take another step in development in the Risen Star’s second heat to score the upset against a tougher field than he’s faced before (it’s worth noting that fellow longshot starter Excession defeated him by 13 ¼ lengths last November at Churchill Downs). Jockey Robby Albarado has won the Risen Star three times, in 2003, 2004, and 2007.


4. Fame to Famous (20-1)

Jockey: Colby Hernandez

Trainer: John Mc Allen

Owners: Kingdom Racing

Career record: 5 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 1 third

Career earnings: $66,225

Earnings per start: $13,245

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 94

Pedigree: Tapit – Assateague, by Stormy Atlantic

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This longshot colt will try dirt for the first time after making his first five starts on turf. In his most recent effort, he finished an even fourth behind subsequent Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Sole Volante in the Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Nov. 30. That was his first start for trainer John Mc Allen, who also owns the colt and had him under the care of other trainers earlier in his career. This colt has shown some encouraging ability on turf, but the main track is obviously an unknown. His pedigree is turf-oriented on his dam’s side, as Assateague was a Grade 3 winner on the grass and also produced a stakes winner on the all-weather Tapeta Footings surface. Still, Fame to Famous has appeal as a trifecta or superfecta filler at the very least, as he has the requisite stamina in his pedigree and plenty of two-turn experience to draw on when he races on a new surface Saturday.


SV Photography

5. Liam’s Lucky Charm (9-2)

Jockey: Edgard Zayas

Trainer: Ralph Nicks

Owner: Stonehedge

Career record: 6 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $338,800

Earnings per start: $56,467

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 104

Pedigree: Khozan – P. S. I Love You, by Stormy Atlantic

Color: Bay

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This accomplished Florida-bred colt ships to Louisiana with one big question to answer: can he compete at a winning level in route races? He has captured two stakes so far at seven furlongs – one at Gulfstream Park last summer in the Florida Sire series, and his 3-year-old debut against open company on Jan. 18 at Tampa Bay Downs, where he impressively took the Pasco Stakes by 5 ½ lengths. However, he finished a well-beaten third in his only try around two turns last September in the 1 1/16-mile FTBOA Florida Sire In Reality Stakes. Furthermore, his pedigree is largely sprint-oriented as well, with his young sire Khozan having maxed out at a mile during his racing days and his female family dominated by sprinters and milers. Liam’s Lucky Charm boasts two triple-digit Equibase Speed Figures to date that place him among the fastest horses in either leg of the Risen Star, but he’ll have to carry that speed an extra quarter-mile beyond what he’s handled before in order to topple several other horses that have proven route form and/or sturdier pedigrees.


Coady Photography

6. Excession (20-1)

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 7 starts – 1 win – 0 seconds – 3 thirds

Career earnings: $84,612

Earnings per start: $12,087

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 87

Pedigree: Union Rags – Draw It, by Tapit

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This son of 2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags enters Saturday with plenty to prove in the Risen Star’s second division. He made no impression in his stakes debut last out, checking in seventh of 13 in the Lecomte Stakes at long odds. Prior to that, he won one of six starts with that score coming back in November by a head in a 1 1/16-mile race at Churchill Downs on a sloppy track. In his start between his win and the Lecomte, he was soundly defeated by Lynn’s Map (a starter in this second division) and Mr. Monomoy (who’s entered in the first division). Excession has kept good company since he started racing last July, competing against the likes of eventual Grade 1 winners Basin and Maxfield as a juvenile, but he’s revealed himself to be – so far, at least – a horse that’s simply slower than the best of his class and one who maxes out as a trifecta or superfecta filler in big races. He does have the successful team of Ricardo Santana Jr. and Steve Asmussen in his corner and should get enough pace to set up his late run in this leg of the Risen Star. Asmussen has won the Risen Star twice, with Pyro in 2008 and in 2016 with Gun Runner, who would go on to win Horse of the Year in 2017.


7. Major Fed (10-1)

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Trainer: Greg Foley

Owner: Lloyd Madison Farms

Career record: 2 starts – 1 win – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $36,500

Earnings per start: $18,250

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 96

Pedigree: Ghostzapper – Bobby’s Babe, by Smart Strike

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This son of Hall of Famer Ghostzapper stretched out successfully in his second career start and completed one of the more visually impressive races of the Fair Grounds meet on New Year’s Day, taking a 1 1/16-mile maiden race by 4 ¼ lengths. That followed a third-place debut effort in a six-furlong maiden at Churchill Downs on Nov. 23 on a sloppy track, which was won by wet-track lover and subsequent Smarty Jones Stakes victor Gold Street. Major Fed’s pedigree on his dam’s side is more turf- and sprint-oriented, but he appears well capable of extending his form to even longer distance-races based on his maiden win. He also has a patient jockey in Julien Leparoux on board for the 1 1/8-mile Risen Star, who will probably reserve him well back in the field through the backstretch before hopefully capitalizing on a strong early pace with another late run. Major Fed may only have an outsider’s chance at pulling the upset, but should be strongly considered as a horse to spice up exotic tickets.


Eclipse Sportswire

8. Anneau d’Or (9-5)

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Blaine Wright

Owner: Peter Redekop

Career record: 3 starts – 1 win – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $399,000

Earnings per start: $133,000

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 106

Pedigree: Medaglia d’Oro – Walk Close, by Tapit

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Talented Anneau d’Or adds a good dose of anticipation to the Risen Star’s second leg, flying into the Crescent City from his home base of Northern California for his 3-year-old debut. Last fall, he put together a very good three-race string to kick off his racing career that came oh so close to being worthy of a divisional championship. After dominating a turf race in his career debut at Golden Gate Fields, he finished a head behind Storm the Court in the Grade 1 TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at 28-1 odds and then a neck behind Thousand Words in the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity in December as the 6-5 favorite. Storm the Court disappointed in his 3-year-old debut last week in the San Vicente Stakes, but Thousand Words has progressed nicely so far this year with a sharp win in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Anneau d’Or thus enters the Risen Star’s second division as the deserving favorite, and adding top jockey Joel Rosario as well as blinkers should help him improve his concentration. If Anneau d’Or can handle the cross-country trip to Fair Grounds and reaffirm his dirt affinity on another unfamiliar main track, he will be very tough to beat on Saturday.


Coady Photography

9. Lynn’s Map (10-1)

Jockey: Corey Lanerie

Trainer: Mark Casse

Owner: Prince Sultan bin Mishal al Saud

Career record: 4 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $96,012

Earnings per start: $24,003

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 92

Pedigree: Liam’s Map – Puxa Saco, by Dehere

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: After posting back-to-back game wins at Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds to close out his juvenile season – defeating Mr. Monomoy by a head in the latter race – Lynn’s Map disappointed in his 3-year-old debut, finishing fifth in the Jan. 24 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park. In the Smarty Jones, he tracked in second behind leader Gold Street through the backstretch but dropped back at the top of the lane as Gold Street coasted to a wire-to-wire victory. He should have a faster pace to stalk in Saturday’s second division of the Risen Star, but he’ll still have to improve substantially against a very tough field to be a factor. Trainer Mark Casse won last year’s Risen Star with War of Will and also trains Enforceable, a leading contender this year’s first division of the race.


Coady Photography

10. Finnick the Fierce (10-1)

Jockey: Sonny Leon

Trainer: Rey Hernandez

Owners: Arnaldo Monge and Rey Hernandez

Career record: 4 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $90,890

Earnings per start: $22,723

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 91

Pedigree: Dialed In – Southern Classic, by Southern Image

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This gelding has outrun his odds in three consecutive starts since winning his debut last summer at Indiana Grand, and is a must-use as a trifecta and/or superfecta filler. He nabbed second late over subsequent Holy Bull Stakes winner and current Road to the Kentucky Derby future-book leader Tiz the Law in last November’s Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, and ran a decent fourth in the Lecomte Stakes behind Enforceable, Silver State, and Mr. Monomoy last month, which was his 3-year-old debut. He has not shown any tactical speed since his debut in Indiana, where he stalked the pace and then pulled away in a five-furlong sprint, and since then has been more of a “pick up the pieces” type than a legitimate win contender. Look for a similar effort from Finnick the Fierce on Saturday in a race that projects to have enough early speed to benefit his late-running style. Trainer and co-owner Rey Hernandez will also remove his blinkers for the Risen Star, which ideally will get the gelding more engaged in the early stages and leave him with less work to do in the stretch.


Coady Photography

11. Mailman Money (8-1)

Jockey: Gabriel Saez

Trainer: Bret Calhoun

Owner: Allied Racing Stable

Career record: 2 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $79,012

Earnings per start: $39,506

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 97

Pedigree: Goldencents – Running Debi C, by Unbridled’s Song

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The only undefeated horse in both divisions of the 2020 Risen Star, Mailman Money is an intriguing longshot candidate for Saturday’s second heat. He has displayed a professional stalking style in both of his wins – a three-quarter-length win in a six-furlong maiden at Churchill Downs on a sloppy track back on Nov. 30 and a sharp 5 ¾-length score in a one-mile and 70-yard allowance-optional claiming race at Fair Grounds on Jan. 12 that was originally scheduled for turf. He also improved his debut Equibase Speed Figure of 90 to 97 in his second start, and a similar jump on Saturday could put him in the winner’s circle. As far as this colt’s pedigree is concerned, he’s got some stamina (albeit on turf) on his dam’s side, and while his sire, Goldencents, was mainly a successful miler on the track, he did win the Santa Anita Derby and has so far been represented by two other Bret Calhoun trainees who’ve had success at 1 1/8 miles for Chester Thomas’ Allied Racing Stable in Mr. Money and last year’s Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby winner By My Standards. Could Mailman Money be this year’s model? We’ll find out on Saturday.


12. Ny Traffic (10-1)

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.

Owners: John Fanelli, Cash is King, LC Racing and Paul Braverman

Career record: 5 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $96,970

Earnings per start: $19,394

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 97

Pedigree: Cross Traffic – Mamie Reilly, by Graeme Hall

Color: Gray or roan

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This colt ships in from Florida off of a breakthrough win in his 3-year-old debut and his first start around two turns. He romped by 6 ¾ lengths in a 1 1/16-mile allowance-optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 11, dueling for the early lead from the outset and pulling away to win in the stretch, an effort that only generated a 82 Equibase Speed Figure. Prior to being sent to Florida and to Saffie Joseph’s barn, he raced for another trainer in Pennsylvania and New York, where he won one of four starts, all in sprint distances. Ny Traffic faces a very tough task in Saturday’s second Risen Star division breaking from the far outside post. Jockey Javier Castellano will need to hustle him out of the gate and move him closer to the rail in order to save some ground and energy while still utilizing the horse’s early speed. Getting the services of Hall of Famer Castellano, a two-time winner of the Risen Star in 2010 and 2012, boosts his chances, but Ny Traffic still profiles as a longshot to win.

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