2021 Risen Star Stakes Cheat Sheet

Racing
Midnight Bourbon, above winning the Lecomte Stakes in January, and Keepmeinmind, above winning the 2020 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, are two leading contenders for the Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford Feb. 13 at Fair Grounds. (Hodges Photography/Jan Brubaker/Coady Photography)

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 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve to move up the scale and offer a total of 85 qualifying points to the top four finishers.

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Those points are distributed on a scale of 50-20-10-5, which means that the winner will go a very long way toward securing a spot in the Kentucky Derby 147 starting gate on May 1 at  Churchill Downs.

The 1 1/8-mile Risen Star was split into two divisions last year, and this year’s race offers a full and competitive field of 13 3-year-olds, highlighted by Lecomte Stakes winner Midnight Bourbon, Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes winner Keepmeinmind, and Remington Springboard Mile winner Senor Buscador.

The Risen Star, which was renamed after the 1988 Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes winner in 1989, anchors a Feb. 13 card that also includes five other stakes races. It will be televised on the Fox Sports show “America’s Day at the Races” and has a scheduled post time of 7:18 p.m. ET.

Read on for more information on all of the contenders in the 2021 Risen Star Stakes Cheat Sheet.


Coady Photography

1. Starrininmydreams (12-1)

Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Owners: Stewart Racing Stable and WinStar Farm

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

Career earnings: $93,064

Earnings per start: $46,532

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 88

Pedigree: Super Saver – Boy Crazy, by Sky Mesa

Color: Bay

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This son of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver has paired 88 Equibase Speed Figures in both of his wins, which came last fall at Churchill Downs. In his most recent score, he pressed the pace in a 1 1/16-mile allowance-optional claiming race on Nov. 22 and gamely prevailed. It will be interesting to see how much this colt has developed in nearly three months, but his workouts at Fair Grounds are encouraging. He’ll need to get a lot faster to have a chance at the upset, but Starrininmydreams should be a pace factor at the very least, provided he breaks well from the inside post position. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. won the 2017 Risen Star aboard Girvin, and trainer and co-owner Dallas Stewart won the 2001 Risen Star with Dollar Bill.


Eclipse Sportswire

2. Proxy (8-1)

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Mike Stidham

Owner: Godolphin

Career record: 4 starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $107,700

Earnings per start: $26,925

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 97

Pedigree: Tapit – Panty Raid, by Include

Color: Bay

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Proxy ran well in defeat in his most recent start when second to Midnight Bourbon in the Jan. 16 Lecomte Stakes. He tracked Midnight Bourbon’s pace but could not threaten him when they both wheeled into the homestretch, yet he continued to compete all the way to the finish line and held off third-place Mandaloun by a head. Both of those horses return in the Risen Star along with a handful of other intriguing horses, making it a tougher challenge for Proxy. Still, the Godolphin homebred has a very good pedigree as a son of Tapit out of Grade 1-winning router Panty Raid, and it is very much worth noting that he gets Hall of Famer John Velazquez to ride for the first time Saturday. His two workouts at Fair Grounds since the Lecomte have been sharp, and he shapes up as a live contender in a competitive edition of the Risen Star.


Coady Photography

3. Beep Beep (20-1)

Jockey: Miguel Mena

Trainer: Norm Casse

Owners: Marylou Whitney Stable

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

Career earnings: $51,424

Earnings per start: $25,712

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 91

Pedigree: Tapizar – Speedy Bird, by Birdstone

Color: Bay

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Longshot Beep Beep enters Saturday’s stakes off of a nonthreatening fourth-place finish in a 1 1/16-mile allowance-optional claiming race at Fair Grounds on Jan. 16, which was won by fellow Risen Star entrant Rightandjust in front-running style. He impressively won his debut back in late November at Churchill Downs going seven furlongs and earned a 91 Equibase Speed Figure. If this Tapizar colt can cycle back to that number in his second two-turn effort, he could spice up the Risen Star exotics. He did endure a wide trip in his first Fair Grounds race, and was shuffled back farther off the pace than in his debut after being bumped early. Look for Miguel Mena to position Beep Beep closer to the early leaders in the Risen Star. Mena won the 2018 edition of this race on longshot Bravazo, the eventual Preakness Stakes runner-up, as well as the 2015 Risen Star aboard International Star.


Adam Coglianese/NYRA

4. Carillo (15-1)

Jockey: James Graham

Trainer: Tom Amoss

Owners: Greg Tramontin, Joel Politi, Brittlyn Stable, and Asaro Enterprises

Career record: 1 start – 1 win – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $44,000

Earnings per start: $44,000

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 86

Pedigree: Union Rags – Proper Mad, by Bernardini

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Carillo is a wild card entrant in the Risen Star as he makes his first start for trainer Tom Amoss after only one previous race. That debut effort was a good one as he romped in a one-mile maiden special weight at Aqueduct on Jan. 8, winning by 2 ¾ lengths and earning an Equibase Speed Figure of 86. Originally owned by Paul Pompa Jr., who passed away last fall, Carillo was bought by his new owners for $875,000 at the Keeneland January sale as part of the estate’s dispersal. He’s jumping way up in class for his second start but has put in a solid pair of workouts at Fair Grounds since joining Amoss’ barn and has appeal as a longshot horse to use in exotics based on the talent he showed in New York as well as his pedigree. He’s by Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags and has relatives such as Alabama Stakes winner Dunbar Road and Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Status in his dam’s family. Jockey James Graham scored a 135.20-1 upset win in the 2013 Risen Star on Ive Struck a Nerve. Amoss won the 1994 Risen Star with Fly Cry.


Dustin Orona Photography/Remington Park

5. Senor Buscador (6-1)

Jockey: Luis Quinonez

Trainer: Todd Fincher

Owner: Joe Peacock Jr.

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

Career earnings: $137,247

Earnings per start: $68,624

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 107

Pedigree: Mineshaft – Rose’s Desert, by Desert God

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Senor Buscador arrives in the Crescent City off of two open-length wins at Remington Park in Oklahoma and is a leading win candidate in Saturday’s Risen Star. In his most recent start, he came from out of the clouds to win the Dec. 18 Remington Springboard Mile (a two-turn race) by 5 ¾ lengths, earning a 107 Equibase Speed Figure that is easily the highest in the Risen Star field. His pedigree is encouraging for stretching out as he’s by 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft and out of a multiple stakes-winning mare who’s also produced two other route stakes winners. It’s also a good sign that trainer Todd Fincher kept jockey Luis Quinonez on him for the trip to Fair Grounds as Quinonez obviously has a good feel for this colt’s rallying running style. There should be enough pace lined up in the Risen Star to set up Senor Buscador’s kick, and if he gets a clean trip he should be rolling through the stretch come Saturday evening.


Lou Hodges, Jr. /Hodges Photography

6. Midnight Bourbon (6-1)

Jockey: Joe Talamo

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds

Career record: 5 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $221,420

Earnings per start: $44,284

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 99

Pedigree: Tiznow – Catch the Moon, by Malibu Moon

Color: Bay

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This well-bred son of Tiznow showed good development in his first start at age 3 after knocking heads with some of the best in his age group last fall in graded stakes. He benefited from an aggressive ride by Joe Talamo to win the Jan. 16 Lecomte Stakes by a length over Proxy, taking the lead from the outset and never relinquishing it. With more speed lined up in the Risen Star Stakes, Midnight Bourbon won’t have as easy a time setting the pace, but he showed in a couple of his 2-year-old races that he could rate off of the lead, and that may be what jockey Joe Talamo decides to do. This colt hasn’t reached his full potential, and another step forward Saturday could put him right back in the Fair Grounds winner’s circle. Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has won the Risen Star twice, with Pyro (2008) and Gun Runner (2016).


7. O Besos (12-1)

Jockey: Marcelino Pedroza

Trainer: Greg Foley

Owners: L. Barrett Bernard, Tagg Team Racing, and West Point Thoroughbreds

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

Career earnings: $56,624

Earnings per start: $18,875

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 94

Pedigree: Orb – Snuggs and Kisses, by Soto

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: O Besos jumps up in class and extends in distance for the Risen Star after easily winning two sprint races at Fair Grounds in December and January. He got off to poor starts in both races (and also hopped at the start in his career debut last fall) but each time he recovered to effortlessly sweep to the lead in midstretch and win going away. Of course, it’s anyone’s guess how he’ll handle two turns for the first time, and it’s worth noting that jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., who has been aboard O Besos for all of his starts, will ride Starrininmydreams in the Risen Star. This colt’s last-out Equibase Speed Figure of 94 makes him competitive in this race, however, and if he does find routing to his liking he could sneak into the trifecta or superfecta. Greg Foley finished second in last year’s second Risen Star division with Major Fed.


8. Sermononthemount (50-1)

Jockey: Declan Carroll

Trainer: Tim Dixon

Owner: Kevin Shane Porter

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

Career earnings: $37,350

Earnings per start: $12,450

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 75

Pedigree: Tale of Ekati – Perfect Nodouble, by Perfect Soul

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Sermononthemount is the longest shot on the morning line for Saturday’s Risen Star, shipping in from Delta Downs where he posted both of his wins this winter. He broke his maiden first out by a length in a solid effort racing a short sprint distance of five furlongs, but then shipped to Fair Grounds for the Sugar Bowl Stakes at six furlongs and was overmatched, finishing sixth of seven. Sermononthemount returned to Delta and rallied to win a seven-furlong allowance race by a half-length, and now he takes a huge class jump and also extends out three additional furlongs in a race where his best Equibase Speed Figure of 75 is nine points below the next-lowest top figure in the field (Defeater’s 84). Look for him to sit back and make one late run in a race where he appears to be overmatched.


9. Defeater (12-1)

Jockey: Diego Saenz

Trainer: Tom Amoss

Owners: Nice Guys Stables, Manganaro Blodstock, and Steve Hornstock

Career record: 1 start – 1 win – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $30,000

Earnings per start: $30,000

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 84

Pedigree: Union Rags – Internal Affair, by Orientate

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Defeater is the second Tom Amoss trainee by Union Rags who’ll be making the big leap from debut winner to graded stakes starter in the Risen Star, joining Carillo. This colt has already scored on the Fair Grounds’ main track, taking a six-furlong race on Jan. 2 by 2 ¼ lengths. Defeater got off to a slow start in that race and was bumped at the five-sixteenths pole but still won going away. James Graham was aboard in that win but will ride Carillo on Saturday, and Delta Downs-based Diego Saenz gets the mount. Overall, Defeater projects as a trifecta or superfecta filler in the Risen Star and would need to boost his debut Equibase Speed Figure by about 15 points to post the upset. Tom Amoss won the 1994 Risen Star with Fly Cry.


Eclipse Sportswire

10. Santa Cruiser (15-1)

Jockey: Adam Beschizza

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Owner: Calumet Farm

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

Career earnings: $81,792

Earnings per start: $20,448

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 95

Pedigree: Dialed In – Sweet Sermon, by Tapit

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Santa Cruiser finished a well-beaten fourth in the Lecomte Stakes in his most recent start, and the three horses that finished ahead of him are all entered in the Risen Star. In his defense, he had a legitimate excuse in the Lecomte as he was bumped at the start and then shut off early, taking him out of his preferred pace-pressing running style. In his prior start, he dueled for the lead in a one-turn-mile maiden race at Churchill Downs last November and fought off his challenger to win by 1 ½ lengths. If Santa Cruiser can break cleanly, expect jockey Adam Beschizza to get him in the mix early. This colt has a solid distance pedigree, by Florida Derby winner Dialed In and out of a Tapit mare who is a relative of Travers Stakes winner Colonel John. Keith Desormeaux trained 135.20-1 longshot Risen Star winner Ive Struck a Nerve in 2013.


Coady Photography

11. Mandaloun (9-2)

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Trainer: Brad Cox

Owner: Juddmonte Farms

Career record: 3 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $111,252

Earnings per start: $37,084

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 97

Pedigree: Into Mischief – Brooch, by Empire Maker

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Mandaloun disappointed as the 4-5 favorite in the Lecomte Stakes, finishing third behind Midnight Bourbon and Proxy in his 3-year-old debut after wining both of his starts last fall at age 2. In that race, he made a sustained rally in the Fair Grounds stretch but was no threat to Midnight Bourbon, and came up a head short of Proxy for second. Since then, this Juddmonte Farms homebred has reeled off four impressive workouts at Fair Grounds for recent Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox. If he can show improvement in his second two-turn start and manage a better trip stalking the pace (he raced wide on both turns in the Lecomte), Mandaloun can turn the tables on his Lecomte vanquishers and pick up a far more lucrative haul of Kentucky Derby points in the process. Cox and Geroux teamed up to win the first division of the Risen Star last year with Mr. Monomoy; Geroux was also aboard 2016 victor and eventual Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Gun Runner.


Coady Photography

12. Keepmeinmind (3-1)

Jockey: David Cohen

Trainer: Robertino Diodoro

Owners: Spendthrift Farm, Cypress Creek, and Arnold Bennewith

Career record: 4 starts – 1 win – 2 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $394,320

Earnings per start: $98,580

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 98

Pedigree: Laoban – Inclination, by Victory Gallop

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Keepmeinmind has a class edge on the Risen Star field based on his final three races of 2020, where he finished third in both the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity and the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (both times to champion juvenile male Essential Quality) before winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes to close out his season on Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs. This Laoban colt was a huge longshot in both the Breeders’ Futurity and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and although he won as the 2-1 favorite in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, he’s still existing under the radar somewhat heading into 2021. Like several other contenders in Saturday’s race, Keepmeinmind is a deep closer who will need a solid pace to run into, but stretching out another sixteenth of a mile should be no problem. If he doesn’t get blocked in the stretch, he should be vying for a top-three finish at the least. UPDATE: On Feb. 10, trainer Robertino Diodoro said that Keepmeinmind would scratch from the Risen Star and instead target the rescheduled Southwest Stakes on Feb. 20 at Oaklawn Park for his seasonal debut.


13. Rightandjust (15-1)

Jockey: Mitchell Murrill

Trainer: Shane Wilson

Owner: Wayne Davis

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

Career earnings: $50,820

Earnings per start: $16,940

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 90

Pedigree: Awesome Again – Pussyfoot, by Tiznow

Color: Bay

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Rightandjust has been perfect in his two Fair Grounds starts, taking two 1 1/16-mile races in December and January by a combined 8 ½ lengths. He led from start to finish in both of them, a maiden race that he was claimed out of and then an allowance-optional claiming race. Replicating those efforts will be challenging on Saturday, since he’ll be breaking out of the outside post position in a race that also features speed horses such as Midnight Bourbon and Proxy, both of whom are more accomplished. Having said that, Mitchell Murrill is an aggressive rider and should send his mount out of the gate and toward the inside in an attempt to gain a good position before the first turn. Those tactics should make Rightandjust a Risen Star pace factor carrying long odds at the very least.

2021 Risen Star S. Presented by Lamarque Ford
February 13th, 2021

Winning Time: 1:50.39
  • Purse: $400,000
  • Distance: 1 1/8 Miles
  • Age: 3 yo
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Winning Time: 1:50.39
Results
Win
Place
Show
1st
11 Mandaloun
$6.20
$4.00
$3.00
2nd
2 Proxy
$5.20
$3.60
3rd
6 Midnight Bourbon
$3.80
5th
5 Senor Buscador
6th
13 Rightandjust
7th
10 Santa Cruiser
8th
8 Sermononthemount
9th
1 Starrininmydreams
11th
3 Beep Beep
Scratches
Payoff
Pick 3
10-1-11
10-1-11
$448
Pick 4
2/4-10-1-9/11/12
2/4-10-1-9/11/12
$626
Pick 5
7-2/4-10-1-9/11/12
7-2/4-10-1-9/11/12
$2,352
Daily Double
1-11
1-11
$13
Exacta
11-2
11-2
$14
Superfecta
11-2-6-7
11-2-6-7
$64
Trifecta
11-2-6
11-2-6
$29
Race Replay
Play
Payoff
Pick 3
10-1-11
10-1-11
$448
Pick 4
2/4-10-1-9/11/12
2/4-10-1-9/11/12
$626
Pick 5
7-2/4-10-1-9/11/12
7-2/4-10-1-9/11/12
$2,352
Daily Double
1-11
1-11
$13
Exacta
11-2
11-2
$14
Superfecta
11-2-6-7
11-2-6-7
$64
Trifecta
11-2-6
11-2-6
$29

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