2023 Risen Star Stakes Cheat Sheet: Get to Know the Horses

Horses maneuver for position in the early stages of the 2016 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Fans and horseplayers will direct their attention to the “Big Easy” this Saturday, as Fair Grounds hosts the $400,000, Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford. The Risen Star is the first prep race for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve to offer a total of 100 qualifying points to the top five finishers, distributed on a 50-20-15-10-5 basis.

Held at 1 1/8 miles on Fair Grounds’ dirt main track, the Risen Star is the third of four Derby points preps scheduled at the venue, and for several of the contenders it should serve as a tune-up for the marquee $1 million, Grade 2 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby on March 25, which offers 200 qualifying points to Kentucky Derby 149.

This race was known as the Louisiana Derby Trial Stakes until 1989, when it was named after 1988 winner Risen Star, that year’s Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes winner and champion 3-year-old male. Learn more about the race and some of its notable winners from John Piassek in this article.

This year’s Risen Star drew a full, competitive field of 14 horses. It is the last of 13 races scheduled Feb. 18 at Fair Grounds, anchoring a card that includes five other stakes, and it will be broadcast live on FanDuel TV with a scheduled post time of 7:14 p.m. ET.

Learn more about all of the Risen Star contenders below:

1. Quiet as Midnight (50-1 morning-line odds)

Jockey: Emanuel Nieves

Trainer: Benard Chatters

Owners: PoBoy Racing and Rand Metoyer

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

Career earnings: $20,200

Earnings per start: $6,733

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 65

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Midnight Lute – She Persisted, by Pioneerof the Nile

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This son of champion sprinter Midnight Lute is a good bet to carry the highest odds in the 14-horse Risen Star field come post time. He ships in from Delta Downs, where he has made all three of his career starts to date. He won the second of those on Dec. 7, taking a seven-furlong maiden claiming race with a $22,000 purse by a nose. Since then, he finished second in a Delta allowance at seven furlongs and earned his career-top Equibase Speed Figure, which is around 30 points lower than what’ll be needed to compete in the Risen Star. Quiet as Midnight has not shown speed out of the gate, and he could get buried on the rail soon after this field breaks running. It’s hard to see him making any impression in the race.

2. Single Ruler (30-1)

Jockey: Jose Riquelme

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Owner: Rocker O Ranch

Career record: 5 starts – 1 win – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $47,974

Earnings per start: $9,595

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 92

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Empire Maker – Smara, by Storm Cat

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Back in 2013, Keith Desormeaux-trained Ive Struck a Nerve lit up the tote board in the Risen Star Stakes with a 135.20-1 upset. Single Ruler won’t come near that price in Saturday’s renewal, but he’ll be one of the longshots in a highly competitive field. He does come into the race off of what is by far his best effort to date, taking a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight race at Fair Grounds on Jan. 21 by 2 ¾ lengths with Jose Riquelme aboard at odds of 18.90-1. Prior to that, he had started four times with his best finish a third back in December on the same track and distance. He boosted his career-best Equibase Speed Figure 12 points to a 92 on Jan. 21, and if he can repeat that, juicing up the trifecta and/or superfecta on Saturday is not out of the question as he has the pedigree to easily handle an extra half-furlong. Look for Riquelme to keep Single Ruler in the rear guard and save ground through the backstretch before gearing him up for a stretch rally.

3. Shaq Diesel (30-1)

Jockey: Adam Beschizza

Trainer: Renaldo Richards

Owners: Chester Bishop, Anthony Hinkson, and Donovan Stanford

Career record: 7 starts – 3 wins – 0 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $70,500

Earnings per start: $10,071

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 84

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Khozan – Kleodora, by Tiznow

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Shaq Diesel ships into New Orleans from Florida, where he was bred and where he made all of his prior starts. He’s the third longshot in a row positioned on the inside in the Risen Star starting gate and will have to improve by leaps and bounds in order to hit the board Saturday. The Khozan colt made his first four starts at Gulfstream Park – winning twice at seven furlongs, including an optional claiming race – and then moved to Tampa Bay Downs, where he finished fourth and third in two sprint stakes and most recently made his first two-turn start a successful one by taking a one-mile and 40-yard allowance race by a neck. Shaq Diesel earned a career-top 84 Equibase Speed Figure in that victory, but he was well-beaten in the two Tampa stakes and faces a much tougher test on Saturday. He does have some stamina in his female family, especially a few generations back where one can find the legendary A.P. Indy and Preakness Stakes winner Summer Squall, among others. At the very least, he should take some betting money from local fans eager to reminisce about Shaquille O’Neal’s terrorizing run through the SEC while hooping with the LSU Tigers 30-plus years ago.

Eclipse Sportswire

4. Determinedly (8-1)

Jockey: Reylu Gutierrez

Trainer: Mark Casse

Owner: John Oxley

Career record: 8 starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $188,950

Earnings per start: $23,619

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 98

Kentucky Derby points: 3

Pedigree: Cairo Prince – Bailzee, by Grand Slam

Color: Gray or roan

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Determinedly leads this year’s Risen Star field in experience, having made eight starts so far in his career. He’s made gradual improvement since being switched to dirt permanently back in November, sporting a record of two wins, one seconds, and one third in four starts for Mark Casse and Kentucky Derby-winning owner John Oxley. After breaking his maiden decisively in a seven-furlong race Nov. 26 on Churchill Downs’ “Stars of Tomorrow” card, he made his dirt stakes debut in Fair Grounds’ 1 1/16-mile Gun Runner Stakes and checked in third, beaten by 5 ½ lengths as the 9-10 favorite, and then came back to win an allowance-optional claiming race at the same track and distance by a neck over favored Tapit’s Conquest. His 98 Equibase Speed Figure earned in that allowance score compares favorably with the other leading Risen Star contenders; on the other hand, he defeated only four horses in that race and nearly gave up a three-length lead in the stretch, and Gun Runner Stakes winner Jace’s Road also disappointed in his subsequent start at Oaklawn Park. Luis Saez, who rode Determinedly in his three recent starts, will instead assume duties on Angel of Empire in the Risen Star, but Mark Casse has a fine replacement lined up. Reylu Gutierrez leads the Fair Grounds jockey standings by both wins (43) and purse earnings ($1.7 million) through Feb. 12, and he’s teamed up successfully with Casse over the past year, the pair winning two of four starts. Look for Gutierrez to position Determinedly in third or fourth behind projected pacesetters Harlocap and Victory Formation and navigate a ground-saving trip into the homestretch.

5. Harlocap (8-1)

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owner: Harlo Stables and Villa Rosa Farm

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

Career earnings: $67,600

Earnings per start: $22,533

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 97

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Justify – Mezinka, by Bodemeister

Color: Dark bay or brown

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The colt from 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify’s first crop ships in from California and makes his first start for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen in the Risen Star after showing promise for another Hall of Famer, Bob Baffert, who is currently banned from running horses in the 2023 Kentucky Derby. Harlocap exits a breakthrough maiden win in his third career start on Jan. 22 at Santa Anita Park, where he led at every point of call in a 1 1/16-mile race and romped by 4 ½ lengths. The effort netted Harlocap a 97 Equibase Speed Figure, which marked a 16-point improvement over the 83 figure he earned on Jan. 2 in a one-mile race in which he gave up a clear lead in the stretch to lose by three-quarters of a length. Harlocap had a rough trip in that early January race but improved nicely in his second two-turn start, and he brings that West Coast speed to Fair Grounds along with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who has ridden the colt in all three of his races. Johnny V’s Risen Star strategy appears to be quite simple: break well and send Harlocap to the lead. His main pace threat, unbeaten Victory Formation, breaks from the 13th post position and may have to navigate some early traffic, while Determinedly, who breaks just to Harlocap’s inside, may prefer to sit just off the lead, thereby giving Harlocap a chance to dictate the tempo. Harlocap’s dam is a half-sister (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to the late Pioneerof the Nile, who finished second in the 2009 Kentucky Derby and became a good sire. Add it all up and you have one of the main win contenders in the Risen Star, although Harlocap is stepping up in class considerably in his first assignment away from the Golden State. Asmussen has won this race three times – with Pyro in 2008, eventual Kentucky Derby third-place finisher and 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner in 2016, and eventual Derby and Preakness runner-up and champion 3-year-old male Epicenter last year.

Coady Photography

6. Angel of Empire (8-1)

Jockey: Luis Saez

Trainer: Brad Cox

Owner: Albaugh Family Stables

Career record: 4 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $90,000

Earnings per start: $22,500

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 92

Kentucky Derby points: 4

Pedigree: Classic Empire – Armony’s Angel, by To Honor and Serve

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Angel of Empire is one of three Brad Cox trainees in the Risen Star along with Tapit’s Conquest and Victory Formation. He’s an improving colt who offers appeal as a win candidate at what could be good post-time odds, however, and stands a chance at turning the tables against Victory Formation, who defeated him by three lengths in the Jan. 1 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Angel of Empire never threatened Victory Formation in that rival’s wire-to-wire win but did churn on to finish a clear second at 18.10-1 odds and boosted his top Equibase Speed Figure by 12 points to a 92. This son of champion 2-year-old male Classic Empire made three starts prior to his 3-year-old bow in the Smarty Jones, and won both of his dirt races at Horseshoe Indianapolis. After the Smarty Jones, Cox said he was confident about this colt’s potential to improve in the months ahead, and indeed he’s since reeled off five solid workouts at Oaklawn, the last coming Feb. 12. He also gets Luis Saez to ride for the first time – a big plus. Saez has won 47% of his starts when riding Brad Cox-trained runners over the past year. Look for this colt to be making up ground quickly in the stretch; if he gets a hot enough pace to run into, he could spring the upset. Cox has won two of the past four editions of the Risen Star with Mr. Monomoy (2020, when the race was split into two divisions) and Mandaloun (2021).

Coady Photography

7. Sun Thunder (15-1)

Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

Trainer: Ken McPeek

Owners: R. T. Racing Stable and Cypress Creek Equine

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

Career earnings: $101,250

Earnings per start: $33,750

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 92

Kentucky Derby points: 4

Pedigree: Into Mischief – Greenfield d’Oro, by Medaglia d’Oro

Color: Bay

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This son of top sire Into Mischief makes his second consecutive stakes start in the Risen Star after nabbing fourth in the Southwest Stakes Jan. 28 at Oaklawn Park. He settled near the back of the eight-horse field in that 1 1/16-mile race held on a sloppy track, and made up some ground in the stretch but still finished 9 ¼ lengths behind wire-to-wire winner Arabian Knight. As a juvenile in 2022, Sun Thunder finished a well-beaten third in his debut Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs – a seven-furlong maiden race won by Determinedly – and then shipped to Oaklawn and impressively won a one-mile maiden race by 6 ½ lengths, defeating 11 opponents. He should be rallying from off the pace in the Risen Star and can hit the board if he takes another step forward from the Southwest, where he earned a career-best 92 Equibase Speed Figure. This large field and a potential duel between Harlocap and Victory Formation could help set up his late run provided he gets a good trip, and securing perennial Fair Grounds standout jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. to ride is another plus. Hernandez won the 2017 Risen Star aboard Girvin, and trainer Ken McPeek won this race all the way back in 2002 with Repent. McPeek’s Smile Happy finished second in last year’s Risen Star.

8. Tapit’s Conquest (6-1)

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Trainer: Brad Cox

Owners: Robert Lapenta, e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Madaket Stables

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

Career earnings: $103,000

Earnings per start: $34,333

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 98

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Tapit – Conquest Lil Miss, by Horse Greeley

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The second of three Brad Cox-trained Risen Star contenders arrives on the heels of a near-miss effort in a Jan. 21 allowance-optional claiming race at Fair Grounds. Tapit’s Conquest rallied from last of five to almost collar pacesetter Determinedly in the 1 1/16-mile contest, losing by a neck as the even-money favorite. As a 2-year-old, he lost his debut by a half-length in a seven-furlong Saratoga maiden race in September and then rolled to an impressive 3 ½-length score in a 1 1/16-mile Churchill Downs maiden on Oct. 1, besting nine opponents. Florent Geroux, who has for several years been Cox’s first-call jockey on the Midwest circuit, retains the mount on Tapit’s Conquest after riding him at Churchill and in the recent Fair Grounds effort. His 98 Equibase Speed Figure from that race places him among the top Risen Star contenders, and his stalking running style could put him in good position to get the first attempt at projected pacesetters Victory Formation, Harlocap, and Determinedly at the top of Fair Grounds’ long homestretch. His pedigree is suitable for extra distance and he’s posted two good workouts on this track leading up to Saturday’s stakes debut. Tapit’s Conquest is an intriguing win candidate at what should be favorable odds. Geroux has won three editions of the Risen Star: aboard Gun Runner in 2016, Mr. Monomoy in one of the two 2020 divisions of this race, and Mandaloun in 2021. The latter two wins came aboard Risen Star winners trained by Cox.

Coady Photography

9. Curly Jack (8-1)

Jockey: Edgar Morales

Trainer: Tom Amoss

Owner: Michael McLoughlin

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

Career earnings: $417,580

Earnings per start: $69,597

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 91

Kentucky Derby points: 17

Pedigree: Good Magic – Connie and Michael, by Roman Ruler

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: It can be argued that Curly Jack, who will make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s Risen Star, has kept the best company to date among this full field. He competed in five consecutive stakes races in 2022 after romping in his debut all the way back on June 2 at Churchill Downs, and he ran very well in three of them. The Good Magic colt won the very first points race for the 2023 Kentucky Derby on Sept. 17, 2022, when he took command in early stretch and posted a one-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Iroquois Stakes at Churchill. That set him up for a start in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Nov. 4 at Keeneland, and while Curly Jack was no threat to winner Forte when finishing fifth, it wasn’t a terrible outing by any means. He bounced back to close out his juvenile campaign with a runner-up effort behind subsequent Lecomte Stakes winner Instant Coffee in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes Nov. 26 at Churchill, and has been training steadily in recent weeks for Tom Amoss at Fair Grounds in preparation for Saturday’s comeback. It’s uncertain as to how successful 2-year-olds will run early in their 3-year-old season after time off, and Curly Jack will have to improve in order to defeat several of the Risen Star contenders with good recent form. He’s paired well with jockey Edgar Morales, who’s ridden the colt in his past five starts, and is a definite threat to hit the board Saturday. New Orleans native and Fair Grounds mainstay Tom Amoss won the Risen Star early in his career, taking the 1994 edition with Fly Cry.

Coady Photography

10. Two Phil’s (8-1)

Jockey: Jareth Loveberry

Trainer: Larry Rivelli

Owners: Patricia’s Hope and Philip Sagan

Career record: 6 starts – 3 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $235,450

Earnings per start: $39,242

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 95

Kentucky Derby points: 8

Pedigree: Hard Spun – Mia Torri, by General Quarters

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Somewhat surprisingly, Two Phil’s is the only Risen Star entrant to come back from the Jan. 21 Lecomte Stakes, as Lecomte winner Instant Coffee sits this race out and will target the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby. Two Phil’s finished a solid second behind that late-running rival in the 1 1/16-mile Lecomte, fighting hard in midstretch before yielding in the final sixteenth to lose by 2 ½ lengths. The Hard Spun colt stalked the pace in the Lecomte and will attempt a similar trip in the Risen Star against a larger (13 opponents vs. five) and tougher field. As a juvenile, Two Phil’s won three of five starts including a listed stakes going six furlongs at Canterbury Park in September, and, in his final 2022 race, a 5 ¼-length romp in the 1 1/16-mile Street Sense Stakes Oct. 30 at Churchill Downs on a sloppy track. Two Phil’s has finished first or second in four of five starts with Jareth Loveberry in the irons. Loveberry is having a fantastic Fair Grounds meet in this, his second season in New Orleans, ranking second in wins and third in earnings among jockeys through Feb. 12. Add those credentials up, and you have yet another win candidate in what is a wide-open, competitive edition of the Risen Star.

11. Silver Heist (12-1)

Jockey: Corey Lanerie

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owner: Whisper Hill Farm

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

Career earnings: $43,150

Earnings per start: $21,575

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 96

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Tapit – Silvery Starlet, by Unbridled’s Song

Color: Gray or roan

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Whisper Hill Farm homebred exits the 1 1/16-mile allowance-optional claiming race Jan. 21 at Fair Grounds discussed above, which Determinedly won by a neck over Tapit’s Conquest. Silver Heist finished third in that race, three-quarters of a length behind Tapit’s Conquest and four lengths ahead of the fourth-place finisher in a five-horse field. He carried odds of 16.20-1 that day, which marked his second career start after he won a six-furlong maiden race at Fair Grounds by a length on Dec. 26. Silver Heist should be in the neighborhood of 15-1 odds again in the Risen Star, which makes him a good horse to consider adding to exacta and trifecta bets. He earned a 96 Equibase Speed Figure in the Jan. 21 contest and is certainly eligible to continue improving over the next several months. Silver Heist’s dam is a half-sister (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to sires Roman Ruler and El Corredor – both of whom won Grade 1 stakes at a mile or longer – and Tapit is one of the best North American sires in bestowing stamina. As noted above, Steve Asmussen has won the Risen Star three times with Pyro (2008), Gun Runner (2016), and Epicenter (2022), and jockey Corey Lanerie finished second in last year’s edition on Smile Happy.

12. Crupi (15-1)

Jockey: James Graham

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Owners: Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable

Career record: 5 starts – 0 wins – 2 seconds – 3 thirds

Career earnings: $69,600

Earnings per start: $13,920

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 99

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Curlin – Don’tforgetaboutme, by Malibu Moon

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin ships in from New York for 2022 Hall of Fame inductee and Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher, who has three Risen Star wins to his credit. Crupi has yet to reach the winner’s circle but has hit the board in all five of his starts and has faced good company dating back to his first two races last summer during the Saratoga meet. In his most recent start going a one-turn mile at Aqueduct, Crupi broke slowly but rallied from last of 10 early on to just miss, losing to odds-on favorite Slip Mahoney by a head. He made a sustained move through the turn in that race to reach contention and then engaged in a spirited stretch duel, but never headed his rival and had to settle for second once again after ending 2022 with a runner-up effort in a two-turn, 1 1/8-mile race at Aqueduct on Nov. 22. Still, Crupi earned a career-top 99 Equibase Speed Figure in his 3-year-old bow, and that makes him a win threat in the Risen Star with prominent local jockey James Graham getting aboard for the first time. Getting off to a better start will be paramount for horse and rider on Saturday. Graham won the 2013 Risen Star on huge longshot Ive Struck a Nerve. Pletcher’s three Risen Star wins came with Discreetly Mine (2010), El Padrino (2012), and Intense Holiday (2014).

Eclipse Sportswire

13. Victory Formation (3-1)

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Trainer: Brad Cox

Owners: Spendthrift Farm and Frank Fletcher Racing Operations

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

Career earnings: $282,285

Earnings per start: $94,095

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 98

Kentucky Derby points: 10

Pedigree: Tapwrit – Smart N Soft, by Smart Strike

Color: Bay

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Victory Formation will take a lot of the betting money Saturday and could go off as the post-time favorite in the Risen Star, and that status would be justified based on his 3-for-3 record and easy three-length win last out in the Smarty Jones Stakes. However, the son of Belmont Stakes winner Tapwrit will face some obstacles Saturday, first and foremost an unfavorable post for his forwardly placed running style against a full field. The Brad Cox trainee won his first career start back in October at Keeneland, taking a six-furlong maiden on the front end, and he came back at the same distance at Churchill Downs on the Nov. 26 “Stars of Tomorrow” card and won an allowance-optional claiming race by a neck after pressing the pace into the stretch, putting away the leader, and then gamely outdueling another rival in the final strides. He made his two-turn debut in the one-mile Smarty Jones Jan. 1 at Oaklawn Park, and was not challenged in a front-running score with Flavien Prat in the irons for the first time. Saturday, Prat will need to get Victory Formation out of the gate fast and then keep pushing the gas in order to gain enough separation where he can angle his mount in and move closer to the rail to save ground. West Coast shipper Harlocap figures to be in front by that point, with Determinedly in the mix as well, and those two rivals should keep Victory Formation honest as he vies for the lead. He’s certainly got the pedigree to extend his speed another eighth of a mile in the Risen Star, and he’s already shown a fighting spirit in his Churchill win, but the Risen Star is this talented colt’s biggest challenge yet.

Eclipse Sportswire

14. Private Creed (12-1)

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owner: Mike McCarty

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

Career earnings: $618,913

Earnings per start: $103,152

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 115

Kentucky Derby points: 0

Pedigree: Jimmy Creed – South Andros, by Sky Mesa

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The wild card entrant in Saturday’s Risen Star drew a very challenging post position for his dirt debut. Private Creed leads the field in career earnings with more than $600,000 and all of that money was won on turf, with five of his six career starts coming in sprints. This son of sprinter Jimmy Creed impressed from the very start, wining a 5 ½-furlong grass race at Ellis Park on July, and he’s been competing in stakes races ever since, with two wins (at Kentucky Downs and Keeneland), a second, and two thirds. After that second stakes win at Keeneland, Private Creed ran a very good third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint Nov. 4 on the same course, finishing behind a pair of European imports, and then took a nearly three-month break before returning for his 3-year-old and two-turn debut in the Bob Bork Texas Turf Mile Stakes Jan. 28 at Sam Houston Race Park. He dueled for the lead in that race and dispatched his early rival, but could not hold off a late run from Andthewinneris (a Grade 2 turf winner last year) and lost by a head. Private Creed is undoubtedly a high-class performer and he also gets top jockey Tyler Gaffalione aboard for the first time in the Risen Star, but it would be a surprise to see the Steve Asmussen prospect in the winner’s circle Saturday evening as he’s matched up against a handful of horses with proven dirt form, several of which also have more advantageous post positions.

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