The Grade II, $400,000 Risen Star Stakes drew a total of 23 Kentucky Derby hopefuls, so the race was broken up into two divisions by Fair Grounds track management. The first division of the local prep for the Louisiana Derby was discussed here. The second division of the 1 1/8-mile heat goes as the finale on a 13-race program, and approximate post time is 7:12 p.m. ET.
#8 ANNEAU D’OR (9-5, morning-line favorite) is a decisive favorite in this 12-horse field, and it’s easy to see why. Following his eight-length maiden score on turf at Golden Gate, he nearly won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at longshot odds. Then ANNEAU D’OR nearly beat eventual Robert B. Lewis victor Thousand Words in the Los Alamitos Futurity, fighting him fiercely in the stretch. The son of Medaglia d’Oro is working sharply for his three-year-old debut for trainer Blaine Wright. Joel Rosario sees fit to fly in for the call.
#7 MAJOR FED (10-1) gives longshot players hope in the second division of the Risen Star. He was last seen breaking his maiden in much-the-best fashion over this course on New Year’s Day. MAJOR FED dealt with plenty of adversity that day, as he was forced to rally wide into a deliberate pace while routing for the first time. His only other lifetime effort was a third-place finish in the slop behind Smarty Jones winner Gold Street. MAJOR FED has room to improve as he steps up in class under Julien Leparoux.
#11 MAILMAN MONEY (8-1) and #12 NY TRAFFIC (10-1) will have to overcome wide draws but are not impossible for a piece in this heat. The former is undefeated in two lifetime starts and was last seen beating allowance foes with ease over this course despite a five-wide trip. Gabriel Saez maintains the assignment.
NY TRAFFIC impressed in his first start for trainer Saffie Joseph against Gulfstream allowance foes last month. Javier Castellano makes the trip to ride.
The play: $4 exacta 8/7, $2 exacta 8/11,12, $2 win 7 ($10)
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