The Grade II, $400,000 Risen Star Stakes puts three-year-olds in the Saturday spotlight at the Fair Grounds. The 1 1/8-mile heat, which is the first 85-point race (50-20-10-5) toward the Kentucky Derby, drew a field of 13. That includes Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes winner KEEPMEINMIND.
Post time for the Risen Star, the finale on a 13-race program, is 7:18 p.m. ET.
#4 CARILLO (15-1, morning-line favorite) is one of just two horses with only one race under their belt ahead of the Risen Star (#9 DEFEATER is the other). He swung four-wide from off the pace to break his maiden at first asking at Aqueduct on Jan. 8. CARILLO won by an increasing 2 3/4-lengths in that one-mile heat.
He switches from Chad Brown to the Tom Amoss barn, and Amoss has a hot hand at the Fair Grounds meet (28% through Wednesday), as usual. Top pilot James Graham will get a leg-up on this son of Union Rags, who is working well for this. With Bernardini on the damside as well, CARILLO should get the distance on Saturday. Anything above 4-1 would be acceptable for a win wager.
#12 KEEPMEINMIND (3-1) is one of only two horses with a graded stakes win on their résumé in the Risen Star field (#6 MIDNIGHT BOURBON, who took the Grade III Lecomte here last time out, is the other). He rewarded chalkplayers with an off-the-pace triumph in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes to cap off his two-year-old season.
That race served as KEEPMEINMIND’s maiden-breaker, though he’d kept good company in prior starts (Grade I Breeders’ Futurity, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile). He’s working well for the Risen Star and retains David Cohen. We’ll see if the son of Laoban can string together victories on Saturday.
#5 SENOR BUSCADOR (6-1) is 2-for-2, with his latest win coming in the $200,000 Springboard Mile at Remington last December. The speed figures are solid, and Luis Quinonez ships in for the call.
The play: $2 exacta box 4/5/12, $8 win 4 ($20)
Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking