2014 Risen Star

Risen Star at Fair Grounds

Risen StarOn Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 we have the $400,000 Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds, one of the first 2014 Kentucky Derby Championship Series. The points earned in this race towards this year’s Kentucky Derby have increased giving 50 points to the winner, 20 to 2nd place, 10 to 3rd place and 5 to 4th place. If you are unfamiliar with the Kentucky Derby Points System, you can catch up with all of that info here- 2014 Kentucky Derby Points System. The Risen Star Stakes was previously known as the Louisiana Derby Trial Stakes as it is also a prep race for the Louisiana Derby, but changed its name to honor Risen Star in 1989. Risen Star won this race in 1988 and went on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes that year, as well as becoming the 1988 Eclipse Award Winner for 3 Year Old Male Horse. A lot of talent has come out of this race, so let’s see who is in the running for this year’s Risen Star.

2014 Risen Star at Fair Grounds

Vicar's In TroubleThe Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes is the 11th race on the Fair Grounds’ card for Saturday and will feature a field of 14 three year olds (with 2 also-eligible) traveling 1 1/16 mile. The morning line favorite at 5/2 is Vicar’s In Trouble. Trained by Michael Maker and ridden by Rosie Napravnik, Vicar’s In Trouble may actually BE in trouble with this field. I really like this horse, and although he was the runaway winner in the Grade 3 Le Comte, his speed figure in that race is lacking in comparison to some of the others here. I’m hoping we haven’t seen the best from this colt as he is one that I am rooting for as a Derby hopeful, but since I’m not one to tout the favorite, let’s see what better priced contenders we can come up with. I have a feeling that the public might stay away from Vicar’s In Trouble, and if they do he might still be one of my value plays. I really like this horse! At any rate, I think that Rise Up will give him some serious competition on the front end looking for the early lead. Rise Up won the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot back in November by 6 lengths and has been training well for this race. He tends to love having that early lead and the battle between him and Vicar’s In Trouble might be rough on both of them. Intense HolidaySo for value, I have to look hard at Intense Holiday who is 8 to 1 on the ML. Intense Holiday ran 4th in the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct and 3rd in the Grade 2 Holy Bull at Gulfstream. I would have thought that trainer, Todd Pletcher would have ran him in this weekend’s Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream, but instead opted to run him here. I like this move. The horse is a better fit for this race in my opinion and his running style should give him an edge. Mike Smith in the irons is a plus, too. For a big longshot, I am considering Commanding Curve at 20 to 1 on the morning line. He might be outclassed here, but his speed figures and workouts tell me he is up to the challenge. I look for him to stalk and possibly upset this field. Good luck everybody!




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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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