Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Risen Star draws a field of 13

GOOD LUCK!! and have A GREAT DAY!!!

By Marcus Hersh

Typically, fewer horses actually are entered in stakes races than are expected. Between wishful thinking from racing officials and second thoughts by horsemen, reality often fails to meet expectations.

Just the opposite happened Monday at Fair Grounds. An anticipated medium-sized field for the headliner among six Saturday stakes races, the Grade 3, $200,000 Risen Star Stakes, suddenly turned into a 13-horse field when the race was drawn late Monday morning. And while no one would have been shocked to see the Grade 3, $150,000 Silverbulletday draw something like a five-horse field, eight 3-year-old fillies were entered in that race.

Pleasant surprises all around - unless you are a person associated with Au Moon. Third in the Lecomte Stakes, Au Moon was hung out in post 13 for the Risen Star. Just inside him is Flying Pegasus, who apparently will make his 3-year-old debut at his Fair Grounds base, rather than traveling to Oaklawn Park for the Southwest Stakes. Likely favorite and Lecomte winner Friesan Fire drew well in post 6, with the well-regarded Giant Oak one stall to his outside. Friesan Fire is trained by Larry Jones, who also entered It Happened Again in the Risen Star. But trainer Steve Asmussen did Jones one better, putting three horses in the race - Uno Mas, Dumar, and Soul Warrior. The others in the Risen Star - a Louisiana Derby prep - are Map of the World, Indygo Mountain, Nowhere to Hide, Code of Honour, and Summer's Empire.

Just Jenda, who won the Tiffany Lass Stakes for Jones last out, heads the Silverbulletday field. The other fillies entered are Four Gifts, More of the Best, War Echo, Flying Spur, Garter Belt, Southern Yankee, and War Tigress.

The Risen Star will go as the last of the six stakes, with the Silverbulletday directly preceding, but the two stakes before the Silverbulletday also look appealing, with the Mineshaft Handicap especially deep this year. The eight-horse field in the Mineshaft includes recent Fair Grounds route stakes winners Secret Getaway and Good and Lucky; the 2008 Mineshaft winner, Grasshopper; the 2008 Super Derby winner, My Pal Charlie; and Grade 3 winner Honest Man, who had a bullet five-furlong work Monday morning.

The Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap drew eight grass entries, including last-start Fair Grounds stakes winner French Beret. But French Beret should face a stout challenge from up-and-comers Jimmy Simms and Diamond Tycoon, as well as Demarcation, who won the River City Handicap at Churchill Downs in his most recent start.

Saturday's other two stakes are the Pan Zareta, which should have Secret Gypsy as a strong favorite, and the Colonel Power, a turf sprint featuring a rematch between Storm Treasure and Chamberlain Bridge.

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