How to bet the second division of the Risen Star

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

February 12th, 2020

The second division of the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) on Saturday at Fair Grounds is packed with a dozen talented sophomores.

There’s no shortage of stakes-experienced youngsters, eye-catching allowance winners, and promising maiden winners to choose from in this 1 1/8-mile event, which will award 50 Kentucky Derby (G1) qualification points to the victor.

But #8 Anneau d’Or stands out as the horse to beat.

Trained by Blaine Wright in Northern California, Anneau d’Or is by far the most accomplished horse in the field. After he broke his maiden by eight lengths on turf at Golden Gate Fields, Anneau d’Or switched to dirt and employed pace-tracking tactics to finish second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G1).

On both occasions Anneau d’Or looked like a winner before he hung in the homestretch. He lost the Juvenile by a head and the Futurity by a neck.

In an effort to squeeze a little more focus and finishing power out of Anneau d’Or, Wright will equip the stoutly bred son of Medaglia d’Oro with blinkers for the Risen Star. Anneau d’Or has been training sharply with blinkers at Golden Gate, where he turned in a lengthy series of fitness-building workouts, so he should be ready to fire a big shot in his first start of the season.

Even just a repeat of his Juvenile or Futurity efforts might be enough to land Anneau d’Or in the Fair Grounds winner’s circle. With Brisnet Speed ratings of 102 and 95 under his belt, Anneau d’Or is significantly faster than the majority of his Risen Star rivals.

Only the runaway Pasco S. winner #5 Liam’s Lucky Charm has posted similar figures, but it’s unclear whether the speedy son of Khozan can handle 1 1/16 miles. In his lone start beyond a sprint distance, Liam’s Lucky Charm finished a distant third.

The large field should ensure Anneau d’Or starts at a fair price, so we’ll bet him to win and on top of an exacta, with #10 Finnick the Fierce underneath.

A stretch-running son of Dialed In, Finnick the Fierce has competed admirably in graded stakes company. He finished second in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and fourth in the Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds last month. There should be enough pace to put Finnick the Fierce in contention Saturday.

$25 to win on #8 Anneau d’Or
$5 exacta: 8 with 10

Good luck!