James Scully picks the Risen Star Stakes for Kentucky Derby Dream Bet

Profile Picture: James Scully

February 19th, 2016 is offering the $25,000 Kentucky Derby Dream Bet this year, offering players the chance to win a trip to the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and the opportunity to make a $25,000 Win bet on the race, and the contest gets underway this weekend with the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds.

Players must cash a $15 Win bet on a single horse in any of the nine contest races from February 20-March 26.

I’m looking forward to playing the Risen Star, which drew a field of 13 but is expected to feature 11 starters, and will try to beat the two likely favorites, Airoforce and Mo Tom. But horses appear capable, but I’ll go a different direction with Gun Runner.

Conditioned by Steve Asmussen, Gun Runner opened his racing career with a game score at Churchill Downs over maiden special weight rivals at a tricky one-mile distance. He followed with an impressive two-length allowance victory at Keeneland, stretching out to two turns like a consummate professional as he proved much the best over a nice field, and the son of Candy Ride was bet down to 4-1 in his stakes bow, the November 28 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Gun Runner caught a sloppy track in the Kentucky Jockey Club and dropped a little farther back during the early stages before moving too early, launching a bid entering the far turn that had carried him to the lead by the head of the stretch. The chestnut colt could not sustain his momentum to the finish line, weakening to fourth in the final furlong, but it was still a very respectable effort as he finished only 3 ¼ lengths back of the winning Airoforce, who had a seasoning edge in his third stakes attempts and relished the wet conditions.

I’m expecting improvement off the encouraging effort and Gun Runner appears to be training forwardly for his return, posting a 6-furlong bullet breeze in 1:12 1/5 recently. He’s listed as the 6-1 third choice on the morning line.

Complete Details of the $25,000 Kentucky Derby Dream Bet: will also offer the 3 Million Points Rolling Pick 4 Bonus on Risen Star Day, with a 1 million point bounty on each of the three Pick 4s on the program. Complete Details: