Kentucky Derby Dream Bet Risen Star Stakes pick from Vance Hanson

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

February 19th, 2016

Saturday's $400,000 Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds is the opening salvo in's $25,000 Kentucky Derby Dream Bet contest. Cashing a $15 win bet on at least one of nine upcoming Kentucky Derby (G1) preps doesn't seem too difficult a task, and remember you just need to go one-for-nine in the Qualifying Round to make it into the Final Round. Of course, hitting more than one of these Qualifying Round races is beneficial financially and can help sharpen your handicapping acumen.

I'm not going to think too far outside the box in the Risen Star. Mo Tom (#2, 3-1) was very impressive in last month's Lecomte (G3), rallying from 10 lengths behind a moderate pace to win going away by 2 1/4 lengths. Until proven otherwise, he appears to be the best Fair Grounds-based Kentucky Derby candidate. He seems to have enough substance to follow in the recent hoofsteps of Friesan Fire (2009) and International Star (2015) as horses who have swept the New Orleans track's leading classic preps.

In addition to liking Mo Tom over returning Lecomte foes Tom's Ready and Uncle Walter, I also feel he's preferable to morning line favorite Airoforce, his Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) conqueror who has yet to prove himself over a fast track, and Gun Runner, a colt with a potentially bright future who ran fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club in his most recent start.