Laoban, Bistraya added to Risen Star

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TwinSpires Staff

February 9th, 2016

Edited Press Release

According to the Fair Grounds racing office, two horses are likely to represent California in next Saturday’s $400,000 Risen Star (G2) for 3-year-olds – the second of three Kentucky Derby preps at the New Orleans oval.

McCormick Racing and Southern Equine Stable’s Laoban may be a maiden, but the son of red-hot sire Uncle Mo has been knocking heads with some tough foes on the West Coast. Trained by Eric Guillot, the Kentucky-bred followed up a seventh on debut in November with a good second to Bob Baffert trainee Let’s Meet In Rio in maiden company at Los Alamitos on December 5.

The pair would both go on to finish second and third, with Laoban being the latter, in the Sham (G3) on January 9. All three of the dark bay colt’s races have been at two-turn miles.

“I’m going to enter and see what it looks like,” Guillot said. “He’s a nice horse and getting better with each and every race. He’s a 17-hand Uncle Mo and had a horrible trip in the Sham and should have won that race. He got bumped and hung out six-wide and still only lost by two and three-quarter lengths. The (Fair Grounds) long stretch should suit him.”

Guillot confirmed that Miguel Mena will likely ride in the Risen Star.

While LeeAnn Ohanesian’s Bistraya may have only a maiden victory to his credit, the Ricky Agarie-trained gelding carries some impressive class lines and boasts a big number in his most recent effort. In winning a one-mile maiden at Santa Anita on January 24, the son from the first crop of Haynesfield wired the field by 1¼ lengths, earning a 97 BRIS Speed Figure and defeating well-regarded Bob Baffert trainee Hoffenheim in the process. It was more than 10 lengths back to third in the 10-horse field.

Earlier in his career, the bay gelding knocked heads with the likes of champion Nyquist, Grade I winner Mor Spirit, Grade 3 winner Toews On Ice and graded stakes-placed Uncle Lino.

Another expected Risen Star contestant, Gun Runner, continued preparations on Monday with a strong workout, completing six furlongs in 1:12.20 for trainer Steve Asmussen. A winner in his first two outings, the Candy Ride colt exits a fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2). The runner-up and third-placer from the Kentucky Jockey Club, Mor Spirit and Mo Tom, have already captured Kentucky Derby qualifying races this year.