Risen Star Day maiden races prove highly productive

Profile Picture: James Scully

February 17th, 2022

The $400,000 Risen Star S. (G2), an 85-point qualifier for the Kentucky Derby, highlights Saturday’s “Louisiana Derby Preview Day” at Fair Grounds, and the 13-race program also includes five maiden special weight races.

Over the last three years, maiden races on the Risen Star undercard have produced at least nine stakes winners, including millionaires By My Standards and Mystic Guide.

Last year’s Risen Star Day maiden races featured eventual graded stakes winners Carribean Caper, Masqueparade, and Sainthood.

Unbeaten Carribean Caper made her career debut at Fair Grounds 12 months ago, and she won five straight, including a six-length score in the Dogwood S. (G3), before being sidelined last fall.

Sainthood followed a maiden triumph last February with a runner-up in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), an 11th in the Kentucky Derby (G1), and a victory in the Pennine Ridge S. (G3). Masqueparade was placed first via disqualification in another maiden race, and he won the Ohio Derby (G3) two starts later.

In 2020, Mystic Guide finished third in a six-furlong maiden special weight on the Risen Star Day undercard. Other subsequent stakes winners that afternoon included Nasty and Audrey’s Time, but they pale in comparison to Mystic Guide, who went on to romp in the 2021 Dubai World Cup (G1).

In 2019, By My Standards, Grade 2 winner My Majestic Rose, and stakes victor Bourbon Calling emerged from maiden races.

By My Standards, a 4 1/4-length maiden winner, jumped straight to stakes competition with a victory in the Louisiana Derby (G2) a month later. He captured a quartet of Grade 2 stakes, and earned more than $2.2 million, before being retired last year.

Horses to watch

Be on the lookout for promising types on Saturday! Four of the maiden races are for open company, and I’ll highlight a few interesting three-year-olds.

In the 2nd race, #2 Indigo Miss will make her career debut at six furlongs. The Into Mischief filly is a half-sister to 2019 champion sprinter Mitole and Grade 1 winner Hot Rod Charlie.

In the 4th race, #9 Marsalis will be unveiled in a six-furlong heat. The Stonestreet homebred Curlin colt shows a recent five-furlong bullet work in preparation, and Joel Rosario will be up for Steve Asmussen. He's a half-brother to Pauline's Pearl, who recently captured the Sam Houston Ladies Classic (G3) as an odds-on favorite, and from the immediate family of 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming. 

In the 6th race, #5 Vinco will stretch out to 1 1/16 miles following a fast-closing second in which he missed the break. Dallas Stewart trains the $1.5 million Quality Road, the sales topper at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale, and Brian Hernandez Jr. will be up for the second start.