Siding with an up-and-comer in Risen Star for the Kentucky Derby Dream Bet

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

February 24th, 2017

After nondescript third- and fourth-place finishes in our $25,000 Kentucky Derby Dream Bet selections last weekend, I'm looking for better results in Saturday's $400,000 Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds.

If you still have not qualified for the Final Round of the Derby Dream Bet, the Risen Star is your only opportunity this weekend. Those that have been successful can pad their earnings for an opportunity to win Qualifying Round Prizes. More information on the contest and prizes can be found here.

Thinking the Lecomte (G3) was on the slow side and taking a suspect view of the form of the Remsen (G2), won by Risen Star favorite Mo Town, I'll be siding with a up-and-comer GIRVIN (#1, 6-1), who has displayed a lot of potential in two starts thus far.

After prevailing in his debut by a head over next-out winner Excitations following a stretch-long duel (and earning a competitive 93 BRIS Speed rating), Girwin made an effective two-turn debut in the $50,000 Keith Gee Memorial over a mile on the turf last time, rallying from mid-pack to finish second by less than a length.

A half-brother to Grade 3 juvenile winner Cocked and Loaded, Girwin hails from the family of Grade 1 turf winner Silver Max, Canadian champion Kiss a Native, and Grade 1 sprint specialist Yes It's True. I suspect he'll appreciate the return to dirt on Saturday.

Here are horses of interest in some of the other stakes on Saturday's card at Fair Grounds:

Colonel Power (Race 5): HOGY (#2, 3-1) has a habit of falling too far off the pace, and that's cost him some big wins of late. Stretches out slightly off a narrow loss at Sam Houston and his price figures to be okay with Green Mask and Latent Revenge in the mix.

Daisy Devine (Race 7): CAMBODIA (#2, 5-2) didn't have the best of trips in the Marie Krantz Memorial and might not have been fond of the soft ground either. Florent Geroux is back aboard this time on a mare that had been three-for-three on the green going into her stakes debut.

Mineshaft (Race 8): INTERNATIONAL STAR (#8, 4-1) has always done his best work over the track, though he did throw relative clunkers in this race and the New Orleans H. (G2) last season before ending his 2016 campaign on an even sourer note. Reunited with Miguel Mena, with whom he is four-for-five.

Fair Grounds (Race 10): GREENGRASSOFYOMING (#2, 4-1) was caught behind a very slow pace in the John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3) and didn't quite have the necessary kick he needed to upend stablemates Bigger Picture and Oscar Nominated. The pace doesn't figure to be hot with Western Reserve the logical front runner, but I would expect it to be swifter than the Connally and thus more favorable for this gelding's chances.