Stakes value plays for Risen Star Day at Fair Grounds

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Jen Caldwell

February 14th, 2019

The $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) headlines a huge day of racing at Fair Grounds on Saturday. A total of six stakes events, four of which are graded, will be contested. I think each of the black-type races is ultra-competitive with live price horses to dabble with. Here are my thoughts: RISEN STAR STAKES (G2) The impressive War of Will (#14) (5-2) is the obvious one to beat coming off of his stylish tally in the Lecomte (G3). The Mark Casse charge would be of no surprise in the Road to the Kentucky Derby test, though I have to try and upend him from his demanding post assignment. Plus Que Parfait (#1) (10-1) had a troubled and wide trip while stuck behind a slow pace in the Lecomte. The chestnut gets the rail and he will improve in this spot for trainer Brendan Walsh. The Point of Entry sophomore is the value of the field with Julien Leparoux staying at the controls. RACHEL ALEXANDRA STAKES (G2) A fantastic field of sophomore fillies will run 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. Half of the 10 come off of stakes wins in a tough handicapping assignment. Serengeti Empress (#3) (6-1) ran a few off-the-charts races as a juvenile. The Tom Amoss charge is the speed of the field and I think he will have her ready to roll off the bench. The price won’t be huge but it will be a healthy one. MINESHAFT HANDICAP (G3) A baker’s dozen will vie in a great betting opportunity. Thirstforlife (#12) (15-1) is tons better than he has shown in his last pair. The five-year-old gelding was runner-up in this race last campaign and he takes the blinkers off for this edition. The longshot has appeal from off the pace at a big number so bombs away! FAIR GROUNDS HANDICAP (G3) While it’s hard to look past defending champ Synchrony (#9) (3-1), I came away super impressed with the performance by First Premio (#6) (4-1) in the Colonel Bradley Handicap on this course. The Mark Casse pupil is consistently good and has the right running style for the race. The son of Pure Prize could be in for a nice season with steady progression. COLONEL POWER STAKES Eight will go to post in this turf dash. Latent Revenge (#6) (9-2) has not won in a while but he looks to be well-placed against this cast. The speedster gets a fine post outside of his main pace rival, and he does some of his best work on the Fair Grounds lawn. The dark bay was a big second in the Bonapaw Stakes two prior and he would be formidable here with a repeat of that run. ALBERT M. STALL MEMORIAL STAKES Ten fillies and mares will go 1 1/16 miles on the green. Blushing K. D. Stakes heroine Beau Recall (#8) (2-1) was impressive in her local debut and gets the nod in a well-matched field. The daughter of Sir Prancealot should get a solid pace to rally into under Shaun Bridgmohan. The price is not ideal but the five-year-old lass looks awfully tough in the turf affair. PHOTO: Serengeti Empress romps in the Pocahontas Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on September 15, 2018 (c) Coady Photography/Churchill Downs