2017 Risen Star Stakes results

2017 Risen Star Stakes Results

The Road to the Kentucky Derby took a sharp turn this past weekend when the first of the prep races to offer 50-20-10-5 point distribution was won by an unexpected contender. Girvin opened as an 8/1 longshot and was given even less of a chance considering he had drawn the inside post. But the Joe Sharp trainee was able to baffle the crowd at Fair Grounds over the weekend and capsize the 2017 Risen Star Stakes results.

Guest Suite and Mo Town were the top two choices on the board, garnering 7/2 and 3/2 odds respectively but both barely factored in to the contest at all. Instead, it was Local Hero who opened as the pace setter as a 3/1 outside shot. He was overtaken down the home stretch by Girvin. Untrapped was the other surprise at this race as he ran to second place.

With the very shocking 2017 Risen Star Stakes results, Girvin paid out $18.20, $8.60 and $5.80 with the win. Untrapped was worth $8.00 to place at 8/1 while Local Hero held on for third for a payout of $4.60.

Winning jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. held a long view of the 2017 Risen Star Stakes results, knowing what the future holds for Girvin and other recent winners. “From here on, the races will get tougher but he’s the right kind of horse,” Brian said. “He has a lot of athletic ability and he looks like he’ll keep getting better and better.”

Trainer Joe Sharp was a little more enthusiastic. “It’s unbelievable, I lost my voice,” Sharp noted. “We believed in this horse all along, but you never know how good they are until you stack them up against the competition. We had all the confidence in the world in Brian. But we’re in shock.”

The unexpected 2017 Risen Star Stakes results are a death blow to the candidacy of Mo Town who will look to rally and could very well enter the Louisiana Derby later in the spring. He is no longer considered a Triple Crown contender, and Girvin still has plenty of work to do to build on the momentum he just generated.

Guest Suite Ready to Rise in Risen Star Stakes

Talented Guest Suite Training Strong for Big Run in Risen Star

The road to the Kentucky Derby goes through New Orleans Saturday for the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) at the Fair Grounds. Some horses in this field are also one’s to watch for the Preakness Stakes.

The top-5 finishers from the LeComte Stakes are running in the 1 1/16 mile Risen Star, including the winner Guest Suite (6/1). This is a steadily improving colt by Quality Road that has won three times including his last two races. His only loss in the last four starts was to the Kentucky Derby favorite, McCraken. Trainer Neil Howard knows he has a good one, and Guest Suite could be the talk of the Derby trail following this weekend’s races.

Derby points: 50-20-10-5

Guest Suite has been working like a beast in the mornings over the Fair Grounds main track and is appears ready to fire a huge race down the lane at a nice price. The pace of this race fits right into Guest Suite’s running style as this field has many need to lead types in the starting gate. Guest Suite can rate with tactical speed and he’s shown in recent workouts that he has plenty of speed and is chomping at the bit to show his class again. Rider Robby Albarado should have this fine 3-year-old galloping easily without as much energy behind the leaders before unleashing his big run on the turn and down the stretch.

For wagering purposes this Derby prep is the fourth leg of an all-stakes pick four; which also includes the Mineshaft in race 8, the Rachel Alexandra (G2) as race 9, and the Fair Grounds (G3) on the turf as race 10. Take your chances with Guest Suite as a single entry in the Pick 4, and bet this horse to win and place with an exacta key box of #6 Guest Suite with 1, 2, 3, 8.



PP Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Girvin Hernandez Jr. Sharp 6-1
2 Untrapped Santana Jr. Asmussen 10-1
3 Local Hero Geroux Asmussen 4-1
4 Arklow Bridgmohan Cox 15-1
5 Shareholder Value Murrill Amoss 15-1
6 Guest Suite Albarado Howard 6-1
7 U S Officer Valdivia Jr. Pish 20-1
8 Cool Arrow Saez Sharp 15-1
9 Mo Town Velazquez Dutrow 7-2
10 Takeoff Leparoux Casse 10-1
11 Sorry Erik Desormeaux Desormeaux 30-1
12 Horse Fly Mena Lukas 30-1
13 It’s Your Nickel Graham McPeek 30-1
14 So Conflated (SCRATCHED)


Oscar Performance Prepares for 2017 Debut

All eyes this weekend will be on the Oscars, but on Friday, February 24, they were on Oscar Performance. The son Kitten’s Joy put in a four furlong work in a time of :47 2/5 at the Palm Meadows Training Center. It was the second fastest work of the day and it was the fourth time Oscar Performance worked since winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T) on November 4.

According to his trainer Brian Lynch, Oscar Performance is readying himself for his 2017 debut, which will likely be the Transylvania Presented by Keeneland Select Stakes (G3T) as part of Keeneland’s opening day spring meet on April 7.

“He’s in very good order,” said Lynch. “We gave him 60 days off after the Breeders’ Cup and … he seems to have matured a bit both physically and mentally. We’re excited about where he is at at this stage. If he keeps developing in the direction he’s taking us, there is nothing but upside to him.

“We’re hoping we’ll be in the big dances by the end of the year.”

After finishing sixth in his debut race at Saratoga Race Course last July, Oscar Performance earned a maiden win and followed that up with victories in the Pilgrim Stakes (G3T) and the aforementioned Breeders’ Cup. In a year with lesser competition he would have likely been an Eclipse Award finalist.

“I wasn’t surprised,” said Lynch. “You always hope that a horse who sort of dominated his category would get a little bit of a mention there but you know, I always felt the grass horses play second fiddle a bit when it comes to those awards.”

1996 Preakness Winner Louis Quatorze Dies Suddenly

Louis Quatorze Won 1996 Preakness and over $2 million

The 1996 Preakness Stakes champion has died. Louis Quatorze, the 24-year old son of Sovereign Dancer, collapsed and died suddenly after galloping across the paddock to the gate Feb. 17.  A perennial top sire in Maryland, Louis Quatorze was buried at Murmur Farms.

“Even considering that he was 24, it was heartbreaking,” said Audrey Murray, owner of Murmur Farm. “He was so regal and majestic. When we would show him, he would stand there like he knew he’d won the Preakness.”

Bred in Kentucky and trained by Nick Zito, Louis Quatorze went wire -to-wire as the 8-1 choice to win the Preakness with Pat Day after finishing 16th in the Kentucky Derby. His final time of 1:53 2/5 equaled the then-stakes record set by Tank’s Prospect in 1985, but it was later surpassed when review of Secretariat’s 1973 Preakness found the horse to have completed the 1 3/16-mile race in 1:53.

Louis Quatorze won 7 of 18 starts and placed 2nd five times with career earnings or more than $2 million. After finishing 4th in the Belmont Stakes, Louis Quatorze won the Jim Dandy (G2) and then had a pair of Grade I runner-up finishes in the Travers Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic, which he lost by a nose. He finished his career with a pair of Grade III wins in his final two races in 1997.

Louis Quatorze initially stood at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., and also shuttled to Argentina for four Southern Hemisphere seasons, but was later purchased by Allen and Audrey Murray of Murmur Farms and moved to Maryland beginning with the 2004 breeding season.

Louis Quatorze ranked as the second-leading Maryland sire in 2005 and 2006, and was steadily among the top five sires through 2011. With 17 crops of racing age, Louis Quatorze has sired 600 winners including 36 black-type stakes champions, of which 12 won graded/group stakes. He has amassed combined progeny earnings of more than $36.6 million.

Earlier this week, the 1999 Preakness winner Charismatic also died.

Imperial Hint Goes Gate to Wire to Win General George

Imperial Hint Sets Fast Fractions and Holds Off Favorite in General George at Laurel Park

Imperial Hint made it 2-for-2 this year, setting the fast fractions and holding off the race favorite Stallwalkin’ Dude to win the $250,000 Grade III General George Stakes at Laurel Park by 2 1/2 lengths Saturday. The victory was worth $150,000 and capped a big day of racing at Laurel Park for the Winter Carnival.

Off as the second choice at 5/2, Imperial Hint was the third-straight horse to knock off the favorite in the closing three Winter Carnival stakes races after High Ridge Road (3-1) won the Barbara Fritchie Stakes and Bodhisattva (22-1) pulled the upset in the John B. Campbell Stakes.

Imperial Hint paid $7.60, $3.80 and $3.20 across the board in a final 7-furlong time of 1:21.20. He set the fast early fractions of 22.61 and 45.28 seconds at the half mile marker. He maintained the lead through six furlongs in 1:08.88 prompting his rider to Julien Pimente to note “He’s a very fast horse,” after the race. Stallwalking’ Dude could not track down the winner in the final furlong and returned $2.80 and $2.20 while Never Gone South (37-1) was third with a mild late run to pay $7.80 and provide a nice trifecta payoff of $248.40 on a $2 wager (5-6-1). Imperial Hint, a Florida-bred 4-year-old colt by Imperialism, has now won three straight races with six wins in 10 starts.

Luis Carvajal, who scored the first graded stakes win of his training career, said, “After he won his first race I thought he was going to be a nice horse. We just had a couple little hiccups down the road but now he’s doing really well. I have no plans right now. I’m just hoping to go back to the barn and see if he’s healthy and we’ll go from there.”

Norton Cancer Institute, Churchill Downs Partner Up

The Norton Cancer Institute and Churchill Downs announced earlier today a charitable partnership between the two that would raise funds used towards providing care for women in the community in need of breast health screenings and services who lack access to such services.

Statistics show that one out of every eight women will develop breast cancer so this partnership will be a valuable resource. The Norton Cancer Institute will provide health programs, diagnosis and treatment resources, support groups, testing services, clinical trials, and community screenings.

The campaign will be launched with 143 breast and ovarian cancer survivors marking in a parade at Churchill Downs before the start of the 143rd annual Longines Kentucky Oaks. Parade march nominations can be made online. The nomination process will close at 11:49 PM EST on March 17.

The new partnership and parade will be a part of the Oaks Day Pink Out celebration. Churchill Downs has committed to donate $50,000 to the Norton Cancer Institute’s Breast Health Program as part of Pink Out.

“The caregivers at Norton Cancer Institute are all about giving hope to people fighting cancer,” said Norton Healthcare Senior VP of Women’s and Children’s Community Partnerships/Chief Development Officer Lynnie Meyer, Ed.D, R.N., CFRE. “The Kentucky Oaks Survivor’s Parade celebrates the hope that every cancer patient has – no matter their stage of treatment. We’re honored to be a part of this year’s event.”

“We’re excited to partner with such an important local organization to help raise funds that will go directly back into our local community,” said Churchill Downs Incorporated Foundation President Lauren DePaso. “These are critical health issues that have impacted many of us at Churchill Downs and our community and we are proud to support them on Oaks Day through our partnership with Norton Cancer Institute.”

2017 El Camino Real Derby results

Longshot Steals 2017 El Camino Real Derby

Nobody outside of the Northern California area usually cares for the El Camino Real Derby, even though it’s a stop on the derby trail. But this weekend’s event provided a show stopping thriller for those that bothered to invest in the most unlikely of heroes. At 48/1, Zakaroff was the longest horse on the board and received a pitiful $3,922 in action. He surprised everyone with a stunning performance.


Even money favorite Ann Arbor Eddie, who had gone 3-0-1 in four starts with wins at the California Cup Derby and King Glorious heading in to this race, was the horse to watch. He was followed by Sheer Flattery at 5/2, and then More Power To Him who slid in as the 9/2 third option. It seemed to be a race that was pretty run-of-the-mill. Ride the top two favorites and cash out when all is said and done.

A grand total of $147,686 was spent on Ann Arbor Eddie and Sheer Flattery.  This was the most logical pathway, and one I would’ve followed as well. But as the race unfolded, Zakaroff found the opportunity he probably should haven’t been afforded.

As the field rounded the last turn, Zakaroff was blocked off by three other rivals and if they had simply stayed in a tight formation there would’ve been no way for the longshot to contend for the 2017 El Camino Real Derby title. But in a strange twist that allowed for an unexpected result, that blockade parted like a biblical sea to give jockey Kyle Frey and Zakaroff the opening they needed. “Normally you might be concerned about being boxed in, but my horse was completely relaxed and in hand,” Frey said. “It did get a little bit shaky coming out of that final turn, but luckily we were able to muscle out and get a clean trip outside.”

Owner Steven Specht also commented on his surprise El Camino Real Derby winner’s odds heading in to the challenge. “They didn’t give me much credit, even though I didn’t finish that far behind some of these horses the last two times,” Specht noted. “I really thought this race was too far, that one mile or 1 1/16 miles was his limit. When he got to the stretch, he showed a little extra that I didn’t think he had. I actually entered him in a first-level allowance sprint, but the race didn’t go, so I got stuck running here. Not a bad stick. I wasn’t out of my league, but somebody has to be favored and somebody has to not be.”

Zakaroff was worth a whopping $99.60 with the win, while More Power To Him gave back $6.40 and $4.00 in second. Tribal Storm took third and was worth $5.00 at 10/1. For what it was worth, Ann Arbor Eddie was just outside the top-three finishing 4th while Sheer Flattery trailed to dead last.

This derby trail has been full of surprises all year long, and the 2017 El Camino Real Derby was no exception.

1999 Preakness Stakes Winner Charismatic Dies

Charismatic was Duel Classic Winner of Preakness and Kentucky Derby

Charismatic, the 1999 Horse of the Year who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, has died. The 21-year-old stallions passing was announced Feb. 19 by Old Friends president Michael Blowen.

“Right now, everyone is pretty much inconsolable,” said Blowen. “Last night, at 6:30, he was fine. He was a really tough horse and he deserved a much longer retirement. But none of us, unfortunately, has a magic wand. Everyone at Old Friends takes solace from the few great months that this great Champion gave us.”

Charismatic was a rags to riches story, winning just 2 of his first 10 races including a claiming race at Santa Anita in Feb., 1999 after a horse was disqualified for causing interference in the stretch. Charismatic ran fourth in the Santa Anita Derby, and just two weeks later he won his first stakes race at Keeneland in the Lexington Stakes, the last-chance race to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

Charismatic would pull a shocker at 31-1 odds to win the Kentucky Derby, and then rallied again to win the Preakness Stakes at 8-1. The late jockey Chris Antley was aboard for the rides, including his bid to win the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes. But Charismatic’s run to glory and his career ended that day, as the chestnut colt suffered multiple fractures in his left front leg just a few strides before the wire. He finished 3rd in the Belmont, but jockey Chris Antley may have saved his life following the finish. Antley dismounted and held up Charismatic‘s injured left front leg off the ground, until doctors and emergency personnel arrived. The injuries ended Charismatic’s career.

Charismatic entered stud at Lane’s End in 2000 and stood there for three seasons before relocating to Japan in 2002. He sired 374 starters and 265 winners for progeny earnings of more than $44.5 million. He returned to the United States from the JBBA Shizunai Stallion Station in Japan on December 4, 2016, and was pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY.

Charismatic’s trainer, Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lucas, saw him in December.

“The sad part is that he was doing so well,” Lukas said. “They made such an effort to get him home. And when I went out and looked at him I couldn’t believe the condition of him. He was in beautiful shape. We spent the day out there with him and took pictures and everything and it looked like it was going to be forever. But you never can predict these things, and they don’t know, I think, really what happened yet.

“He was a part of our career – a big part of it,” Lukas continued. “I really loved that horse. I was very fond of him. He was a knockout looker. When you get one that’s such an overachiever – I really thought that he might end up in the claiming ranks his entire career and the next thing he’s going for the Triple Crown – it was just a joy to be around him.”

Charismatic earned the 1999 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old colt, as well as Horse of the Year honors, and retired with five wins from 17 starts and earnings of $2,038,064. His sire, Summer Squall, was the winner of the 1990 Preakness Stakes, and was euthanized in 2009.

Looking for a Long Shot in the Southwest Stakes

Long Shots to Challenge Uncontested in Southwest Stakes

The Road to the Roses continues with a Kentucky Derby prep race on President’s Day. The 52nd running of the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park features Smarty Jones Stakes winner Uncontested. The 5/2 favorite will go off at a shorter price at post, and he’ll be tough to track down with a 96 Beyer speed figure in his last face registering eight points more than the next best speed figure in the Southwest field of 13 runners.

But the $500,000 Southwest Stakes has some challengers and horses that could pay a nice price when wagering in the exotics. Let’s examine some long shots who could chase down Uncontested and earn some Derby points with a top-4 finish (10-4-2-1).

Lookin at Lee (8-1) is a talented son of Lookin at Lucky, who won the 2010 Preakness Stakes. He finished 4th to Derby contender Classic Empire in the Breeders’ Cup Futurity in November, and his deep closing kick is one to watch as the pace is expected to be very fast in the Southwest with Uncontested out front pressed by Petrov (5-1), One Liner (7/2) and Cool Arrow (12-1). Should the race set up as expected, Lookin at Lee should be running hard at the finish as he shows his continued improvement with both distance and racing into 2017.

Warriors Club (12-1) did not like the sloppy track in the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn while finishing 4th behind Uncontested Jan 16. That’s a concern as near a 50% chance of rain is in the forecast for Monday racing at Oaklawn. However, note Warriors Club did finish 3rd just in front of a fading Uncontested in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill in November, so he’s one to consider in exotic wagering.

Silver Dust (10-1) makes his stakes debut off his maiden win at Churchill Downs in November. He hasn’t race since, but trainer Randy Morse is solid with this type off a layoff. The well-bred son of Tapit will likely continue to improve rapidly, and these are the type of races where an unknown can come alive. The breeding says he can compete here, but he’ll have to rate well under jockey Corey Lanerie and have a lot left for the final furlong.

Hence (20-1) is most intriguing at this price, as the Street Boss colt should also ascend under trainer Steve Asmussen following his maiden win last month and a pair of solid works leading into the Southwest.

The Grade III Southwest Stakes is race 9 at 6:09 ET on Monday, Feb. 20 at Oaklawn Park, and follows the race 7 Razorback Handicap.

Fair Grounds Hosting Louisiana Derby Preview

The Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots is hosting their Louisiana Derby Preview Card on February 25. It will feature 38 horses competing in 38 graded stakes races, with the $400,000 Risen Star (gr. II) being the highlight of the day.

The Risen Star will see Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) winner Guest Suite compete, as well as Mo Town, who won last year’s Remsen Stakes and will make his three-year-old racing season debut. The first stakes race of the day will be the $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap. The horse to beat in that one will be International Star, who won the Lecomte and Risen Star in 2015, as well as the Louisiana Derby (gr. II).

Below is a list of each race and the competition.

Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III)

Post Position Horse
1 Rise Up (KY)
2 Eagle (KY)
3 December Seven (KY)
4 Dalmore (FL)
5 Mo Tom (KY)
6 Dazzling Gem (KY)
7 Honorable Duty (KY)
8 International Star (NY)

Rachel Alexandria Stakes (gr. II)

Post Position Horse
1 Untapped (KY)
2 Farrell (KY)
3 Shane’s Girlfriend (FL)
4 Majestic Quality (KY)
5 Valadorna (KY)
6 Wicked Lick (KY)
7 Gris Gris (KY)

Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT)

Post Position Horse
1 Bullards Alley (KY)
2 Greengrassofyoming (KY)
3 Blame Angel (KY)
4 One Mean Man (KY)
5 Granny’s Kitten (PA)
6 Enterprising (FL)
7 Golden Soul (KY)
8 Western Reserve (KY)
9 Oscar Nominated (KY)

Risen Star Stakes (gr. II)

Post Position Horse
1 Girvin (KY)
2 Untrapped (KY)
3 Local Hero (KY)
4 Arklow (KY)
5 Shareholder Value (KY)
6 Guest Suite (KY)
7 U S Officer (KY)
8 Cool Arrow (KY)
9 Mo Town (KY)
10 Takeoff (KY)
11 Sorry Erik (KY)
12 Horse Fly (KY)
13 It’s Your Nickel (KY)
14 So Conflated (FL)