Airoforce has been curiously absent from industry news in the months following his Kentucky Jockey Club victory last November. That will change as he takes part in the Risen Star Stakes and a shot at the $400,000 purse. The 1 1/16th mile race is named after Risen Star, the winner of the 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
The three-year old Airoforce has watched his stock amongst other Triple Crown hopefuls stagnate as others have started to make some vibrant, earth rattling moves. Mor Spirit and Mohayman are now seen as the main threats to the unbelievable Nyquist who still leads the three-year old class. The final standings of the Kentucky Derby Futures Wager saw some radical shifts in power, but Airoforce went from just 18/1 to 16/1 over the weekend. It’s not that much of an improvement, though it’s obvious that there is still some intrigue for Airoforce amongst horse players.
To justify that faith, the Mark Casse trainee is going to have his hands full in the 1 1/16th mile Risen Star Stakes. He will be challenged mainly by Mo Tom out of GMB Racing. Trained by Thomas Amoss, Mo Tom has 2-0-2 in four races during his juvenile season. He won the Street Sense and the Lecomte to earn stakes grade victories in 2015, but finished third in his opening allowance and again at the aforementioned Kentucky Jockey Club that Airoforce won.
Tom’s Ready, who finished as runner-up to Mo Tom at the Lecomte, is still in search of his first graded stakes win. He is one of the hopefuls to finish on the podium and there will be some interesting money coming in on him to at least show.
The dark horse in the Risen Star Stakes will undoubtedly be In Equality, who finished third at the recent Jerome Stakes behind Flexibility and Vorticity. This will be just his second graded stakes contest, but there’s definitely some intrigue here as well.
Still, most of the focus in this race is how much Airoforce dominates 13 horse field. You’ll have to tune in on February 20th to find out if Airoforce is really ready to challenge for the Triple Crown as he makes his 2016 debut at the Risen Star Stakes.