NEW ORLEANS, LA – Lecomte (G3) winner Enforceable and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) runner-up Anneau d’Or headline split divisions of Saturday’s Risen Star (G2) presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Each division will carry the original $400,000 purse and award full “Championship Series” Kentucky Derby (G1) qualifying points (50-20-10-5). For the first time in its history, the Risen Star will be contested over 1 1/8th miles.

“In a very competitive marketplace, we are thrilled by the level of the response to the Risen Star from horsemen nationwide and are proud to be able to split the race into two divisions,” said Fair Grounds’ senior director of racing Jason Boulet. “In addition to the solid group of three-year-olds we already have here on the grounds, horses are shipping in from all across the country to participate. With the purse money and the Kentucky Derby points being offered, there’s a lot on the line. Much credit to our racing office for putting this all together.”

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The first division of the Risen Star (race 12) will feature a field of 11, headlined by John C. Oxley’s Enforceable, who was last seen closing from far back to win the locally run Lecomte (G3) on January 18 for trainer Mark Casse.

“We’re very happy with the split of the race,” Casse’s assistant on the grounds David Carroll said after the draw. “It gives more horses and owners an opportunity to run and earn points for the (Kentucky) Derby.”

Following a third in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland in October, the son of Tapit followed up with a somewhat troubled fourth over a sloppy track in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs in November. Sent to post as the 6-1 fifth choice in Lecomte (G3), the first of three Kentucky Derby preps held in New Orleans, Enforceable sat behind an honest pace before closing late to win by 1 ½ lengths.

With 13 Kentucky Derby points already in the bank, Enforceable will break from post eight with jockey Julien Leparoux back aboard.

“We couldn’t be any happier with him,” Carroll said. “He’s a horse who trains himself. He loves going out in the mornings and doing his work. He does it very professionally every morning and well within himself. It was a nice and easy (half mile) breeze Saturday morning (49 3/5) and a nice gallop out. He has so much foundation that he doesn’t need a whole lot of training at this point.”

“There’s not shortcut to the Derby, it’s a long road to get there,” Carroll continued. “You have to earn your way in. We just want to keep Enforceable sound. We’re looking forward to the race and seeing where we stand.”

By luck of the draw, the second, third and fifth place finishers from the Lecomte are all in the first division of the Risen Star (with post position and jockey/trainer) – Winchell Thoroughbred and Willis Horton Racing’s Silver State (post two, Santana, Jr./Asmussen), Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, and Doheny Racing’s Mr. Monomoy (post nine, Geroux/Cox) and Joseph W. Sutton’s Scabbard (post 11, Rosario/Kenneally).  

After finishing one-two in a first-level allowance race which run in a faster time than the Lecomte on the “Road to Derby Kick Off” undercard, Calumet Farm’s Blackberry Wine (post seven, Beschizza/Sharp) and Tom R. Durant’s Digital (post one, Brian Hernandez, Jr./Calhoun) also land in the first division of the Risen Star.

The remainder of the first division of the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln (with post position and jockey/trainer): Allied Racing Stable LLC’s Ready to Roll (post three, G. Saez/Calhoun), Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch’s Perfect Revenge (post four, S. Bridgmohan/Joseph, Jr.), Summer Wind Equine’s Moon  Over Miami (post five, Junior Alvarado/Mott), Calumet Farm’s Shashashakemeup (post six, Graham/Desormeaux) and Robert V. LaPenta and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Farmington Road (post ten, Castellano/Pletcher).

The second division of the Risen Star (G2) presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln (race 13) will mark the sophomore debut of Peter Redekop B. C., Ltd’s California invader Anneau d’ Or.

With runner-up performances in both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) as a two-year-old, the son of Medaglia d’Oro already has already earned 12 Kentucky Derby points. A win or a second in the Risen Star would put him in a superior position moving forward.

“That was probably the number one factor in our decision to come to Fair Grounds,” trainer Blaine Wright explained. “The spacing between the Risen Star and the Santa Anita Derby (G1 on April 4) is really nice. It allows us to travel across the country, come back and still get six weeks in between races. Those are the two races we’ve targeted, and hopefully the horse and I keep doing what it takes to get us where we want to go.”

In a couple of firsts for Anneau d’Oro, Joel Rosario will ride and the colt will be equipped with blinkers from post eight of 12. 

“In my opinion, we were a head and a neck away from winning an Eclipse Award (as Champion Two-Year-Old),” Wright said. “We have to find a way to get past horses. Joel Rosario flew up (to Northern California) and worked him last week and got to know him. Hopefully the changes will work out to our advantage.”

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After edging Mr. Monomoy in a first-level allowance race over a sloppy Fair Grounds track in his two-turn debut in December, HRH Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud’s Lynn’s Map was rerouted to Oaklawn for the Smarty Jones Stakes after drawing post 14 in the Lecomte. He will remain at his home base for Saturday’s second division of the Risen Star for trainer Mark Casse.

“We’re throwing out that race at Oaklawn,” assistant trainer David Carroll said of the colt’s fifth place finish over a muddy track. “The track seemed to be very sticky that day and to me he never looked settled and comfortable. When Miguel (Mena, jockey) asked him to pick it up, Lynn’s Map sort of lost his action and never looked happy in that race.”

“He came out of the Southwest really well and has done everything we’ve asked of him since,” Carroll said. “Ideally we’d like to have another week or so with him between races but we don’t want to ship him out again. We think as long as he’s doing well, we will take a chance and let him show us what he can do.”

With Corey Lanerie aboard, Lynn’s Map is programmed in post position number nine.

Others certain to attract attention in the second division of the Risen Star are recent Pasco at Tampa Bay dominator Liam’s Lucky Charm from post five with Edgar Zayas up for Stonehedge LLC and trainer Ralph Nicks and the undefeated Mailman Money from post 11 with Gabriel Saez in saddle for Allied Racing Stable LLC and trainer Bret Calhoun.

The remainder of the second division of the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln (with post position and jockey/trainer): Mr. and Mrs. Martin J Wygod’s Modernist (post one, Junior Alvarado/Mott), Calumet Farm’s Truculent (post two, Carroll/Sisterson), Allied Racing Stable’s Mr. Big News (post three, Albarado/Calhoun), Kingdom Racing’s Fame to Famous (post four, C. Hernandez/Mc Allen), Calumet Farm’s Excession (post six, Santana, Jr./Asmussen), Lloyd Madison Farms IV LLC’s Major Fed (post seven, Leparoux/Foley), Arnaldo Monge and Rey Hernandez’s Finnick the Fierce (post ten, Leon/R. Hernandez) and Ny Traffic (post 12, Castellano/Joseph, Jr.).

The 2019 edition of the Risen Star (G2) proved to be a very key race. Five of the 14 participants went on to become Grade 1 winners, and two others won multiple Grade 3 events and were Grade 1 placed.

There are five other stakes on the 13-race “Louisiana Derby Preview Day” card, including the Rachel Alexandra (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton. Early first post will be at noon CT.