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The first 50-point Kentucky Derby Prep Race has arrived as the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) kicks off the second round of points races that basically serve as “Win and You’re In” for the Kentucky Derby. This year’s race was split into two divisions, making for an even better afternoon of racing in New Orleans. A field of 11 will run in Division 1 of the race and will go off as race 12 on this Saturday card with a post time of 5:38 PM CT.
Enforceable drew into the first division of this race after winning the Lecomte Stakes (G3) last time out over this track. The Mark Casse trainee had previously performed well in a couple of strong races as a 2-year-old, including a third-place effort in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland and a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs. He’ll break from post 8 with Julien Leparoux along for the ride.
The Lecomte runner-up Silver State also drew into this division. The Steve Asmussen trainee will be seeking a cleaner trip after getting into traffic trouble last time out, so his inside post position should allow him to save ground. Ricardo Santana, Jr., is aboard for the mount.
Mr. Monomoy continues the theme of entrants exiting the Lecomte. He was third in that race after setting a hot pace and making a mild run down the lane. The Brad Cox trainee will always have a lot of hype because of his superstar older sister, Monomoy Girl. He’ll break from post 9 with Florent Geroux once again taking the ride.
The full field from the rail out: Digital, Silver State, Ready to Roll, Perfect Revenge, Moon Over Miami, Shashashakemeup, Blackberry Wine, Enforceable, Mr. Monomoy, Farmington Road, and Scabbard.
#2 Silver State – This Steve Asmussen-trained colt ran well in his stakes debut last time out, finishing second in the Lecomte despite a rough trip. Here, the added distance and a nice inside post position could lead to a ground-saving journey. He is bred to go long and could show up with a big effort at the perfect time. Asmussen seems high on this horse, so we’ll give him one more chance to get the job done.
#8 Enforceable – There is no reason to think that the Lecomte winner won’t have another big chance to win here. He was solid as a 2-year-old, but he showed a new gear in his latest victory. He could be developing at the right time for trainer Mark Casse, who won last year’s event with War of Will. Look for him to get a perfect pace setup and be tough to hold off as they turn for home.
#7 Blackberry Wine – After an impressive allowance victory on the Lecomte undercard, this horse earned the right to give stakes company a shot. His pedigree suggests that he can run all day and gets added distance, but his toughest challenge could be the pace setup, which doesn’t look like it will favor horses on the front end. If he can navigate a stalking trip, then he will have a shot to get the job done.
#9 Mr. Monomoy – His Lecomte effort was solid enough to give it another go here. He may have distance limitations, though, which is why we didn’t put him higher. This hard trier is a decent underneath horse, but he still has much to prove.
#11 Scabbard – This grinder may always be around with a shot, but he never seems to quite get up in time to win. That trend will likely continue again here. He will always be a good underneath play, though, and he should run much better than he did last time out in the Lecomte.
#1 Digital – This colt looked like a winner last time out in an allowance event over this track, but he couldn’t finish. Instead, he was caught and passed by Blackberry Wine near the wire and had to settle for second. This longer distance probably isn’t going to help him, but trainer Bret Calhoun isn’t running him here just to have an entry. That tells me that he has an outside shot at making some noise here.
#10 Farmington Road – Anytime trainer Todd Pletcher starts shipping horses to Fair Grounds, you have to take notice. After two well-beaten defeats, he put it all together last time out at Gulfstream Park, winning a maiden special weight by 1 3/4 lengths. He still has to show some improvement, but Pletcher is showing confidence by running him in this spot. He’s worth a look at the right odds.
#3 Ready to Roll – A recent romp at Oaklawn Park against maiden special weight foes earned him the right to take a shot against stakes company. His speed figure didn’t come back that fast, though. He still has a lot of proving to do.
#5 Moon Over Miami – He was all the rage in a recent Gulfstream Park allowance event, but he ended up running a very average fifth. It is a good sign that trainer Bill Mott sent him here anyway. We’ll wait and see if he shows up with a better effort.
#6 Shashashakemeup – He has been disappointing since breaking his maiden on debut. His expectations were high, but he struggled in both starts against stakes company. Last time out, he looked to be in good position in the Lecomte but faded to sixth.
#4 Perfect Revenge – Look for him to be the longest shot on the board. He exits a couple of starter allowance events where he was beaten multiple lengths. He doesn’t fit with this group.
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