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The 50-point Kentucky Derby Prep Races continue one race later with the second division of the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2). This year’s race split into two divisions, making for an epic late Daily Double at Fair Grounds on Saturday. A field of 12 will run in Division 2, which like its predecessor features several promising prospects. The second Risen Star will go off as race 13 on the card with a post time of 6:12 PM CT.
This division features the 3-year-old debut of Anneau d’Or, who is coming off of back-to-back narrow runner-up efforts in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) and the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2). The colt had been rumored to run in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate this weekend, but his connections opted for this spot instead. He’ll break from race 8 today, with Joel Rosario coming in for the mount.
The flashy Pasco Stakes winner Liam’s Lucky Charm shipped into town as well. After an up-and-down 2-year-old season, the son of Khozan looked like he had matured quite a bit in his Pasco romp, winning by 5 1/2 lengths. Jockey Edgard Zayas will retain the mount from post 5.
Another Florida shipper in the race is Ny Traffic, who won a tough allowance event last time out at Gulfstream Park. That was his first start for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr., who should be able to get a lot more out of him, so we’ll see if there is improvement. Ny Traffic drew the far outside post and attracted Javier Castellano to ride.
The full field from the rail out: Modernist, Truculent, Mr. Big News, Fame to Famous, Liam’s Lucky Charm, Excession, Major Fed, Anneau d’Or, Lynn’s Map, Finnick the Fierce, Mailman Money, and Ny Traffic.
#8 Anneau d’Or – Of the two Risen Stars, this is the most likely winner. He really stands out from a class standpoint and his speed figures are a bit better. He was close in both recent efforts, where he faced better horses that what he’ll see here. Look for him to find the winner’s circle as long as he handles the ship well.
#5 Liam’s Lucky Charm – He seems to be the race’s wild card. A runaway winner last time out in the Pasco led to a try here, but his 2-year-old form was inconsistent, so you wonder if that trend will continue this season. Also, he must move up in class here, making this even more questionable. Still, from a speed figure standpoint, that Pasco victory was pretty impressive.
#9 Lynn’s Map – Expect this colt to bounce back from a poor effort last time out in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park, where he basically never showed up with much of a run. He’s back at Fair Grounds where he picked up the most impressive win of his career, and Corey Lanerie also gets back aboard after riding him to a local allowance victory. We’ll give him a pass for that last effort and give him another shot.
#12 Ny Traffic – Joseph, Jr., has been on fire in South Florida and now takes his talents to Fair Grounds for a Kentucky Derby Prep Race. Ny Traffic took a tough allowance race in wire-to-wire fashion last time out, winning by over 5 lengths. The competition and pace dynamics will be a bit different here, but he drew into the division with the slower pace setup. That could help him pull the upset.
#10 Finnick the Fierce – This horse always makes a bit of a run but never actually gets up to win. He was a non-threatening fourth in the Lecomte last time out, and we expect that effort again here. He is a fringe on-the-board contender.
#3 Mr. Big News – His improvement each race makes him an interesting prospect. After needing three tries to break his maiden, he made his fourth effort a winning one, taking home a maiden special weight by a nose over this track. His breeding suggests that he’ll love this added distance, so he’s a playable longshot if his price is high enough.
#11 Mailman Money – He was sharp in two straight victories, earning himself a shot at better company, but the step up in class will be challenging and his pedigree is a little iffy at this distance. We’ll look for other longshots who offer a bit more appeal.
#6 Excession – It’s surprising to see him entered here after a tough seventh last time out in the Lecomte. He does seem to have a little bit of talent, but he just might not fit this this kind of competition.
#7 Major Fed – A nice maiden-breaking score over this track last time out earned him a shot here, but he must show some solid improvement in the speed figure department in order to have a chance.
#1 Modernist – Trainer Bill Mott ships this horse from Aqueduct, where he broke his maiden last time out after getting out to an unpressured lead. That made it easy for him on the front end, but that isn’t likely to happen again here.
#2 Truculent – A nice maiden win earned him a shot here, but he was a total no-show in his last stakes try, the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. That makes him questionable in this spot.
#4 Fame to Famous – After running decently on the turf, he’ll give dirt a try. His breeding suggests that the dirt should be ok, but he’ll have to improve on his turf numbers in order to compete.
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