By Tom Quigley
$400,000 Risen Star (G2) Division 1 at Fair Grounds
Race 12 (Saturday, February 15, 2020: 6:38 p.m./ET: 3:38 p.m./PT)
Mile and an eighth on the main track (three-year-olds)
A large field of three-year-olds entered to compete in the Risen Star (G2) on entry day. In fact, the race oversubscribed with a whopping 23 entrants, and the Fair Grounds racing department decided to split the race into divisions. The first division features the top three finishers of the Lecomte (G3), a Kentucky Derby (G1) points race held in January at the Fair Grounds, and a number of other new shooters ship in from Oaklawn, Gulfstream Park and Aqueduct to tackle the locals. Let’s discuss each entrant and try to find the winner:
#1 DIGITAL makes his stakes debut after a runner up finish behind #7 BLACKBERRY WINE in a January 18 allowance race over this track. He has never gone off at odds of higher than 7/5 and makes his second start going a route of ground. Bret Calhoun conditions and he is having a terrific Fair Grounds winter meet, striking at a 26%-win clip.
#2 SILVER STATE sat off the pace before rallying for second in the Lecomte (G3) last month. It’s worth noting his trip in the Lecomte (G3) was far from ideal, as he stumbled at the break and was wide on both turns. He’ll need to turn the tables on #8 ENFORCEABLE, who won the race by a length-and-a-half. Top conditioner Steve Asmussen teams up with his go-to jockey Ricardo Santana Jr.
#3 READY TO ROLL tries winners for the first time after a seven-and-a-half length maiden romp in the slop at Oaklawn Park three weeks ago. Interestingly, this will be his first start over a projected fast-track. Second Calhoun entrant will go off at a higher price than stablemate #1 DIGITAL.
#4 PERFECT REVENGE was no match for the winners in a pair of optional starter allowance races in his last two starts at Gulfstream Park. His speed figures indicate he needs to run a lot faster to win this race and he does not possess the class many other rivals have. Longshot.
#5 MOON OVER MIAMI raced around two turns for the first time in a January 11 Gulfstream allowance race. That day, he was parked six and seven wide on both turns and finished well behind #12 NY TRAFFIC, a legit player in the second division of The Riser Star (G2). Being so wide on both turns, he had excuses for his lackluster fifth place finish. Note he went off favored that day and his two back one-turn mile maiden win over #10 FARMINGTON ROAD was impressive. He faces even tougher competition than what he saw at Gulfstream, but is a possible rebound play.
#6 SHASHASHAKEMEUP went off at 12/1 in the Lecomte (G3), dueled on the lead while setting brisk fractions and faded down the lane, finishing in sixth, behind #2 SILVER STATE, #8 ENFORCEABLE and #9 MR. MONOMOY. He’ll need to improve to win in this tougher spot.
#7 BLACKBERRY WINE ran last month and defeated #1 DIGITAL while earning a high Beyer Speed Figure (94) in the process. His best races have come when he sets an easy lead. Today, he’ll likely face pace pressure while having to fend off some tough customers late that competed in the Lecomte (G3). We’ll find out here whether he is a Kentucky Derby (G1) possibility or pretender.
#8 ENFORCEABLE flew from the back of the field to win the Lecomte (G3) and returns in search of more valuable Kentucky Derby (G1) points. He is bred to be a good one as his his Grade 2 winning dam has produced three other quality colts (full brothers MOHAYMEN and KINGLY, and half-brother NEW YEARS DAY). Mark Casse trains and Julien Leparoux retains the mount.
#9 MR. MONOMOY is a sibling to 2018 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner MONOMOY GIRL. After a dominating maiden win sprinting, he finished second in a Fair Grounds allowance and, most recently, completed the trifecta in the Lecomte (G3). He had no excuses in his last start and will need to improve to win. Always wise to take a second look at any equine Brad Cox trains.
#10 FARMINGTON ROAD broke his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs at 1/5 last time out and makes his career debut against winners for trainer Todd Pletcher. Two starts ago, he was no match for #5 MOON OVER MIAMI in an Aqueduct maiden affair. Javier Castellano flies in to ride.
#11 SCABBARD must overcome a poor post position. Went off favored in the Lecomte (G3) and was beaten by seven lengths. His only career win came when he broke his maiden as a two-year-old at Churchill Downs in June, so he hasn’t won in a while, but he was impressive while finishing second in the Iroquois (G3) last fall behind the well-regarded DENNIS’ MOMENT.
1. #2 SILVER STATE - Better than looked effort in the Lecomte (G3).
2. #1 DIGITAL - Possesses raw talent and can improve.
3. #8 ENFORCEABLE - Well-bred colt is talented.
LONGSHOT VALUE PLAY - #5 MOON OVER MIAMI – Legit excuse in his last start.
I’ll make a straight win bet on my top choice and box all four selections in exactas.
BANKROLL PLAY ($50 Budget)
$26 Win: #2 SILVER STATE
$2 Exacta Box: #1 DIGITAL and #2 SILVER STATE and #5 MOON OVER MIAMI and #8 ENFORCEABLE ($24).
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