Vicar's in Trouble, the runaway winner of the G3-Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds on January 18th, drew the far outside post position of #14 to lead a full field (with two Alternate Entries) in Saturday's Grade 2 Risen Start Stakes (post time: 6:25 pm Eastern; TV: HRTV). The Risen Star is the feature race on a Fair Grounds card scheduled to run the G3-Mineshaft, G3-Fair Grounds Handicap, G3-Rachel Alexandra, and the ungraded Bayou Handicap. Overall, the Fair Grounds will offer 13 races beginning with the first race at 1:30 pm Eastern time.
When we last saw Vicar's in Trouble, he was making just his third lifetime start in the Lecomte after blowing a way a field of Louisian-bred maiden in mid-December. His victory in the Lecomte was impressive visually but came up a bit soft if you really like to look at the figures. However, the pace in the Lecomte was quite soft through the first four and six furlongs (47+ and 1:13); with Vicar's in Trouble content to sit just off the pace, it was unlikely he would produce a fast final time given the tepid running in the early stages. I won't get too caught up in low figs but I also wouldn't want to take him at too low of a price until I have a better grasp at the strength or weakness of that Lecomte field.
Joining Vicar's in Trouble in the Risen Star are:
Albano: A well-beaten second in the Lecomte after winning the local Sugar Bowl Stakes on December 21st.
Rise Up: Winner of the G3-Delta Jackpot in his most resent start. He was sixth in the G3-Iroquois at Churchill Downs last September, a race where Tapiture finihsed 3rd.
Flat Gone: Broke his maiden in his most recent start and the seventh of his career. He'll get a major class test in this race on Saturday.
Vigorish: He's a maiden; 6-0-2-0 lifetime.
Bond Holder: Won the G1-Front Runner at Santa Anita back in late September and followed that up with a decent 4th in the BC Juvenile. He closed out the year with a dud in the G1-CashCall Futurity.
Gold Hawk: Third in the Lecomte as the crowd choice after he was a handful loading into the gate. He needs to step up his performance level in this spot if he is to have any chance at a victory.
Interchange: Scored a couple of wins at Delaware Park last summer/fall before taking the rest of the year off and shipping down to the Big Easy. His return to the races was one to forget as he finished last of five in an OC50k/N1X event won by one of today's rivals, Quick Indian.
Hoppertunity: Just two lifetime starts to his name, this Bob Baffert colt broke his maiden by three lengths last time out at Santa Anita.
Intense Holiday: Broke his maiden at Monmouth way back on August 31st and has since been blanked in four straight graded stakes races. He was fifth in the Champagne, fourth in the Nashua and Remsen, and third in the Holy Bull - so at least he wasn't embarrassing himself against top competition.
Son of a Preacher: Another contender with just a maiden win to his name; Son of a Preacher broke his maiden at Churchill in late October and finished fourth in his most recent start, the ungraded Smarty Jones at Oaklawn.
Quick Indian: Broke his maiden against OC50k/N1X allowance company at the Fair Grounds in late January and loves to come from well back in the stretch drive.
Xtra Luck: Another single race winner, Xtra Luck finished third in the aforementioned Fair Grounds allowance race on January 24th.
Commanding Curve: Broke his maiden in his fourth try back on November 30th at Churchill and then took the rest of the winter off for trainer Dallas Stewart. He's chosen a tough spot to make his 2014 debut.
Emmett Park (Alternate Entry): Two-for-two in his career with both wins coming at a mile over the Turfway Polytrack, and both races saw him come from pretty far back to score the victory. He's worked well over the Fair Grounds course in recent days so perhaps a move to the dirt is what he's looking for.
Teniente Coronel (Alternate Entry): Broke his maiden in his most recent start when going a mile and a sixteenth in an off-the-turf maiden race at the Fair Grounds.
Below are the entries and post positions for Saturday's Risen Star Stakes. Morning line odds will be added when released.
|1||Albano||K. Clark||L. Jones||12/1|
|2||Rise Up||G. Melancon||T. Amoss||4/1|
|3||Flat Gone||C. Landeros||J. Desormeaux||30/1|
|4||Vigorish||M. Pedroza||D.W. Lukas||50/1|
|6||Gold Hawk||C. Nakatani||S. Asmussen||8/1|
|7||Interchange||E.T. Baird||T. Clark||30/1|
|8||Hoppertunity||M. Garcia||B. Baffert||8/1|
|9||Intense Holliday||M. Smith||T. Pletcher||8/1|
|10||Son of a Preacher||M. Mena||B. Calhoun||20/1|
|11||Quick Indian||B. Hernandez, Jr.||M. Scherer||20/1|
|12||Xtra Luck||R. Eramia||D. Pish||50/1|
|13||Commanding Curve||R. Albarado||D. Stewart||20/1|
|14||Vicar's in Trouble||R. Napravnik||M. Maker||5/2
|15||Emmett Park||J. Graham||R. Pincins||20/1