Scully: Betting the Fair Grounds All-Stakes Pick 5 on Risen Star Day

February 16th, 2024

A pair of dynamite prep races for the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Oaks (G1), the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) and $300,000 Rachel Alexandra (G2), highlight the guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 5 at Fair Grounds Saturday.

Both races are top-heavy with talent and offer 50 points to the respective winner as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks series.

Utilizing a $50 budget, I will assemble an All-Stakes Pick 5 ticket. Here are my thoughts.

50-cent All-Stakes Pick 5 ticket (Races 10-14): 1,3,7,8,13 with 3,8 with 2,3,4,9,10 with 4,5 with 11 ($50)

Race 10 – Albert M. Stall Memorial S.

A competitive group of turf distaffers will square off and I’ll fade the slight morning line favorite, Spirit and Glory, who will make her first start since August. #3 Creative Cairo (7-2) and #13 Join the Dance (8-1) appear more than capable, and #1 Watch This Birdie (8-1), #7 Fancy Martini (8-1), and #8 Not So Close (6-1) will be included.

Race 11 – Mineshaft (G3)

#3 Best Actor (3-1) looks poised for a strong showing on the front end in his seasonal return. If the speed comes back to the field, #8 Happy American (8-1) is the late runner I want.

Race 12 – Fair Grounds (G3)

#4 Rising Empire (12-1) broke poorly and didn’t receive the best trip when third in the Colonel Bradley; I’ll look for a better showing off the troubled trip. And #2 Chasing the Crown (8-1), #3 Strong Quality (3-1), #9 Harlan Estate (12-1), and #10 Beatbox (7-2) will be added to the ticket.

Race 13 – Rachel Alexandra (G2)

A dynamite field of seven fillies will compete for Kentucky Oaks qualifying points. #5 Alpine Princess (7-2) displayed improved speed when romping in a Churchill Downs allowance in late November, and she made all the pace when scoring a two-length decision in the Untapable S. a month later. I like her progress for Brad Cox, and Alpine Princess looks like the controlling speed in the 1 1/16-mile Rachel Alexandra.

I will also use #4 Intricate (3-1), who makes her first appearance since a 5 1/4-length romp in the Golden Rod (G2) in late November. She’s very promising for Brendan Walsh. 

Race 14 – Risen Star (G2)

The Risen Star has produced a top-three finisher in the Kentucky Derby the last five years, including the runner-up and third-placer the last two years. Since 2019, the Risen Star has produced a pair of Kentucky Derby winners, two seconds, and a trio of thirds; it’s been the most productive prep race over the time span and the 2024 edition promises to have an impact upon the first leg of the Triple Crown. 

Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) winner Honor Marie and Remsen (G2) nose second Sierra Leone will both make their anticipated three-year-old debuts. Smarty Jones hero Catching Freedom merits respect for Brad Cox, and Steve Asmussen will send out Hall of Fame, who romped by 10 lengths when stretching to two turns last out. Kentucky Jockey Club runner-up Real Men Violin and last-out maiden scorers Resilience and Bee Dancer add further depth.

I will take a stand with #11 Track Phantom (7-2), who has improved in a pair of starts since breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs in late November, recording a frontrunning wins in the Lecomte (G3) and Gun Runner S. at Fair Grounds. His tactical speed, stakes experience, and fitness provide an edge over many challengers, and I see no reason why Track Phantom won’t keep progressing in the Risen Star for Asmussen.