Tipsheet: 2024 Risen Star Stakes

February 14th, 2024

An outstanding field of 12 sophomores will travel 1 1/8 miles on the dirt at Fair Grounds in Saturday’s $400,000 Risen Star S. (G2). The top five finishers will earn qualifying points on a 50-25-15-10-5 basis in the 2024 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series event. 

Risen Star Stakes Picks

  • #4 Sierra Leone
  • #11 Track Phantom
  • #8 Catching Freedom
  • #5 Moonlight

Risen Star Stakes Wagers

Risen Star Stakes Contenders

#1 TIZZY INDY: Former maiden claimer draws inside in the big field coming off of a fifth-place result in the Lecomte S. (G3) on the oval. This Keith Desormeaux pupil looks to be a cut below the best in the cast and would be a big surprise. 

#2 AWESOME RUTA: Stakes-placed three-year-old was a decent third in an allowance sprint run on the course most recently, but the son of Mendelssohn will have to get a lot faster to challenge this cast for Joseph Foster. 

#3 HONOR MARIE: Talented Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) winner makes his seasonal debut in this one for Whit Beckman. The Honor Code colt has displayed a fine turn of foot in each of his trio of races to date, and he will be a contender with something close to his best on this occasion beneath regular pilot Rafael Bejarano. 

#4 SIERRA LEONE: Top pick flashed considerable potential from two runs as a juvenile, capped by a narrow setback in the Remsen S. (G2) in his 2023 finale. The $2.3 million yearling purchase has trained forwardly in anticipation of his seasonal debut, and the colt will also be equipped with blinkers for the initial time, as well. Tyler Gaffalione will pilot the stout late runner. 

#5 MOONLIGHT: $285,000 son of Audible was a solid second in the Street Sense S. (G3) two back, prior to running evenly in the Remsen S. (G2) in his juvenile finale. This Todd Pletcher charge is a very good prospect with a fine foundation under him, and I expect the Kentucky bred to be in the mix throughout at a fair price. Florent Geroux has the assignment. 

#6 REAL MEN VIOLIN: Jockey Club S. (G2) second progressed nicely as a two-year-old and will be an exotics threat if he continues to move forward. The chestnut colt owns a good turn of foot and will benefit if the pace is contested in the early going with Brian Hernandez taking the reins. 

#7 HALL OF FAME: Well-hyped colt drew off to a daylight maiden win in his second career outing and landed in a deep field for his stakes debut. This Steve Asmussen trainee, who brought $1.4 million as a yearling, gives the impression of a colt who will run this long with ease, and he has to be considered with Ricardo Santana, Jr. in the controls. 

#8 CATCHING FREEDOM: Smarty Jones S. victor has done little wrong to this stage of his development and looms large with improvement for Brad Cox. The Constitution colt is cut out to run all day and the $575,000 yearling purchase has worked well in advance of this engagement, too. Luis Saez inherits the mount. 

#9 CARDINALE: Pletcher pupil takes the blinkers off following a narrow setback in a Gulfstream Park allowance test last time out. Twice raced son of Speightstown has early foot and looks capable of staying a route of ground, and the Stonestreet color bearer also picks up Flavien Prat

#10 RESILIENCE: Into Mischief colt ran his best race last time when drawing off to a smart maiden win at Gulfstream for Bill Mott. This Kentucky bred is cut out to handle the move to nine furlongs easily, and he could be a late danger with expected improvement and John Velazquez in the stirrups. 

#11 TRACK PHANTOM: Streaking Asmussen trainee rides in with victories in three straight including a big win in the recent Lecomte S. (G3) on the surface. This Quality Road colt also bagged the Gun Runner S. locally two back, and he once again looks like controlling speed with Joel Rosario in the silks. The $500,000 yearling purchase will be formidable with his top showing. 

#12 BEE DANCER: Dark bay son of Bee Jersey was a fine maiden winner going six panels here on debut, but as much as I liked his victory, the colt draws widest of all and stretches out to 1 1/8 miles for Dallas Stewart. Others seem more likely in this demanding event.