Eleven three-year-old Kentucky Derby hopeful will vie in the feature on Saturday at Fair Grounds, the $300,000 Risen Star S. (G2). The Todd Pletcher-trained El Padrino was a super impressive allowance winner at Gulfstream Park most recently and will likely go off favored in this spot. The chestnut son of Pulpit has never run a bad one and moves up with a wet surface, as he’s been awesome on the off track. Javier Castellano comes along to ride.
The top three finishers from the Lecomte S. (G3); Mr. Bowling, Z Dager and Shared Account, will also return in this spot. Grade 1-placed Optimizer, smart recent allowance victor Afford, three-time stakes hero Ted’s Folly, sharp allowance sprint hero Mark Valeski and the interesting Tizanexpense, are the top draws in this competitive field.
Talented Grade 1-placed Smart Bid looms as the one to beat in the grassy, $125,000 Fair Grounds H. (G3) for trainer Graham Motion. The dark bay son of Smart Strike is a Grade 2 winner in lone run on this lawn and should get a clean trip breaking from the outside.
His main challengers include the top pair from the Colonel Bradley S. (G3), Mr. Vegas and Dubious Miss, as well as Grade 3 turf winner Gleam of Hope.
Nine will go postward in the $125,000 Mineshaft H. (G3). A very nice field of handicap runners is signed on for this test, with Grade 2 winner Gladding one to watch. The John Sadler charge will ship in from the West Coast and has the early speed to be in the mix from the opening bell in this despite the outside post.
Fellow California invader Tres Borrachos has never been better and is an obvious contender today for conditioner Marty Jones. The son of Ecton Park owns three straight graded placings against top foes. Ack Ack H. (G3) star Mister Marti Gras, Louisiana H. hero Thiskyhasnolimit, recent Hal’s Hope H. (G3) third Cool Blue Red Hot and 2011 Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Pants on Fire add to the depth of this race.
The $300,000 Rachel Alexandra S. will pit a few of exciting three-year-old fillies in the untested Applauding from the barn of Al Stall, the unbeaten Table Three Ten for Graham Motion and the top two from the recent Silverbulletday S. – Believe You Can and Summer Applause.
The $75,000 Colonel Power S. and the $75,000 Gentilly S. cap off the action on this fantastic Saturday card.