Friesan Fire Rules Saturday's Risen Star Stakes
NEW ORLEANS, La. (February 7, 2009) - Vinery Stable and Fox Hill Farms' Friesan Fire overtook Flying Pegasus inside the eighth pole and captured the $200,000 Grade III Risen Star Stakes Saturday at Fair Grounds.
Friesan Fire, who also captured last month's Grade III Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds, became the first horse since Fly Cry in 1994 to capture both major preps for the Grade II Louisiana Derby on March 14.
The 3-year-old son of A. P. Indy raced between rivals until entering the lane, angled out to get the lead from Flying Pegasus and drew off steadily to win by two lengths.
"He's getting better each time he runs," said trainer Larry Jones. "We had some questions with him that had to be answered and he did that today. Hopefully, it will be smooth sailing from now on. We still haven't gotten to the bottom of this horse but we're going to shoot for the Louisiana Derby next month now."
Friesan Fire, as the slight second choice in the wagering, paid $7.60, $4.60 and $3.40, increased his career earnings to $143,265 with his third victory from six lifetime starts, and toured the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:45.11.
"I had horses on both sides of me," said winning rider Gabriel Saez. "When it opened up, I ran past both those horses and kept the pressure on."
Flying Pegasus, making his first start since September, continued willingly to finish second, returning $8.80 and $6.20. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to Uno Mas, who paid $7.20 to show.
"(Flying Pegasus) ran a huge race," said six-time Fair Grounds leading rider Robby Albarado, who was aboard the runner-up. "The winner has been over the track a couple of times already."
Favored Giant Oak finished a troubled fifth after lacking running room much of the way. It Happened Again, also trained by Jones, set early fractions of 23.34 and 47.61 before tiring to 10th position.
The Risen Star rounded out an all-stakes Pick 6 that went unclaimed, despite all six winners going off at odds of 9-2 or less. The Pick 6 carryover is $26,354 for Sunday's 10-race program, which begins at 12:30 p.m. CST.
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation's third-oldest Thoroughbred racing facility, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and nine off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. Fair Grounds' 137th Thoroughbred season will run from Nov. 14, 2008, through March 29, 2009, and its inaugural Quarter Horse meet was conducted from Aug. 20-24, 2008. Information about Fair Grounds can be found on the Internet at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.