Ron the Greek, Drosselmeyer Head 12 Entered for Saturday's Grade II Risen Star
Jack Hammer’s Ron the Greek, hero of Fair Grounds’ Grade III Lecomte Stakes Jan. 23, and WinStar Farm’s Drosselmeyer, a rapidly emerging sophomore who won his first start of the year in impressive fashion at Gulfstream Park Jan. 31, may vie for favoritism when they head a field of 12 named to Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds.
Ron the Greek has been installed as the lukewarm 3-1 choice in Saturday’s final major local tune-up for the Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27, while Drosselmeyer has been tabbed at 4-1.
The Risen Star heads a 13-race Louisiana Derby Preview Day program with six stakes, including four of which are graded, with an early first post of 12:10 p.m. CST. A special all-stakes Pick Four will be offered on Races 7-10, with the first race of the that sequence, the Pan Zareta Stakes, set for 3:13 p.m. CST. The Risen Star, carded as Race 10, will go off at 4:43 p.m. CST.
Trained by Tom Amoss, the only conditioner to win a Fair Grounds training championship nine different seasons, Ron the Greek won the first two starts of his four-race career before finishing fourth in the $200,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park Dec. 13 while closing strongly in the late stages. The son of Full Mandate then returned to his Fair Grounds home base to rally boldly in the mile-and-40-yard Lecomte, improving from eighth to first by a length-and-a-half in the final furlong. Fair Grounds’ current leading rider James Graham returns in the irons astride Ron the Greek, who breezed a bullet three-quarters in 1:13 at Fair Grounds Feb.10.
Drosselmeyer, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, made his first two starts on grass last year without reaching the winner’s circle, missed by a head in his third over Keeneland’s Polytrack last October 24, and then broke his maiden by six lengths Nov. 18 at Churchill in a race scheduled for the Louisville lawn but transferred to the main track. The Distorted Humor colt then made it two in a row at Gulfstream at last asking in non-winners-of-one-other-than company, but won by a length-and-three-quarters with authority. Kent Desormeaux is named to handle the reins Saturday aboard Drosselmeyer, who breezed a half-mile Sunday in :50 at Payson Park in South Florida.
E. Paul Robsham’s Discreetly Mine, trained by Todd Pletcher, is the 5-1 third choice in the Risen Star morning line. The son of Mineshaft broke his maiden easily last Aug. 22 at Saratoga, finished second in Belmont’s Grade II Futurity last Sept. 19 and was once again runner-up in Belmont’s Grade I Champagne Oct. 10. He finished fourth in his lone 2010 start in Gulfstream’s $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes Jan. 9, but worked a half-mile handily in 48.80 at Palm Meadows in South Florida on Sunday. Javier Castellano comes in from South Florida to ride Discreetly Mine.
Completing the Risen Star lineup with riding assignments and morning line odds is Letsgetitonmon, Shaun Bridgmohan (8-1); Stay Put, Jamie Theriot (8-1); Tempted to Tapit, David Cohen (8-1); Worldly, Pat Valenzuela (10-1); Northern Giant, John Jacinto (12-1); Hotep, Robby Albarado (12-1); Mountain Justice, Shane Sellers (20-1); Bravo Whiskey, Curt Bourque (30-1); and Random Move, Miguel Mena (30-1).