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Barn Notes: Monday, January 19

 

IN TODAY'S NOTES: INTERNATIONAL STAR EXITS LECOMTE WELL, POSSIBLE FOR RISEN STAR; SHOOK UP AIMING FOR RACHEL ALEXANDRA; NOTTE D'ORO AND HUNG THE MOON LIKELY BAYOU-BOUND


INTERNATIONAL STAR EXITS LECOMTE WELL, POSSIBLE FOR RISEN STAR

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s International Star is reportedly in great shape after his victory in Saturday’s Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.  The son of Fusaichi Pegasus was his owners’ second consecutive victory in the Lecomte after Vicar’s in Trouble in 2014.  Both International Star and Vicar’s in Trouble are trained by Mike Maker, who confirmed that all was well and that the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes is under serious consideration. 

With his victory, International Star acquired his second graded stakes and his third win on as many surfaces.  A New York-bred, the bay colt won a turf sprint maiden on debut at Belmont Park last summer before finishing a game second in the Grade II $200,000 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga two races later.  Next out, the bay colt won the Grade III $150,000 Grey Stakes over Woodbine’s synthetic Polytrack surface. 

International Star’s only other dirt tries prior to the Lecomte resulted in distant second- and fourth-place finishes in stakes where he seemed to flatten out toward the end.  Such was not the case on Saturday when he powerfully overtook a competitive field of 11 and firmly placed himself on the Kentucky Derby trail.  An $85,000 Fasig-Tipton purchase, International Star has now earned $320,979.


SHOOK UP AIMING FOR RACHEL ALEXANDRA

Regis Racing’s regally bred Shook Up (below) – who lived up to her namesake when razing a maiden field by 13½ lengths at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Jan. 3 – is preparing for her stakes debut in the Grade III $175,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes on Feb. 21, according to trainer Steve Asmussen.  On Monday morning, the daughter of Tapit out of Grade I winner Sugar Shake worked five furlongs in 1:01.20.

Being so impressive and also an offspring of Tapit, Shook Up immediately drew comparisons to another daughter of 2014’s leading sire – champion Untapable – when she splashed home in the mud with absolute ease under Robby Albarado.  The victory came in her first attempt at two turns and second race overall after a game second in a seven-furlong maiden at Churchill Downs on Nov. 23.  The Fair Grounds victory earned her a 94 Beyer Speed Figure –  the highest of any sophomore filly in the country around two turns.  By comparison, I’m a Chatterbox’s runaway victory in Saturday’s Listed $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes at the same mile and 70-yard distance earned her a 93.


NOTTE D’ORO AND HUNG THE MOON LIKELY BAYOU-BOUND

Twin Creeks Racing Stable’s impressive Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes winner Notte d’Oro will look for an encore in five weeks, according to victorious conditioner Mike Stidham.  The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro produced a fierce stretch rally to overtake Lothenbach Stables’ defending champion Eden Prairie and defeat a field that included Grade I winner Kitten’s Dumplings. 

“She looked great (Sunday) morning,” Stidham said. “We’ve always had high hopes for her.  She’s certainly bred well.  Her brother Red Rifle has gone on to do good things, so she had the right credentials.  We’ll probably look at the ($60,000) Bayou (Handicap on Feb. 21) because it’s right here.  Then we’ll think about marathon races.  Based on what (Red Rifle) has done and her style, it makes me think she wants to go longer.”

Red Rifle, a half-brother to the lightly raced 4-year-old filly who is also owned by breeder Twin Creeks, recently won the Grade II $250,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup on the dirt at 1¼ miles.  Previous to that effort the son of Giant’s Causeway was victorious in the $100,000 Yankee Affair over 1½ grassy miles at Belmont Park in September and was second in the Grade III $100,000 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland going the same trip.

Stidham was also very pleased with the performance of Pin Oak Stable’s homebred Hung the Moon.  Making her first start on the grass, the daughter of Malibu Moon was also making her first start for Stidham after being transferred from the barn of Donnie K. Von Hemel.   She responded with a game third – beaten two lengths – under Miguel Mena at odds of 51-1. 

“We weren’t sure what to expect first time on the grass for an older horse,” Stidham said.  “She was really impressive, though.  We’ll probably look at the Bayou for her as well, but we’ll keep our options open.”

The Bayou is contested at the same 1 1/16-mile distance over the Stall-Wilson turf course as the Krantz Memorial.