Possibles for Louisiana Derby Preview Day Continue to Take Shape
New Orleans, La (Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023) – On Saturday, February 18, “Louisiana Derby Preview Day” at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will feature a pair of key 3-year-old stakes — the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2), which was extended from 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles three years ago, and the $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes presented by Fasig-Tipton (G2), for fillies to be contested over 1 1/16 miles. The top five finishers earn 50-20-15-10-5 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively.
Nine of the last 26 winners of the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) also participated in the Rachel Alexandra, including Monomoy Girl (2018) and Serengeti Empress (2019) who recently bagged the double.
2019 – Serengeti Empress, won both
2018 – Monomoy Girl, won both
2015 – Lovely Maria, 2nd in the Rachel, won the Kentucky Oaks
2014 – Untapable, won both
2012 – Believe You Can, 4th in the Rachel, won the Kentucky Oaks
2008 – Proud Spell, 2nd in the Rachel, won the Kentucky Oaks
2005 – Summerly, won both
1999 – Silverbulletday won both
1997 – Blushing K.D., won both
Four stakes for older horses will also be presented on the February 18 program — the $250,000 Mineshaft Stakes (G3) presented by Relyne GI by Hagyard at 1 1/16 miles, the $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes (G3) at nine furlongs on turf, the $100,000 Colonel Power Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf and the $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
First post for the Saturday, Feb. 18 “Louisiana Derby Preview Day” card will be noon CT, and the races will be drawn one week earlier.
Trainer Brad Cox reports that Lecomte winner Instant Coffee, who is currently second behind Forte with 32 Kentucky Derby points, will bypass the Risen Star and likely await the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby on March 25.
Possibles for the Risen Star with trainer: Curly Jack (Tom Amoss), the Iroquois (G3) winner and runner-up in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2); Determinedly (Mark Casse), the third-place finisher in the Gun Runner and last-out local allowance winner; Jungfrau (Bill Mott), a recent maiden winner via DQ at Gulfstream; Single Ruler (Keith Desormeaux) a recent local maiden winner; Sun Thunder (Ken McPeek) who finished fourth in the Southwest (G3); Tapit’s Conquest (Brad Cox) who finished behind second to Determinedly on the “Road to the Derby Day” undercard; and Two Phil’s (Larry Rivelli), the runner-up in the Lecomte and Street Sense (G3) winner.
According to Fair Grounds racing secretary Scott Jones, Cox is likely to have another entrant or two in the Risen Star. Based on timing and the fact they are on the grounds, Champagne (G1) runner-up and recent Oaklawn allowance winner Verifying and the Victory Formation, the undefeated Smarty Jones victor, would appear to be the most likely.
Also according to Jones, trainer Steve Asmussen is likely to have at least one Risen Star participant, most likely from a group that includes Disarm, a maiden winner at second asking at Saratoga who has posted four local works; Echo Again, who pulled up in the Lecomte but posted a five furlong work on Feb. 2; and the graded stakes veteran Red Route One, who was last seen finishing second in the Southwest.
Trainer Brendan Walsh reports that Godolphin’s Banishing, an impressive Dec. 26 maiden winner who was scratched from the Jan. 21 allowance race following a minor setback the night before the race, is on target to return in a “Louisiana Derby Preview Day undercard race”. The son of Ghostzapper returned to the local worktab on Sunday, Feb. 5, logging five furlongs in 1:01.
Probables for the Rachel Alexandra (with trainer): Chop Chop (Cox), a stakes winner on turf and the runner-up in the Alcibiades (G1) and Silverbulletday on dirt; Hoosier Philly (Amoss), the undefeated winner of the Rags to Riches and Golden Rod (G2); Knockyoursocksoff (Chris Block), a grade 2 runner-up on both turf and dirt; and Vahva (Cherie DeVaux), who recovered to finish third as the favorite after a compromised start in the Untapable.
Possibles for the Mineshaft (with trainer): Big Blue Line (Paul McGee); Farmington Road (DeVaux); Forza Di Oro (Cox); Happy American (Neil Pessin); Hoist the Gold (Dallas Stewart); King Fury (McPeek); Mr. Wireless (Bret Calhoun); Pioneer of Medina (Todd Pletcher); Super Corinto (ARG) (Amador Merel Sanchez) and Tawny Port (Cox).