Fair Grounds Saturday: Risen Star Kentucky Derby Prep Preview

Smile Happy favored at the Fair Grounds

The Risen Star always feels like the official beginning of the Derby trail. Saturday’s final race from the Fair Grounds is the first 50 point Derby prep race.

Risen Star Analysis

Fair Grounds Race 13

Post: 5:58 PM CT; Purse: $400,000 Risen Star S. presented by Lamarque Ford, 1 1/8 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 10

Smile Happy is the favorite in the Risen Star.

While many people will likely be heavily invested in Smile Happy breaking from the 8 post. I will look for upsetters here.

  • #1 PAPPACAP (4-1) is my top selections and has the class and pace numbers to be the best in this spot. The rail draw also is advantageous at the Fair Grounds.
  • #10 SLOW DOWN ANDY (9-2) has speed figures up there with the top of this group and should be bred for the longer distance. The main concern is the outside post.
  • #7 ZANDON (9-2) will be ridden by Jose Ortiz for Chad Brown. It is hard to argue with that duo.
  • #5 EPICENTER (4-1) took a lot of early buzz on the Derby trail and then steam cooled as people started sinking their claws into other impressive runs. I like this one to remind the public why he’s here.

Selections: 1-10-7-5

For a full breakdown of how the Risen Star and other preps have done at producing Kentucky Derby champions, check out our article from earlier this week.

Saturday Undercard Analysis

Fair Grounds Race 1

Post: 12:00 PM CT; Purse: $55,000 Maiden Special Weight, 6 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 10

  • #2 CANDY'S PRIDE (5-1) holds edges in speed and class. Couple the experience with the breeding on this runner and the price seems like a gift. If this one ends up taking some steam on the board, I’ll be all in.
  • #8 PINEAPPLE ALLEY (4-1) has hit the board at this distance already in the young career.
  • #5 ISN'T IT TIME (6-1) rates out similar in class to the top pick, but hasn’t run as fast.
  • #1 CANADA'S CUSTOMS (5-2) will be forward and goes out for a top barn.

Selections: 2-8-5-1

Fair Grounds Race 2

Post: 12:30 PM CT; Purse: $55,000 Maiden Special Weight, 6 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 9

  • #9 RATHER BE LUCKY (3-1) is the experienced runner you want in this spot.
  • #4 ROYAL FLOWER (4.5-1) has solid numbers and will be getting the first try at the races. The morning line suggests this one has a bit of promise.
  • #7 CARNELIAN (10-1) could be dangerous based on the connections
  • #1 LADY ARSINOE (10-1) has experience in a field that is 50/50. She wouldn’t be a total shock, but needs a jump forward here.

Selections: 9-4-7-1

Fair Grounds Race 3

Post: 1:00 PM CT; Purse: $55,000 Maiden Special Weight, About 1 1/16 Miles on Turf; Entries: 10

  • #7 MORE THAN WORK (5-2) looks tough to beat in this spot on paper. The problem with maiden races is that the numbers can at times be unreliable.
  • #10 ALMANZO (4-1) is a better price and classes up well with the #7. This one will need to work out a trip.
  • #1 FREEDOM'S WAY (8-1) has the top speed figures on the group and may get the advantage of a ground saving trip.
  • #5 MAZUMA (3-1) must be included based on the pedigree.

Selections: 7-10-1-5

Fair Grounds Race 4

Post: 1:29 PM CT; Purse: $55,000 Maiden Special Weight, 6 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 10

  • #10 MOMENTOUS (6-1) is a total pedigree play in a field that lacks a lot of clarity
  • #5 VINTAGE VINYL (5-1) has proven to be capable of hitting the board at this distance.
  • #9 MARSALIS (7-2) is a short price on the morning line which suggests potential. Watch the board for confirmation of backside buzz.
  • #1 MAJOR CONTENDER (9-2) goes out for connections that are always dangerous.

Selections: 10-5-9-1

Fair Grounds Race 5

Post: 1:58 PM CT; Purse: $55,000 Allowance, About 1 Mile on Turf; Entries: 12

  • #3 COURAGEOUSLY (6-1) appears to be good value in this spot. Without any world beaters in the field I will often rely on horses that offer the best perceived value.
  • #11 BLUE LOU BOYLE (7-2) looks to be the class of the field which is my default angle in turf routes.
  • #10 PRAIRIE (12-1) could get the right pace setup and trip is such an important aspect of turf racing.
  • #1 WING COMMANDER (12-1) has the top speed figures and you will be well compensated for the risk if you’re right.

Selections: 3-11-10-1

Fair Grounds Race 6

Post: 2:27 PM CT; Purse: $55,000 Maiden Special Weight, 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 10

  • #4 MAASAI WARRIOR (7-2) has the top speed figures among the wealth of experience in this maiden field.
  • #9 KING OTTOMAN (5-1) and #6 SCOTLAND YARD (5-1) are interesting firsters in this field and both look to have a decent shot. My preference is the #9 of these two.
  • #5 VINCO (9-2) has run well against some of the best company in this field.

Selections: 4-9-6-5

Fair Grounds Race 7

Post: 2:56 PM CT; Purse: $100,000 Colonel Power S., About 5 1/2 Furlongs on Turf; Entries: 8

  • #2 JUST MIGHT (7-5) will be forward in this race and has the top speed figures in the group.
  • #4 GRAY ATTEMPT (8-1) could take advantage of a good race flow.
  • #1 COWAN (4-1) has a good record at the distance and should get the benefit of the inside trip.
  • #7 STRIKE ME DOWN (15-1) has the top stamina rating in the group.

Selections: 2-4-1-7

Fair Grounds Race 8

Post: 3:25 PM CT; Purse: $55,000 Allowance Optional Claiming, 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 10

  • #6 CYBERKNIFE (7-2) will be forward and has the fastest numbers of the bunch
  • #4 PEACEFUL WATERS (9-2) is a proven bet at the 8 1/2 furlongs and should at least be around late.
  • #5 KUPUNA (5-1) is another that seems to relish this distance.
  • #9 GUNFIGHTER (9-2) looks like a reasonable player in this spot.

Selections: 6-4-5-9

Fair Grounds Race 9

Post: 3:55 PM CT; Purse: $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial S., About 1 1/16 Miles on Turf; Entries: 10

  • #1 PASS THE PLATE (3-1) is in really good form right now and looks a major player.
  • #7 DAWN'S DANCER (8-1) should get a decent pace setup here and doesn’t have as many negatives as some of the others here.
  • #6 ADELAIDE MISS (8-1) is another who is middling in a lot of handicapping factors, but collectively looks a little interesting.
  • #3 ABSCOND (7-2) has speed and class figures that could be really good here.

Selections: 1-7-6-3

Fair Grounds Race 10

Post: 4:25 PM CT; Purse: $250,000 Mineshaft S., 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 11

  • #7 MIDCOURT (8-1) has the speed and class to get the job done here.
  • #5 MILES D (7-2) goes out for solid connections.
  • #4 OLYMPIAD (3-1) is proven as a solid board hitter at the 8 1/2 furlong distance.
  • #10 UNTREATED (9-2) comes into the race in great form. This one is one that has to be considered.

Selections: 7-5-4-10

Fair Grounds Race 11

Post: 4:56 PM CT; Purse: $150,000 Fair Grounds S., About 1 1/8 Miles on Turf; Entries: 11

Two Emmys is favored in race 11 from the Fair Grounds
Two Emmys (inside) gets up for the win.
  • #11 TWO EMMYS (3-1) has the top speed figures in the group and has been a really solid runner in recent starts.
  • #10 LARGENT (7-2) has beaten fields that have come back pretty solid. This one has a big shot.
  • #2 FORTY UNDER (8-1) should be in contention to hit the board at the wire.
  • #7 HALO AGAIN (6-1) will look to get the right race flow to get the job done here.

Selections: 11-10-2-7

Fair Grounds Race 12

Post: 5:27 PM CT; Purse: $300,000 Rachel Alexandra S. presented by Fasig-Tipton, 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 11

  • #4 DREAM LITH (6-1) has the stamina to carry this distance.
  • #9 AWAKE AT MIDNYTE (7-2) is a speed and class play in this spot.
  • #5 DIVINE HUNTRESS (6-1) is not a super likely winner, but should be on most vertical tickets.
  • #1 LA CRETE (8-1) comes into the race in really good form and could outrun the odds here.

Selections: 4-9-5-1

Fair Grounds Race 13- Risen Star Stakes

Post: 5:58 PM CT; Purse: $400,000 Risen Star S. presented by Lamarque Ford, 1 1/8 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 10

  • Risen Star Stakes analysis provided above.

Selections: 10-1-7-5

By Chris Adams

Chris first got introduced to horse racing in 2009 at Canterbury Park (Shakopee, MN). Along with handicapping and betting, Chris has worked as a teller at his local track and participated in ownership partnerships. He now enjoys sharing his passion with his wife and two young daughters who love going out to the track each and every summer.