Fair Grounds Risen Star Stakes

The major three-year-old stakes race this Saturday for those on the Kentucky Derby trail is the Grade 2 Risen Star. ; The $300,000 race drew a field of eleven with two coupled entries. ;The probable favorite eight and one-half furlong race is the Brereton C Jones-owned entry of Mr. Bowling and Mark Valeski. ; Both colts are coming off of wins, but the majority will be focused on Mr. Bowling, who is coming off a head win in the Grade 3 LeComte, which is the local prep for the Risen Star.Mr. Bowling, second on the BetAmerica Kentucky Derby Top 15, will again face rivals Z Dager, Shared Property, Hero of Order, Ted's Folly and Adena's Chance, who all ran in the LeComte. ; Ted's Folly and Adena's Chance appear to be overmatched based on their ninth and tenth place finish so let's take a look at the others. ;Z Dager was a length and a half back at the stretch call, made an inside run and finished a head behind Mr. Bowling with another half length to Shared Property, who made a wide run to get into contention entering the stretch, but could not sustain his bid.Based on the margins and the running lines one may say that Z Dager would appreciated the little bit of added distance, but the race replay suggests otherwise.Z Dager was behind horses entering the stretch then was able to find room late and wad making a menacing run at the leader. ; Mr. Bowling; however, was having none of it and was able to keep his opponent at bay even through the gallop out. ; Shared Property had the worst trip of the top three, but again drew an outside post.In addition to Mark Valeski, the runners in the Risen Star that did not come out of the LeComte are Afford, Optimizer, El Padrino and Tizanexpense.El Padrino could very well go off favored in the Risen Star off his smashing allowance win over Take Charge Indy at Gulfstream Park late last month. ; Take Charge Indy is a top prospect, who was coming off a fifth place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile in November.

The one concern with the Todd Pletcher-trained colt by Pulpit is the allowance win was over a good, sealed Gulfstream Park track. ; The ability has always been there, but his two wins have come over an off-track. ; As it stands right now El Padrino is tenth on the BetAmerica Kentucky Derby Top 15.Optimizer has yet to deliver on promises from his trainer and has a lot of improvement to do to hit the board on Saturday. ; Afford and Tizanexpense are the bookends in the Risen Star and both come out of allowance wins at Fair Grounds. ; Tizanexpense is stuck in post eleven, but his come home time in his last race was an excellent 29 and one-fifth second. ; For comparison Mr. Bowling shed his final fractions in 30 and two-fifths. ; Tizanexpense could hit the board at a nice price if able to negotiate a good trip.The Saturday card at Fair Grounds is an excellent one with four graded stakes races and six stakes overall. ; The Risen Star is scheduled as race 11 with a post time of 5:55 ET.