Smile Happy, Slow Down Andy Among 10 Entered In Risen Star; 85 Kentucky Derby Points Up For Grabs – Horse Racing News

Slow Down Andy defeating Messier in the Los Alamitos Futurity

The stakes get a lot higher for connections of horses vying for Kentucky Derby points on Saturday at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, La., as a field of 10 is set to go postward in the Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star Stakes. The 1 1/8-mile Risen Star is the first race on the road to the Kentucky Derby offering a total of 85 qualifying points on a 50-20-10-5 basis to the first four finishers.

The Risen Star is the 13th and final race of the day on a stakes heavy card that also includes the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies that offers the same 85-points format for the Kentucky Oaks. Post time for the Risen Star is 6:58 pm Eastern.

Lucky Seven Stable’s Smile Happy and Reddam Racing LLC’s Slow Down Andy are the only graded stakes winners in the Risen Star field. Smile Happy won the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs in his last start on Nov. 27, defeating Classic Causeway, winner last Saturday of the G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Slow Down Andy won the G2 Los Alamitos Futurity last out on Dec. 11, defeating Messier, who came back on Feb. 6 at Santa Anita to win the G3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes by 15 lengths.

Smile Happy, a Runhappy colt trained by Kenny McPeek, closed at 8-1 in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager on Sunday, lowest individual price and second only to the “all others” category that was bet down to 2-1. Corey Lanerie will ride.

Slow Down Andy, a California-bred by Nyquist, is trained by Doug O’Neill, who saddled Nyquist for the second of O’Neill’s two Kentucky Derby victories. Slow Down Andy will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez, who handles most of the Reddam Racing runners.

Contention runs much deeper than those two.

Epicenter and Pappacap were the second- and third-place finishers, respectively, behind Call Me Midnight in the G3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds on Jan. 22, and both are returning in the Risen Star.

Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Epicenter, who won the Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds on Dec. 26 by 6 1/2 lengths, was beaten a head in the Lecomte after setting the pace. Pappacap, second twice behind 2-year-old champion Corniche in the G1 American Pharoah Stakes and G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, closed to be third in the Lecomte, beaten three-quarters of a length.

Joel Rosario rides Epicenter for trainer Steve Asmussen while Tyler Gaffalione gets the call from Mark Cassie aboard Pappacap.

Chad Brown has chosen the Risen Star for the 2022 debut of Jeff Drown’s Zandon, beaten a nose by Mo Donegal in the G2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct in New York on Dec. 4. The Upstart colt was coming off a maiden win at Belmont nearly two months earlier. Zandon, who has been training at Payson Park in Florida, will be ridden by Jose Ortiz.

Trainer Brad Cox has a pair of 3-year-olds sporting perfect 2-for-2 records in Tawny Port (Florent Geroux to ride) and Bodock (Marcelino Pedroza Jr.). Both are making their stakes debuts.

Todd Pletcher is sending Pioneer of Medina from his training base at Palm Beach Downs in Florida. Luis Saez has been named to ride Pioneer of Medina, who has two wins in a row, including a victory over the Fair Grounds surface in a Jan. 22 allowance race.

All starters carry 122 pounds.

Risen Star entries

Paulick Report Icon

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.