The Risen Star Stakes leads off the Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series races Saturday at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. The Kentucky Derby points system was implemented in 2013, and the 1 1/8 mile Grade II Risen Star awards 50 points to the winner and all but assures a spot in the 2021 Kentucky Derby. The top-4 finishers earn qualifying points (50-20-10-5) to the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby May 1 at Churchill Downs.
Named after the 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner, the Risen Star winner has never gone on to win the Kentucky Derby. But the 2020 Risen Star was split into two divisions and produced four runners into the rescheduled 2020 Kentucky Derby. That included fifth place finisher Mr. Big News, who went on to rally and finish third as a huge longshot in the Kentucky Derby. The 2020 Risen Star also saw the distance lengthened to 1 1/8 miles, which was a popular move for trainers and is another reason for the full fields.
Billed as ‘Louisiana Derby Preview Day’, the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes headlines six stakes races on a big card at the Fair Grounds Saturday, Feb. 13. It also includes the $300,000 Rachel Alexandra for 3-year-old fillies who earn Championship Series qualifying points to the 2021 Kentucky Oaks.
Risen Star Stakes field and betting odds
Here are 2021 Risen Star Stakes odds.
|1||Starininmydreams||12-1 (BET HERE)||Brian Hernandez, Jr.||Dallas Stewart|
|2||Proxy||8-1||John Velazquez||Michael Stidham|
|3||Beep Beep||20-1||Miguel Mina||Norm Casse|
|4||Carillo||15-1||James Graham||Tom Amoss|
|5||Senor Buscador||6-1||Luis Quinonez||Todd Fincher|
|6||Midnight Bourbon||6-1||Joe Talamo||Steve Asmussen|
|7||O Besos||12-1||Martin Pedroza||Greg Foley|
|8||Sermononthemount||50-1||Declan Carroll||Tim Dixon|
|9||Defeater||12-1 (Scratched)||Diego Saenz||Tom Amoss|
|10||Santa Cruiser||15-1||Kent Desormeaux||Adam Beschizza|
|11||Mandaloun||9-2||Florent Geroux||Brad Cox|
|12||Keepinmymind||3-1 (Scratched)||David Cohen||Robertino Diodoro|
|13||Rightandjust||15-1||Mitchell Murrill||Shane Wilson|
2021 Risen Star race information
- Date: Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021
- Time: 7:18 p.m. ET (Race 13)
- TV: FOX Sports 2 and TVG
- Track & Location: Fair Grounds in New Orleans, La
- Distance: 1 1/8 miles (9 furlongs)
- Surface: Dirt
- Horses: 3-Year-Old Thoroughbreds
- Twitter: @fairgroundsnola
2021 Risen Star horses to watch
Risen Star favorite Keepinmymind has been scratched by his trainer Robertino Diodoro. He’ll run next Saturday in the $750,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Also, Tom Amoss has elected to opt-out Defeater for a Saturday Allowance race. That leaves the field at 11 runners, including the top-4 finishers from the Jan. 16 Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds. The top 3 finishers in that 1 1/16 mile race were close at the wire with Midnight Bourbon going gate-to-wire in front as the 9/2 second choice and winning by a length over pace presser Proxy. The 4/5 race favorite Mandaloun was another head behind in third place with Santa Cruiser a very distant fourth.
Mandaloun is a son of Into Mischief, who sired 2020 Kentucky Derby winner and 2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Authentic. Mandaloun was the 4/5 favorite in the Lecomte Stakes Jan. 16 at Fair Grounds and finished third, about a length behind Midnight Bourbon – going around two turns for the first time. That was also the first stakes race for Mandaloun, who won his first two races and posted his best Equibase Speed Figure in the Lecomte (97). Trainer Brad Cox has been working his prized runner with blinkers, and says that should help Mandaloun focus – especially late after he “ran wide” in the Lecomte. Madaloun has two exceptional morning workouts over the local track the last two weeks and he’ll wear blinkers in the Risen Star.
A son of 2-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, Midnight Bourbon won the Jan. 16 Lecomte Stakes with a career-best 99 Equibase Speed Figure. He’s finished in-the-money in all five career starts, including his last three graded stakes races. There is more speed in this race, and Midnight Bourbon does not need the lead but can press the pace and continue his move forward. Trainer Steve Asmussen has won the Risen Star twice including in 2016 with Gun Runner. Asmussen says this added distance fits Midnight Bourbon well, and is “right in his wheelhouse.”
Senor Buscador is a son of four-time Grade I winner Mineshaft, and a grandson of A.P. Indy, who won the Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic. Senor Buscador is a deep closer and 2-for-2 after winning the two-turn Springboard Mile by nearly 6-lengths in December after trailing the 10-horse field at the half mile marker. His 107 Equibase Speed Figure in that race is by far the best in the Risen Star field. But note that he used Lasix in that race, and the medication is not used by horses in the Risen Star. With plenty of speed in the race, Senor Buscador could be ramping up and rolling late again in his graded stakes debut.
Proxy is a son of Tapit, who won the Wood Memorial and ran in the 2004 Kentucky Derby. Proxy has two wins and two runner-up finishes in four starts, including a close second in his stakes debut in the Jan. 16 Lecomte over this track. He won his first two races wire-to-wire, and will get first chance to go to the lead, breaking along the inside in the Risen Star. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez rides Proxy for the first time, and trainer Michael Stidham likes Proxy’s progression to move forward at a distance while indicating his young colt “is still figuring it out both mentally and physically.”
O Besos won his last two sprint races by margin at the Fair Grounds and now stretches out for his stakes debut in his fourth start. He’s improved his speed rating in each race while starting slow, including when making up several lengths in his debut at Churchill Downs to finish sixth last November. O Besos now steps up in class and tries two turns for the first time. But trainer Greg Foley is confident with his colt moving forward and handling the distance. O Besos is a son of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner, Orb.
Carillo is a wild card in the Risen Star with just one race to his credit when winning last month in his 3-year-old debut. He’s sired by Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, and was a $850,000 purchase. Jockey James Graham pulled the greatest upset in the 2013 Risen Star aboard Ive Struck a Nerve (135/1).
Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series races
- Feb. 13: Risen Star * – Fair Grounds
- Feb. 27: Fountain of Youth * – Gulfstream Park
- March 6: Gotham Stakes * – Aqueduct
- March 6: Tampa Bay Derby * – Tampa Bay Downs
- March 6: San Felipe * – Santa Anita Park
- March 13: Rebel Stakes * – Oaklawn Park
- March 20: Louisiana Derby ** – Fair Grounds
- March 27: Jeff Ruby Stakes ** – Turfway Park
- March 27: Florida Derby ** – Gulfstream Park
- March 27: UAE Derby ** – Meydan Race Course
- March 30: Sunland Derby * – Sunland Park
- April 3: Blue Grass ** – Keeneland
- April 3: Santa Anita Derby ** – Santa Anita Park
- April 3: Wood Memorial ** – Aqueduct
- April 10: Arkansas Derby ** – Oaklawn Park
*85 points race and 50 points to the winner
**170 points race and 100 points to the winner