Tips and Analysis for the Risen Star at the Fair Grounds

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Tips and Analysis for the Risen Star at the Fair Grounds
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The road to the Kentucky Derby stops in the Big Easy this weekend in a race that may not be easy to win or handicap.

Several promising Derby contenders from different parts of the country are among the field of 10 entered in the Grade 2 event for 3-year-olds at Fair Grounds Race Course. The Risen Star is the first of the 2022 Kentucky Derby prep races to offer 50 points to the winner. That’s enough points to earn a place in the Churchill Downs starting gate on the first Saturday in May.

The $400,000 Risen Star offers 85 Derby points overall to the top four finishers (50-20-10-5). It’s the second of three Derby preps at the historic New Orleans track. The first was the Lecomte Stakes in January and the richest is the $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 26. Lecomte winner Call Me Midnight is skipping the Risen Star and scheduled to run next in the Louisiana Derby.

Last year’s Risen Star was won by Mandaloun, who went on to finish second in the still-disputed Kentucky Derby.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby

This race is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series. Forty-eight races comprise the series, and points are awarded to the top four finishers. More points are available in the most important graded stakes races leading up to the Kentucky Derby on May 7.

This series began on Sept. 18 with the Iroquois for 2-year-old thoroughbreds at Churchill Downs. It will conclude with the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 16, three weeks before the Run for the Roses.

The winner of this week's race is awarded 50 points, the runner-up gets four, the third horse earns two points and the fourth-place finisher gets a single point.

The field is limited to 20 horses, and we will be covering the series race by race. We will update the 2022 Kentucky Derby odds on an ongoing basis, so you should bookmark this page.

Current 2022 Kentucky Derby Qualifier Standings

Rank HorsePoints Earnings
1 Classic Causeway 16 $246,100
2 Pappacap 14 $558,000
3 Epicenter 14 $100,000
4 White Abarrio 12 $186,850
5 Mo Donegal 12 $161,500
6 Rattle N Roll10 $300,000
7 Jack Christopher 10 $275,000
8 Make It Big 10 $240,000
9 Smile Happy 10 $234,410
10 Slow Down Andy 10 $180,000
11 Major General 10 $177,525
12 Dash Attack 10 $172,500
13 Early Voting 10 $137,500
14 Call Me Midnight 10 $123,500
15 Courvoisier 10 $83,750
16 Barber Road 8 $239,700
17 Commandperformance 6 $200,000
18 Mackinnon 5 $296,000
19 Giant Game 4 $182,500
20 Simplification 4 $140,070

Risen Star Stakes Distance, Purse, Date

2022 Race Date: Saturday, Feb. 19

Track: Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, New Orleans

Inaugural Race: 1973

Distance: 1 1/18 miles

Surface: Dirt

Status: Grade 2

Purse: $400,000

2021 winner: Mandaloun

Risen Star Field with Opening Lines and Odds

Position HorseTrainer RiderOdds
1 Pappacap Mark Casse Tyler Gaffalione4-1
2 Russian Tank Gennadi Dorochenko Jose L. Vega50-1
3 Trafalgar Al Stall Jr.Colby Hernandez10-1
4 Tawny Port Brad H. Cox Florent Geroux12-1
5 Epicenter Steve AsmussenJoel Rosario4-1
6 Pioneer of Medina Todd A. PletcherLuis Saez10-1
7 Zandon Chad C. BrownJose L. Ortiz9-2
8 Smile Happy Kenneth G. McPeekCorey J. Lanerie7-2
9 Bodock Brad H. CoxMarcelino Pedroza10-1
10 Slow Down Andy Doug F. O'NeillMario Gutierrez9-2

Picks and Analysis for 2022 Risen Star Stakes

A strong case can be made for half of the 10-horse field, which appears to be the toughest 2022 Derby prep race so far. Our selections:

Slow Down Andy ships across the country from California, where he upset highly-regarded Messier last time out. Stalking style should keep him close to the early pace and may benefit from the added distance. California-based trainer Doug O’Neill won the Louisiana Derby last year with Hot Rod Charlie.

Smile Happy is the deserving morning-line favorite. Unbeaten in two career starts, including the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs, a key race in which runner-up Classic Causeway and third-place finisher White Abarrio both came back earlier this month to win Kentucky Derby prep races in Florida. Smile Happy has not run since that win on Nov. 27, making it difficult to accept a short price.

Epicenter is the controlling speed in the race. The Steve Asmussen-trained colt was pressured on the lead in the Lecomte, put away all challengers, then nailed in the final strides on a racing surface that generally favored closers. Dangerous if he handles the added half-furlong of the Risen Star.

Pappacap was beaten less than a length in the Lecomte and has five in-the-money finishes in six career races. … Zandon had two solid races in New York last year and is the only horse in the field who has already raced this far. … Bodock is an unbeaten long shot and takes a big step up in class for a high-percentage trainer.

Final Recap

The Risen Star Stakes in New Orleans is another pivotal race in what already is an exciting 2022 sprint to the Triple Crown.

Since you are interested in the sport of kings, you should check out our horse race betting page. It contains a lot of great information, and we will be tightly focused on the Road Kentucky Derby every step of the way, so you should come back to visit us.

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Chet Fussman

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