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Jockey Mike Smith celebrates after winning the Risen Star Stakes with Intense Holiday

2014 Louisiana Derby Preview Day

Date: 02/22/2014

Fair Grounds Race Course hosted 5 stakes races on Saturday afternoon for Louisiana Derby Preview Day, including one of the major Triple Crown prep races: the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2), the major local prep for the Louisiana Derby and worth 50 points as part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series. A full field of 14 went to post in this 1 1/16 mile main track feature, with Lecomte Stakes (G3) winner Vicar's In Trouble sent off as the 5-2 favorite over 4-1 second choice Hoppertunity, off his Santa Anita maiden win. Rise Up, winner of the Delta Jackpot (G3) was the 9-2 third choice. Conditions were excellent, with overcast skies and temperatures in the mid 60's at the historic New Orleans oval.

The battle down the stretch with Intense Holiday outside and Albano inside

14-1 Albano set the pace of 24.30, 48.14, and 1:13.00 over the fast track while pressed by Rise Up and 116-1 longest shot Vigorish. Turning for home, Albano stubbornly continued to lead, getting the mile in 1:37.42 as Rise Up and Vigorish tired badly and dropped out of contention. 5-1 fourth choice Intense Holiday, 7th early under jockey Mike Smith, came out 5 wide into the stretch and closed with a rush to win by a nose in 1:43.86. It was a long 5 1/2 lengths back to favorite Vicar's In Trouble third.

Pgm  Horse               Jockey         Win   Place  Show
 9   Intense Holiday     Smith        12.00    6.00  4.00
 1   Albano              Clark                12.20  6.80
14   Vicar's in Trouble  Napravnik                   3.40

Winning Time:  1:43.86

$2 Exacta 9-1               148.00
$2 Trifecta 9-1-14          513.40
$2 Superfecta 9-1-14-8    2,755.40
Results Chart

Left: Intense Holiday in the winner's circle. Winning owner Jack Wolf (Starlight Stable) said, "We had this long final run here, that's the difference. I was at a bad angle and I didn't think we had (won it), but I'm glad I'm wrong. He was one of the best horses he wanted to buy (at 2012 Keeneland September) and one of the last horses we bought, so blame it all on Frankie Brothers."

Right: Intense Holiday warms up before the race. Jockey Mike Smith said, "Well, in the very beginning he kind of slipped leaving there which turned out to be a good thing.  It kind of scared him and he got up on the bridle which I wanted him to be but he was a bit too keen early.  So when I finally talked him out of it he just completely let go and I was like 'uh no, not that much.' I asked him again and he jumped back on it again and I had to talk him out it or he would let go too much.  There was a lot of room to improve there and a lot of room to grow.  What I really liked at the end was galloping out, after I stopped him, you can tell when a 3-year-old has had enough. He took one breath and came back so we did not get to the bottom of him."

Left: Second place finisher Albano in the paddock. Jockey Kerwin Clark said, "I thought I was home at the 1/16. He was still running. I looked over inside the 1/8 pole and didn't see anyone coming. I can't believe that horse came and got us, to be honest, because my horse never stopped one bit. It was disappointing, but it's what I wanted to see from him – improvement that sets us up for the big one." Trainer Larry Jones added, "Running second, getting beat a nose in this race is a family tradition. We knew we had to go from the gate. That part went to plan."

Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Vicar's in Trouble in the post parade. Jockey Rosie Napravnik said, "It was a wide trip. He ran well, but it's tough to circle a field that big."

The horses break from the gate for the Risen Star. Martin Garcia aboard Hoppertunity (8 horse, finished fourth) said, "Good trip, they just went so slow. He doesn’t have that kind of speed, and in that race, it was wherever you started was where you finished."

The distaff counterpart to the Risen Star is the $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G3) (formerly called the Silverbulletday) for 3-year-old fillies also going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Hollywood Starlet (G1) winner Streaming was sent off as the 3-2 favorite in the field of 7 off her second place finish in the Las Virgines (G1) at Santa Anita. In to challenge her included 5-2 second choice Ria Antonia, winner (by disqualification) of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), and 7-2 third choice Got Lucky, a maiden winner last out after winning the Demoiselle (G2) at Aqueduct. Streaming and 85-1 longest shot Army battled for the early lead through fractions of 24.01, 47.91, and 1:37.07 before fading out of contention. 9-2 fourth choice Untapable, who was 5th early, came out to circle the field and quickly opened up a 6 1/2 length lead at the 1/8 pole, and continued to pull away, finishing up 9 1/2 lengths in front of late-running Got Lucky in 1:43.64. It was just a neck back to 12-1 Shanon Nicole third.

Results Chart

Left: Untapable in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Steve Asmussen said, "The filly, she acted extremely well today.  You know, Rosie worked her in the morning.  We think she is better than she was last year and I think she showed that today. There were two Grade I winners in that race and we had a lot of respect for the field."

Right: Untapable in the post parade. Jockey Rosie Napravnik said, "I had lots of confidence in her. Steve has done an excellent job with her, and I'm thankful they put me back on her. It was a wide trip which just goes to show you how much the best she was."

Right: Second place finisher Got Lucky in the post parade. Jockey Mike Smith said, "I wish I would have broke a little better. There was no making it up without going way wide or making an early move, and I wasn't trying to do either. Good finish, though."

Left: Third place finisher Shanon Nicole in the post parade. Jockey Robby Albarado said, "I had a great trip – a good, inside trip. I had to wait a little bit longer than I wanted to, but there was no beating the winner anyway. She was very impressive."

Last place finisher and beaten favorite Streaming heads out of the paddock. The 3-2 choice contested the early pace under jockey Martin Garcia but tired badly to finish last beaten 19 1/2 lengths. The Bob Baffert trainee has a record of 2 wins, 1 second, and 0 thirds in 4 starts, earning $349,000 for owners-breeders Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings and Edward McGhee.

A field of 9 older horses contested the $150,000 Mineshaft Handicap (G3) over 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Prayer for Relief, third in the Louisiana Handicap last out, was sent off as the 2-1 favorite over 9-2 Grand Contender and 11-2 Micromanage. Jockey James Graham sent Grand Contender to the lead through fractions of 24.08, 48.31, and 1:12.31 while stalked by 11-1 Ground Transport and 6-1 Bradester. At the top of the lane, Bradester moved up to take over the lead through 1 mile in 1:37.14, and pulled away to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Grand Contender in 1:43.80. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to 5-1 fourth choice Fordubai third.

Results Chart

Left: Bradester in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Rosie Napravnik said, "Sat in a great position, he wanted to wait. I had to urge him along a bit, but he's classy horse."

Right: Second place finisher Grand Contender in the post parade. Jockey James Graham said, "He ran good."

A field of 7 older horses went to post for the $150,000 Fair Grounds Handicap (G3) at about 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Daddy Nose Best, winner of the Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap (G3) was the 6-5 favorite over 9-5 Gentlemen's Kitten and 9-2 Unitarian. Gentlemen's Kitten and 15-1 Skyring battled for the early lead through fractions of 24.28, 48.70, and 1:12.04 over the good turf while stalked by 38-1 Slip and Drive. Entering the lane, Skyring opened up by 1 1/2 lengths through a mile in 1:37.94, but 14-1 Potomac River, 6th early, closed with a rush late despite jockey Juan Vargas losing his whip, to win by a nose in 1:50.52. It was another length back to favorite Daddy Nose Best third.

Results Chart

Left: Potomac River in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Jose Camejo said, "It's amazing. I can't describe my first stakes win because it's too emotional.  It feels good. Last race he was not ready.  He shipped from Kentucky and it was not good for him and he was not 100%.  We gave him the race and we fixed a couple of things and it was a 100% different race."

Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Daddy Nose Best in the post parade. Jockey Rosie Napravnik said, "Had a decent trip. The field was really spread out, but this guy is an old class horse and he just always runs his race."

Kicking off the stakes action on Saturday, a field of 9 older fillies and mares contested the $60,000 Bayou Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Jockey Rosie Napravnik sent 2-1 favorite Eden Prairie to the lead through fractions of 24.01, 48.10, and 1:12.21 over the good course, while stalked by 10-1 Masquerade. Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan asked 3-1 third choice Class Included for run at the 1/4 pole, taking over the lead at the 1/8 pole, and drawing away to a 1 1/2 length win over Eden Prairie in 1:43.46. It was another 3/4 length back to 5-2 second choice Starstruck third.

Results Chart

Winning jockey Shaun Bridgmohan said, "I wanted to set myself up in a striking position and I followed (Eden Prairie) the whole way and I took my horse out at the top of the stretch after I did and man, she kicked in real nice."

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