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