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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

Notes on a Loaded Risen Star 2024

This edition of the Risen Star Stakes is a loaded field of very high caliber Kentucky Derby Players in terms of their build in order to tackle the 10f. This, in turn, does not necessarily give them higher marks for this 9f contest.

What it will do is point out the ones who have greater speed within the real Derby players with 10f potential, and that is what makes this edition even more important than the usual Holy Bull Stakes.

Because this field is heavy with the Dirty Horse Club's previous 4 and 5 star ratings, (there are 6 of them!) personally, I would have a very hard time with a full blown analysis and narrowing down the top two players. Sometimes it pays to simply watch and use every detail of those race results for handicapping the 150th Derby. This is most likely what I will be doing, unless I break under pressure - from myself!

The only thing that could have made this race even harder is if Dornoch were entered as well. This race will end up being one of the main sources of insight for the Derby. Projecting the quality 9f features to the 10f will prove to be invaluable. To have so many of these extremely well-built 10f players compete together in February is nothing short of a gift wrapped with a bow for the Derby Handicapping.

Remember, it is not who wins or loses this race, nor is it about how many points each gather. It is mostly about how they performed against the eventual pace and how they distribute their energy along the 9f track. The race results chart will mean more than the outcome itself. These are some of the best 10f players of the crop.

Whoever wins this race will secure 50 points towards his gate and this will knock Fierceness off of his pedestal. It may very well turn out that those who gained under with 25, 15, 10 or even 5 additional points would be better suited for the 10f Derby after we break down all the figures. Winning this race does not override individual performances when it comes to the Triple Crown.


9f at Fairgrounds.


TIZZY INDY Take Charge Indy Desormeaux/Graham

DP = 3-5-8-0-0 (16) DI = 3.00   CD = 0.69 ANZ = 5.00

Mare Profile = 11-2-4-3-7   Speed = 13   Stamina = 10   Index = 1.33   Triads = 17-9-14

If he wins this race, he would be wasting 50 points because he has no shot in the Derby. No need to even waste time here.


AWESOME RUTA Mendelssohn Foster/Murrill

DP = 2-5-7-0-0 (14) DI = 3.00   CD = 0.64 ANZ = 3.57

Mare Profile = 9-5-2-7-6   Speed = 14   Stamina = 13   Index = 1.19   Triads = 16-14-15

Ditto with Tizzy Indy.


HONOR MARIE Honor Code Beckman/Bejarano

DP = 9-11-15-1-0 (36) DI = 3.24   CD = 0.78 ANZ = 3.71

Mare Profile = 4-3-6-4-9   Speed = 7   Stamina = 13   Index = 0.61   Triads = 13-13-19

5-star rated colt from his performance in the Ky Jockey Club back in November coupled with his killer configurations. Face value, the speed inheritance from the sires is terrific. The mares are a little off, but the huge 36 total points from those chefs rise to 40 when adding in the outside influences. That is something that truly stands out for the Kentucky Derby and not necessarily for the Risen Star. He is extremely pace dependent and runs exactly like his beautiful father Honor Code, but he has a packed profile like his grandsire, A.P. Indy. They move like the wind at these types of distances and because of the extreme points total in his profile, his optimum spreads across a broader range.

He is the type of runner who has great reliance on the speedy pacesetters and has a much greater shot of taking advantage of that at 10f as opposed to 9f, especially with this group. If he loses this race there is no need for despair. He is much better suited at 10f where he can capitalize off of failing speed. There are others here who can easily sustain their speed at the 9f mark. The only despair is that he still needs to secure points to get a gate. 9f is his best shot, so it is wise to take advantage now instead of the bitter end. On Saturday, he has major competition to conquer at this shorter distance though. Be that as it may, with no skin in the game, Honor Code's boy would be the greatest sentimental win here but would accept a board-hit just the same.


SIERRA LEONE Gun Runner Brown/Gaffalione

DP = 2-2-8-0-0 (12) DI = 2.00   CD = 0.50 ANZ = 2.50

Mare Profile = 5-3-5-6-8   Speed = 8   Stamina = 14   Index = 0.67   Triads = 13-14-19

Impressive Gun Runner Colt who showed prowess against Dornoch, arguably one of the biggest players for the Kentucky Derby. He also showed legitimate quality on both a clean and muddy surface so far. He's tackled two biases at the same track that he will be competing on again. So, no matter how that track is playing, he's covered. He'll be pitted against Honor Marie (and Catching Freedom), so it will be interesting to see which one takes the plunge and reacts first before that final turn. It will also come down to Gaffalione vs. Bejarano as well.

For a descendent of Candy Ride, he is far outrunning many of his half-brothers this early in the game. Out of several of the heavy hitters in this race, when it comes down to the Kentucky Derby though, he is not quite as aligned as they are. Regardless of any points he may bag on Saturday, the 9f Haskell Stakes would be a much easier spot for him over the Kentucky Derby. Because of this, the 9f Risen Star actually aligns for him quite well. He's got that whole "Cyberknife" thing going for him. If I crack, he'd be the one for the top of the ticket.


MOONLIGHT Audible Pletcher/Geroux

DP = 1-4-3-0-0 (8) DI = 4.33   CD = 0.75 ANZ = 2.43

Mare Profile = 5-5-10-8-4   Speed = 10   Stamina = 12   Index = 0.96   Triads = 20-23-22

Another 5-star rated horse from the DHC from back in Pool One. These numbers are colossal for not only the Risen Star but for the Kentucky Derby as well. The chef index and ANZ index alone show severe speed/stamina balance, going from 4.33 to 2.43. All of that extra stamina lumped on top of excessive speed. Complete dominance with the mares at the Classic/Professional distance with loaded triads. Be still my beating heart.

He is so telling with his past performances that he leans to his stamina side, putting in much better energy on the turf and AWS than on sloppy surfaces. It is not the upgraded distance that affected his late energy, it was the muddy surface that goes against his breeding. He is built like a powerhouse for the Kentucky Derby and should skies stay bright for both Saturday and in May, this guy could be a real player.


REAL MEN VIOLIN Mendelssohn McPeek/Hernandez

DP = 2-5-5-0-0 (12) DI = 3.80   CD = 0.75 ANZ = 4.60

Mare Profile = 11-7-1-5-7   Speed = 18   Stamina = 12   Index = 1.50   Triads = 19-13-13 (2nd gen Tapit)

Second generation Tapit boy with a 3.80 index who distributes his energy quite evenly and without hesitation on a variety of surfaces. Could easily upgrade with the additional 1/16th if he gets good positioning. Depending on how fast the Fairgrounds track ends up tomorrow will tell his fate. Some of his competitors are highly equipped to go the distance at a much faster pace - aided by the track doing some of the work.


HALL of FAME Gun Runner Asmussen/Santana

DP = 1-1-12-0-0 (14) DI = 1.33   CD = 0.21 ANZ = 2.14

Mare Profile = 4-5-6-9-3   Speed = 9   Stamina = 12   Index = 0.90   Triads = 15-20-18

Another Gun Runner colt with half decent Derby configurations falling into the stamina category. This race will be extremely telling for this particular colt. Should he at least put in some type of competition, be it just a board hit within the superfecta, his stock would rise. Stamina colts who have managed to win this race like Epicenter and his sire Gun Runner were at a great disadvantage in this race but exhibited killer speed to pull it off. That is the easy sign of a potential knock-out superstar. Against this particular group, even if he manages a minor board hit, it would put his configurations at a much higher level than others who would also fall into the stamina category for the May race.


CATCHING FREEDOM Constitution Cox/Saez

DP = 2-5-3-0-0 (10) DI = 5.67   CD = 0.90 ANZ = 5.67

Mare Profile = 5-5-7-6-5   Speed = 10   Stamina = 11   Index = 0.96   Triads = 17-18-18 (2nd gen Tapit)

Another 5-star rated horse from Pool One who is sporting a 5.67 index with Tapit. This is major - both for this race and for the Derby. He is not the fastest horse on the field, but what he has is the ability to sustain his speed at a higher clip than most of the others. Even and balanced with his pace, regardless of how slow or fast the others may go. He is greatly reliant on the lead tier for final beyers, but he obviously does not care what they are doing up front. When the button is pushed, he acts. He will be a part of the rear calvary with Honor Marie and Sierra Leone. On the surface, his figures do not rise to their level, however, he didn't need to kick it up that fast in the Smarty Jones. His numbers are saying he has the capability to do it though.

The 9f is easily there if he moves a bit faster or he could just be downright lazy. He must show speed in this race against this group, at least 1st through 3rd or his rating will drop down to a 4. The main reason why we need to be very hard on this guy when it comes to his speed side is because even with that beautiful 5.67 index, he only has 10 points total in his profile. Tapit's fierce stamina may be overtaking his speed. To this point, he really didn't need to show it except in the OC race and he failed to produce. We'll see how he reacts to the Fairgrounds track. It is make it or break time with this particular guy.


CARDINALE Speightstown Pletcher/Prat

DP = 7-13-9-1-0 (30) DI = 4.45   CD = 0.87 ANZ = 5.18

Mare Profile = 7-4-4-5-8   Speed = 11   Stamina = 13   Index = 0.88   Triads = 15-13-17

Hefty profile jumps from 30 points up to 34 points with the 5.18 ANZ figure. Highly lackluster in speed on the Gulfstream track and that does not coincide with his configurations, especially on that bias. Even if he happened to pull something off - actually, anything off - in this race, he really has nothing for the Derby. At 9f, if he remembers what he has flowing inside of him, he could move on this track but the points he gains from it would be a throw-away.


RESILIENCE Into Mischief Mott/Velazquez

DP = 5-5-8-0-0 (18) DI = 3.50   CD = 0.83 ANZ = 4.00

Mare Profile = 2-12-4-13-2   Speed = 14   Stamina = 15   Index = 0.95   Triads = 18-29-19

A 5-star rated colt from Pool Three who has, arguably, the best set of Derby configurations from this crop seen to date. Complete and total dominance at the Classic Distance which puts his optimum at one to two furlongs longer than this prep race. This is not his ideal distance, but that's okay. Besides Honor Marie and Moonlight, this is the guy whose performance is acutely important. He will be stepping up from his maiden win into the big leagues on Saturday. The additional distance should be a huge turning point in his favor as he gets closer to his real preference. The class part is another story.

Out of the entire group, Resilience would get a pass should he not make it to the top 3 finishers. His outward speed going from a maiden to this Grade 2 race with his configurations should be judged on his actual progression and not where he lands on the board. If this maiden winner manages to pull off a win, (or even 2nd or 3rd for that matter) well, he then overtakes Dornoch as the biggest potential 10f player with a gate in the Kentucky Derby. These configurations are spectacular. My eyes will be directly on him from start to finish. I have a lot of faith in this horse that he can compete in this Graded race with the best of them.


TRACK PHANTOM Quality Road Asmussen/Rosario

DP = 1-2-5-0-0 (8) DI = 2.20   CD = 0.50 ANZ = 2.20

Mare Profile = 7-6-6-7-6   Speed = 13   Stamina = 13   Index = 1.04   Triads = 19-19-19

Four stars from Pool One with a caveat - he would rise to 5 stars if he pulls off a win on a faster bias against real competition. So, here we are. We need to see how that chef line reacts to a faster track and this would either put him in that "Two Phil's league" or it would drop him down to 3 stars if he can't muster up whatever speed his mares have given him at this distance. I have a very strong feeling that the task will not be that difficult based on his class alone, but if the pace quickens very early, he's going to have huge company at the top of the stretch who are full of run.

Again, this will be a very huge test to see how far he can sustain a faster pace with legitimate closers at 9f. His mares give him even balance across the spectrum and if he decides to break into that energy too strong too early, he's in trouble late. If he can pull that off, he gets his 5th star and jumps into "Two Phil's" territory. I find it difficult to have blind faith in that though. A win would do it, but for this particular guy, a board hit would not mean the same as it does for some of the others. Not with a 2.20 index. Highly depends on the final call figures if he doesn't take the trophy.


BEE DANCER Bee Jersey Stewart/Lanerie

DP = 1-3-8-0-0 (12) DI = 2.00   CD = 0.42 ANZ = 3.44

Mare Profile = 7-5-0-7-11   Speed = 12   Stamina = 18   Index = 0.66   Triads = 12-12-18

I'm not too sure what to make of this guy and not understanding the reasoning for the placement here. But then again, it's Dallas Stewart, so I'm not even going to try. There is no shot in the Derby for this horse at all.



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