The road to the Kentucky Derby gets down to business beginning Saturday.
The Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans is the site of the first 50-point race on the 2017 American Kentucky Derby trail. The $400,000, Grade 2 race for 3-year-olds has attracted a wide-spread field of 13 headed by 7-2 morning-line favorite Mo Town.
Mo Town, a son of Uncle Mo based in Florida this winter, won two of his three starts as a 2-year-old and is making his 3-year-old debut Saturday.
“He’s got a lot to prove,” trainer Tony Dutrow told the Daily Racing Form this week. “I’m not taking anything for granted. He’s not wound tight, but he is ready to run.”
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Mo Town, winner of the Grade 2 Remsen over a mile and an eighth at Aqueduct in his most recent outing Nov. 26, has already secured 10 points in the Derby points standings, good for 12th place. Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Risen Star is worth 50 to the winner, 20 for the runner-up, 10 for third place and five for fourth.
Top challengers to Mo Town include Neil Howard-trained Guest Suite (6-1), the winner of the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds, and Steve Asmussen’s Local Hero (4-1), who broke his maiden by a dominating 7 1/4 lengths at Fair Grounds on Jan. 26.
Risen Star Stakes
When: 6 p.m. EST Saturday
Where: Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans
Distance: 1 1/16 miles
Purse: $400,000 (Grade 2)
Derby points: 50-20-10-5
Risen Star field
U S Officer
It's Your Nickel
So Conflated (SCRATCHED)