Updated on 02/23/2012 2:42PM

Fair Grounds: El Padrino heads field of 11 for Risen Star

Barbara D. Livingston
El Padrino, impressive winner of an allowance at Gulfstream Park last month, drew post 8 as the probable favorite for this Saturday's Risen Star Stakes.

El Padrino, a powerful, impressive allowance winner at Gulfstream Park last month and one of the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby, drew post 8  in a field of 11 that was entered on Sunday for Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Risen Star Stakes, the highlight of a stakes-filled Louisiana Derby Preview card at Fair Grounds.

In addition to the Risen Star, the Saturday card also includes the Grade 3, $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes for 3-year-old fillies; the Grade 3, $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap for older dirt horses; the Grade 3, $125,000 Fair Grounds Handicap for older grass horses, as well as the Colonel Power Stakes for turf sprinters, and the Gentilly Stakes for 3-year-old Louisiana-breds.

Also, Nehro, the runner-up in last year’s Kentucky Derby, returns in an optional claiming race, marking his first start since finishing fourth in last year’s Belmont Stakes.

It is the Risen Star, though, that will command most the attention, because it is the richest and most important race on the card, and the last major prep for the April 1 Louisiana Derby. El Padrino is the likely favorite in the 1 1/16-mile race, but he will have to ship in from south Florida and take on local stalwarts Mr. Bowling, Z Dager, and Shared Property, the first three finishers, respectively, in last month’s Lecomte Stakes.

Larry Jones, who trains Mr. Bowling, also will be represented by Mark Valeski. Trainer Gennadi Dorochenko also has two runners, Adena’s Chance and Hero of Order.

The 1 1/16-mile Rachel Alexandra, a prep for the Fair Grounds Oaks, was to mark the return of the unbeaten Applauding, but the filly was scratched by trainer Al Stall Jr. after an unsatisfactory workout Monday morning. Applauding also was scratched from last month’s Silverbulletday Stakes after suffering from colic the morning of the race. Believe You Can, who won the Silverbulletday, drew the rail in a field which now numbers six.

Tres Borrachos is the 121-pound highweight in the Mineshaft, which drew another California invader, Gladding. The field of nine also includes Pants On Fire, last year’s Louisiana Derby winner, and Thiskyhasnolimit, who won last month’s Louisiana Handicap.

Smart Bid, who won the Mervin Muniz at Fair Grounds last year, is the 121-pound topweight in the Fair Grounds Handicap, which drew a field of 10, including Mr. Vegas, who has won three straight races at the meet. Smart Bid, trained by Graham Motion, has not raced since September.

Chamberlain Bridge, winner of the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, is the marquee name in the Colonel Power.

Recent Risen Star winners

Year Horse Beyer
2011 Mucho Macho Man 94
2010 Discreetly Mine 94
2009 Friesan Fire 97
2008 Pyro 90
2007 Notional 92

Average winning Beyer: 95.18