02/12/2011 1:05PM

Rogue Romance, Santiva will begin 3-year-old campaigns in Risen Star

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Rogue Romance wil ship in from Florida for Saturday's Risen Star at Fair Grounds.

Racing officials at Fair Grounds are expecting a terrific field for their next big race on the Triple Crown trail, the Risen Star Stakes, with two major hopefuls scheduled to ship in from south Florida to make their 3-year-old debuts in the Grade 2, $300,000 race.

Rogue Romance, third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and Santiva, winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, are among the six to eight known prospects for the Risen Star, which will be run Saturday, Feb. 19, at the New Orleans track.

KENTUCKY DERBY NEWS: Track all the 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail

Since getting a brief rest following the Breeders’ Cup, Rogue Romance has had six workouts at his winter base, Gulfstream Park. Trainer Ken McPeek said Saturday after Rogue Romance breezed five furlongs in 1:02 that he feels confident he has the Smarty Jones colt ready to go.

“He’s doing super,” said McPeek. “He’s a lot stronger at 3 than he was at 2.”

Santiva, trained by Eddie Kenneally, will enter the 1 1/16-mile Risen Star following a similar work schedule at the Palm Meadows training center in Florida. Two other Florida-based horses, Decisive Moment and Mucho Macho Man, are expected for the race.

Other Risen Star candidates, according to Fair Grounds stakes coordinator Scott Jones, include Machen, an easy winner of both career starts; Justin Phillip, the beaten favorite in the LeComte last month; Sorgho, a recent maiden winner at Sam Houston; and possibly Wilkinson, the Lecomte winner.
Neil Howard trains both Machen and Wilkinson. “The plan is still to definitely run Machen in the Risen Star, but we’re still not sure about Wilkinson,” said Howard. “That horse is still 60-40 to go in there.”

Howard said the Lecomte was “a hard race” and that Wilkinson has “already had three races here this winter, and we don’t want to ask him to do too much.”

The Risen Star is one of six stakes to be run Saturday on Louisiana Derby Preview Day at Fair Grounds. Entries will be drawn Monday.