Runners in next Saturday’s $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) and $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) put in their final moves on Sunday in advance of those two major events.
Shareholder Value, fifth in the Lecomte Stakes (G3) last out on January 21, breezed a half-mile in :48.60 over Fair Grounds fast main track for trainer Tom Amoss. The bay son of Uncle Mo captured an allowance/optional claimer at the New Orleans venue by 3 1/4 lengths to close out his juvenile season on December 26.
“The work went well,” Amoss said. “It was similar to his pre-race breeze before the Lecomte and I thought he did fine.
“I’m not worried about how he’s doing right now, I’m more concerned about this field. It’s a really great field of three-year-olds. I looked at other races and there isn’t anything. This is where he’ll race and I think he’ll run well.”
Local Hero will be making his stakes bow in the Risen Star off a 7 1/4-length maiden score over the track on January 26. On Sunday the Steve Asmussen-trained son of Hard Spun covered a half-mile in :50.20.
Trainer Mark Casse sent out Lecomte third-placer Takeoff to post a half-mile in :49 for the Risen Star.
Conditioner Joe Sharp is looking forward to his pair of Risen Star entries – Girvin and Cool Arrow – showcasing their talent on Saturday.
Girvin took his December 16 maiden debut at Fair Grounds and ran second last out in the grassy Keith Gee Memorial Stakes on February 4. Cool Arrow was entered in Monday’s Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park, but is expected to be scratched in favor of this one. The Into Mischief colt has captured three of his last four races, including the Remington Springboard Mile and Kip Deville Stakes.
“Cool Arrow has done everything we have asked of him,” Sharp said. “He has the experience edge on Girvin. He will likely be more forwardly placed (under jockey Gabriel Saez), because that’s how he likes to run.
“I think Girvin is still figuring out where he wants to be in the race, but I like how he settled last time behind horses.
“I’m pretty confident in both horses, physically,” Sharp continued. “They’re talented horses. I don’t ever like the one-hole (Girvin’s post), but with him it should be okay. It’s better than 14 and he’s quick enough to get out of there. (Jockey) Brian (Hernandez Jr.) is comfortable with him and he’s a gritty, game horse. I really like him.”
Girvin and Cool Arrow worked in company at Fair Grounds on Friday, recording a half-mile in :49.20.
The two big names in the Rachel Alexandra – Farrell and Valadorna –took a spin around Fair Grounds on Sunday ahead of their match up as did Gris Gris, who drew the outside in the seven-filly field off her third-place run in the Silverbulletday Stakes behind Farrell.
The Bernie Flint-trained Gris Gris breezed four panels in :48.60 while Farrell clocked five furlongs in :59.80, the second fastest of 42 moves on the at the distance on the day for trainer Wayne Catalano. Valadorna went four furlongs in :48.80 for Casse.
“We had pushed the work back a day,” said David Carroll, assistant to Casse, about Valadorna. “I wanted a fast track and I was very pleased. The track was perfect and I was very happy with how she did it. Physically and mentally she’s been a little bit sharper. I’m looking to see her move forward. While we’d love to win the Rachel Alexandra, we know this is a prep.”
Casse has another exciting three-year-old prospect in the works as well. Souper Tapit captured his maiden debut at Fair Grounds on Saturday by a neck under Florent Geroux, who he promptly attempted to dump during the gallop out.
“He’s a very nice horse, obviously, and he’s still learning,” Geroux said. “We wanted to give him a good education today. He broke a step slow, but he’s pretty professional. He took the dirt very well and was well-educated in the morning. The goal was to break, sit, finish and teach himself for the long run. He started to look for horses, but when he saw (Multiplier), he kicked in again. He is mentally still learning, but he has a lot of talent.”
Souper Tapit, who is known for taking left-hand turns or walking out of the stall during his gate drills, trailed the nine-horse field early in the mile-and-70-yard event, came flying to pass the entire group between the half-mile and quarter poles, and then repelled a challenge from Multiplier.
“One of the reasons we ran (Souper Tapit) long first was because we knew he would be slow away from the gate and would need more time to make that up,” Casse explained. “It takes a very good horse to run around horses six-wide between the half-mile and quarter-pole like he did.
“We didn’t know how he would react if he made the lead too early. He sees everything, he has a lot of energy and always looking for a reason to be bad. I was impressed when that horse came to him from there and four things: one, he was able to hold him off, two, he was fluttering his ears back and forth at the wire, which tells me he was not all that tired, three, I like the way the two drew away from the field, and four, his gallop out was amazing. He was having a good time.
“The key with him is baby steps,” Casse concluded. “If he can stay healthy, we could have a lot of fun with him.”