The Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds highlights this weekend on the Road to the Roses. With the El Camino Real Derby providing the support, and the Southwest at Oaklawn on Monday. Let’s start with the Risen Star.
INSTILLED REGARD looks to be the one to beat off his romp in the Lecomte at Fair Grounds. He shipped East after finishing behind a top Derby contender in McKinzie in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity, and may have found a group he is just better than. INSTILLED REGARD has plenty of tactical speed, and can adapt to whatever pace scenario tossed his way. He has gotten better the more ground he has been given, and has shown that he may be worth the $1 million price that he brought as a yearling. NOBLE INDY is unbeaten through two starts at Gulfstream Park. He has shown plenty of speed in both of those efforts, and should be forwardly placed with the inside draw. Never hurts to have JR in the saddle, and Pletcher calling the shots – he has a big shot to win three in a row. SUPREME AURA is another who is unbeaten after two starts, but they both came sprinting. His sire, Candy Ride, has done well with horses going a route of ground, but it wouldn’t be worth finding out if this one can go that far at less than 12-1. PRINCIPE GUILHERME was a good 2nd to INSTILLED REGARD in his latest and should get a favorable pace scenario to try and run into.
Moving to Golden Gate Fields in NoCal, the El Camino Real Derby goes as race 7. All about the Hollendorfer train – CHOO CHOO looks solid as the favorite. He was sent off at even money in the California Derby, and won easily despite being forced wide. PAVED comes off a maiden victory at Santa Anita and should have no trouble moving from turf to synthetic. CITY PLAN ships back to Golden Gate where he was a winner two back, but he may not want to go this far. A mile could be hit top, being a half-brother to a top sprinter at Hastings Racecourse – Modern.
On Presidents Day/Family Day Monday, there will be a full slate of simulcasting from all of the major tracks around the USA.
Saturday is the final day for harness racing at Northlands Park, with a first post of 1 p.m.