It was an exciting weekend at the Fair Grounds for the Risen Star and more as those with eyes on May work to rack up points for Derby Day.
Risen Star Stakes - Division 1
In the first division of the Risen Star Stakes, it was all MR. MONOMOY through the opening quarter and half miles with fractions of :24.22 and :48.57. Through the far turn, BLACKBERRY WINE put on the pressure, but MR. MONOMOY pulled away to win by 2 1/2 lengths ahead of ENFORCEABLE and SILVER STATE. Trainer Brad Cox would like the colt to have one more start before the Kentucky Derby and is considering the Louisiana Derby.
Risen Star Stakes - Division 2
Things didn't go quite so easy for MODERNIST in the second division. The race was split due to attracting 23 entries. While MR. MONOMOY completed the first division in 1:50.42, MODERNIST completed the second division just a second slower as the 12-1 shot. The colt ran back but was rushed up the rail to duel with NY TRAFFIC, who poked his head in front most of the way. Their opening fractions were :24.38 and :48.57. But MODERNIST worked stead and drove through the stretch to pull out the win. MAJOR FED also took a run down the stretch managing to pull out the second place with NY TRAFFIC trailing in third.
Mineshaft Stakes (G3)
PIRATE'S PUNCH went to the lead to set fractions of :24.41 and :47.25. At the second turn, SILVER DUST moved in on the leader and pulled a length clear in the stretch. GUN IT began to close in, but SILVER DUST pulled out the win by three-quarters of a length with a final time of 1:43.40. The 30-1 GUN IT finished second followed by PIRATE'S PUNCH in third.
Colonel Power Stakes (Turf)
JUST MIGHT went to the lead and set fast fractions of :22.01 and :44.71. The 20-1 homebred held off the CHAOS THEORY, the 2-1 favorite, finishing by a neck with a final time of 1:0215. CHAOS THEORY finished second followed by FAST BOAT 2 1/2 lengths back.
Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes (Turf)
It as another upset in the Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes on the turf. SHE'SONTHEWARPATH pulled clear to take the win at 16-1 odds. QUEBEC set the pace with fractions of :23.32 and :47.62. SHE'SONTHEWARPATH made her move at the three-sixteenths pole to finish by two lengths with a final time of 1:42.25.
Fair Grounds Stakes (G3T)
From gate to wire, it was FACTOR THIS with an impressive cruise in the Fair Grounds Stakes. The gelding set early fractions of :23.57 and :48.25 and still had gas in the tank to fend off the 7-5 favorite SYNCHRONY. SYNCHRONY cleared the wire in second, followed by BOTSWANA, four and a half lengths back with odds of 51-1.
Santa Monica Stakes (G2) - Santa Anita Park
Meanwhile in California, a one-eyed filly was all the talk. After breaking a step late, HARD NOT TO LOVE ran last of five but only 1 3/4 lengths off the pace. LADY NINJA set the pace with a :23.04 opening quarter-mile. MOTHER MOTHER brought the pressure and HARD NOT TO LOVE moved up to third. Jockey Mike Smith let her loose in the stretch and she took the win 1 1/2 lengths over MOTHER MOTHER. ZUSHA held on for third after a steady run down the stretch. The win was HARD NOT TO LOVE'S second consecutive graded stakes victory.