Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red is likely to run in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds, his trainer, Keith Desormeaux, said Sunday.
“What we’re leaning toward now is the (Grade II $200,000) San Vicente on (Feb. 1),” Desormeaux said in an interview with TVG Network. “I’m thinking about wheeling him back pretty quickly in the Risen Star on (Feb. 21), and then we’ll have a little gap between the Risen Star and the (Grade I) $1,000,000 Santa Anita Derby (on April 4).”
The Risen Star is the second leg on the road to the March 28 Louisiana Derby, which Desormeaux indicated Texas Red would skip in favor of the Santa Anita Derby a week later. Texas Red has been training there since wining the Breeders’ Juvenile in October.
But the Risen Star also is a qualifying race for the Kentucky Derby.
Recently second in the voting for Eclipse Award top juvenile, Texas Red is co-owned by Desormeaux along with Erich Brehm, Wayne Detmar and Lee Michaels et al. On Saturday morning, the bay charge worked five furlongs in 1 minute, 1.40 seconds.
“Silky smooth. Great enthusiasm. Happy horse!” tweeted Kent Desormeaux, the regular rider and three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey, after the workout.
Having a seven-furlong starting point and wheeling back quickly for a three-race Kentucky Derby prep schedule is a format that has been used by Triple Crown runners effectively in the past. In 1997, Silver Charm won the San Vicente and was second in both the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe and 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby within an eight-week span — before winning the Derby and Preakness Stakes and finishing second in the Belmont.
More recently, Curlin won his seven-furlong debut in early Feb. 2007 before winning both the 1 1/16-mile Rebel Stakes and 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby within a 10-week span before finishing third in the Derby and Belmont and winning the Preakness in between.
“It’s always been kind of a tentative schedule, like with all things concerning race horses,” Keith Desormeaux said. “It seems like the best plan for me at this point. It’s kind of quick, but I like the way it feels. If I can get him (to the Fair Grounds) a week early, that would be perfect.”
In five career starts, Texas Red, a $17,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale bargain, has earned $1,192,300 and never finished worse than fourth. After a debut loss by a neck in a five-furlong Arlington International Racecourse maiden in July, the Kentucky-bred was fourth in a six-furlong Del Mar maiden before graduating in his first start around two turns in a one-mile maiden at the California course.
He returned to finish third to eventual Eclipse champion American Pharoah in the Grade I $300,000 FrontRunner Stakes one race before pummeling his Breeders’ Cup rivals by 6½ lengths — both at Santa Anita.