Looks like War Story is going to get a rematch Saturday afternoon against International Star, with both thoroughbreds in the field for the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds.
It’s the 11th of 12 races during the Louisiana Derby Preview Day. First post is 12:30 p.m.
Not long ago, such a dual didn’t seem possible.
On Jan. 17, International Star transformed from 9-1 outsider to the winner of the Lecomte, the first of three major three-year-old graded stakes at the Fair Grounds. War Story, meanwhile, finished 21/2 lengths back.
War Story, Loooch Racing Stable and Chris Dunn, was then scheduled to spent Monday afternoon at Oaklawn Park until getting an outside post at the Southwest Stakes. That made trainer by Tom Amoss bring the chestnut gelding back to the Fair Grounds.
It turned out to be a good decision: inclement weather forced Oaklawn Park to postpone a Presidents’ Day card.
Kent Desormeaux will ride War Story from post six, aiming for a better finish in a race which can place the winner closer to the 2015 Kentucky Derby.
“He ran great,” Amoss said of War Story’s trip in the Lecomte. “He didn’t break well, broke poorly and was widest of all turning for home.”
International Star, owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Mike Maker, is the son of Fusaichi Pegasus. Miguel Mena will ride from outside post 10.
Both thoroughbreds will have to contend with Imperia, a runner-up in November’s Grade II $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. Still, Imperia has had up-and-down finishes.
In September, Imperia won the Grade III $200,000 Pilgrim Stakes on Belmont Park’s grass then a month later finished 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Imperia, which will start from post five, is the son of Medaglia d’Oro and Cocoa Beach, the Chilean Horse of the Year (2008).
The Risen Star is the final local prep for the 102nd running of the $750,000 Louisiana Derby. The winning three-year-old earns 50 points toward starting in the Kentucky Derby.
Post time for the Risen Star will be approximately 5:24 p.m. Rounding out the rest of the field is St. Joe Bay, shipped in from California, who will start from the rail; Keen Ice (post eight), paired with meet-leading rider James Graham; Bluff (post three) is owned by Fox Hill Farm and trained by Larry Jones; J S Bach (post four) will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano; Scott and Evan Dilworth’s Big Big Easy (post nine) is trained by Steve Asmussen, Gennadi Dorochenko’s Hero of Humor (post seven) finished sixth in the Lecomte.