April 15, 2024

Normandy Invasion, Oxbow square off in Risen Star

Last updated: 2/18/13 5:03 PM

Oxbow, who pummeled his rivals in the Lecomte, faces a stiffer test in the Risen Star

(Lynn Roberts/Hodges Photography)

Oxbow was virtually untouchable in the Grade 3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds on
January 19, winning as he pleased by 11 1/2 lengths, but more than likely will
have to play second fiddle to Normandy Invasion in the wagering for Saturday’s
Grade 2, $400,000
Risen Star
at the New Orleans track.

The top local prep for the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, the 1 1/16-mile Risen
Star attracted an overflow field of 15, with a maximum 14 allowed to start.

Normandy Invasion, whose owner Fox Hill Farms won the 2009 Risen Star and
Louisiana Derby with Friesan Fire, breaks from post 9 under Jose Lezcano. The
Chad Brown trainee, an Aqueduct maiden scorer by 9 1/4 lengths, missed by a nose
in that track’s Grade 2 Remsen in his juvenile finale. Off a bit slow from a
wide post in that nine-furlong test, Normandy Invasion made an impressive rally
into contention before missing in a photo to Overanalyze. 

Oxbow, meanwhile, has been an open-lengths winner of his last two starts on
dirt while racing on the front end. The Awesome Again colt prevailed by nearly
by 4 3/4 lengths in a seven-furlong Churchill maiden dash in his fourth career
start, and followed a fourth in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity with his knockout
decision in the Lecomte. Jon Court will again ride the bay, who will start from
post 10.

Mylute, who placed in three of four stakes appearances at two including the
Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot, will make a highly anticipated return to stakes
action after a 10 3/4-length romp versus Fair Grounds allowance foes in late
December. Others stepping up from the overnight ranks are the Bob Baffert-trained
Code West, who sheds blinkers after running second to stablemate Super Ninety
Nine over a mile at Santa Anita January 31, and Saratoga graduate Palace Malice,
a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin who finished second in his sophomore
debut in the slop at Gulfstream Park.

He’s Had Enough, runner-up in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall,
has been unimpressive in two subsequent starts, but is probably better than his
third of a four in a paceless renewal of the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis. Also
looking to make a more favorable impression is Golden Soul, the distant
runner-up in the Lecomte for trainer Dallas Stewart.

Potential contenders at a price are Grade 3 victor Circle Unbroken, a
well-beaten sixth in the Lecomte off a 5 1/2-month layoff; Proud Strike, a 7
1/2-length Fair Grounds maiden victor January 12 over two next-out winners; and
Departing, a comfortable maiden and allowance winner for trainer Al Stall Jr.
over the local strip.

Demoiselle winner Unlimited Budget cuts back in distance for the Rachel Alexandra

(NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)

Unlimited Budget, who knocked out two wins in the span of 15 days last
November, including the Grade 2 Demoiselle, will kick off her sophomore season
in the Grade 3, $200,000
, a 1 1/16-mile stepping stone to the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks.

Overlooked at 7-1 when taking her one-mile debut at Aqueduct by 9 1/2 lengths
over next-out winner Squeal, Unlimited Budget stretched out to nine furlongs for
the Demoiselle, which she won in wire-to-wire fashion by 1 1/4 lengths. The
daughter of Street Sense will try to make it three in a row on Saturday for
owner Mike Repole trainer Todd Pletcher.

The Larry Jones-trained Dancinginthecircle showed vast improvement when
taking the By the Light at Delta Downs in early January, romping by nine lengths
in the two-turn, seven furlong-test. The Divine Park filly had previously run a
distant second in a Churchill Downs allowance behind Pure Fun, who went on to
notch the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet. Jones will also saddle Blue Violet, a 9
1/4-length maiden winner last time in her sixth career outing.

Midnight Ballet, who races for the Kentucky-based Stoneway Farm, invades from
the California string of trainer Tom Proctor. Far behind champion Beholder in
her lone outing on dirt so far, the Midnight Lute lass rebounded to land the
Sharp Cat over Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track. However, she was a flat fifth in
the Hollywood Starlet in her most recent outing.

Others among the field of 10 likely to attract support at the windows are the
Grade 3-placed Every Way, a grass allowance winner in her last start; Finding
More, winner of the Letellier Memorial and fifth in the Silverbulletday in her
last two; and Daddy’s Song, who gets a serious class test after blowout wins
against maiden claimers and starter allowance foes in her last two.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com