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Feb 08, 2008

Three-year-olds take center stage at Fair Grounds

By: SPORTS NETWORK


New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Pyro has been entered in Saturday's $300,000 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds and will take on 11 rivals. The Risen Star will be the 2008 debut race for Pyro as he begins his road to the Kentucky Derby.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Pyro is one of two colts entered by the trainer in the 1 1/16 mile event. Asmussen will also send out Z Fortune, who is coming off a win in the Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds.

Pyro, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, was unable to catch War Pass in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Monmouth Park last October, beaten by 4 3/4 lengths. The colt has just one win in four starts, but has earned $516,718. He was second in the Champagne Stakes to War Pass and third to the Juvenile champ in an allowance race in August.

Shaun Bridgmohan will be reacquainted with the three-year-old as the pair will start from post eight. Bridgmohan was aboard Pyro for all four starts last year.

Z Fortune, ridden by Bridgmohan, rallied down the stretch to win the $100,000 Lecomte Stakes last month over race favorite Blackberry Road. The gray colt is owned by Zayat Stables and will break from post 11 with award-winning jockey Garrett Gomez in the saddle.

Z Fortune is perfect in three career starts for $117,600. Gomez will be the fourth different rider to be aboard the colt.

Blackberry Road, trained by David Carroll, will be ridden again by 2007 Kentucky Derby winning jockey Calvin Borel. The colt will start from post two for owner Dogwood Stable.

A winner of only one race, Blackberry Road was second in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs and third in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park last year. He has earnings of $128,235 in seven starts.

Here is the complete field for Risen Star in post position order: Check It Twice, John Velazquez; Blackberry Road, Calvin Borel; Visionaire, Jose Lezcano; Bonanza, Patrick Husbands; Unbridled Vicar, Corey Lanerie; Rich Young Ruler, Fabio Arguello, Jr.; The Darp, Robby Albarado; Pyro, Shaun Bridgmohan; Signature Move, Michael Baze; Peteadoris, James Graham; Z Fortune, Garrett Gomez and Prince Cortez, Julien Leparoux.

The Risen Star Stakes is the final local prep race leading to the $600,000 Louisiana Derby on March 8.

Saturday was to have been the 2008 debut for Horse of the Year Curlin. The four-year-old was nominated to the Mineshaft Handicap. Trainer Steve Asmussen and majority owner Jess Jackson have decided that Curlin will begin defense of his title with a race in Dubai on February 28 leading to the Dubai World Cup on March 29.



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