Ten Things You Should Know: Risen Star Stakes
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
1) The Risen Star Stakes is a Grade 2 race for 3-year-olds run at 1 1/16th miles at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, Louisiana. This year’s edition is part of the Kentucky Derby qualifying system with points being awarded to the top four finishers.
2) The race was run for the first time in 1973 and serves as a prep race for the 1 1/8 miles Louisiana Derby, the oldest and most prestigious race in the state for 3-year-olds.
3) The race earned its graded stakes status in 2002 and was upgraded from Grade 3 to Grade 2 in 2010.
4) The race was originally known at the Louisiana Derby Trial Stakes. It became the Risen Star Stakes in 1989.
5) The race’s namesake, Risen Star, was a son of Secretariat and owned by Louisiana natives Ronnie Lamarque and trainer Louis Roussel. Risen Star is the only winner of the race to go on to win two 3-year-old classics. Risen Star won the 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes after a third place finish in the Kentucky Derby.
6) The first winner of the Risen Star to win a 3-year-old classic was Master Derby, who won the race in 1975 before winning the Preakness Stakes. He finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Belmont Stakes.
7) Master Derby was also the first to win this race (when it was called the Louisiana Derby Trial Stakes) and the Louisiana Derby. The last to complete that double came in 2015 with International Star. The other winners of both races were Friesian Fire (2009), Pyro (2008), Repent (2002), Comic Strip (1998), Line in the Sand (1992), Risen Star (1988), and Taylor’s Special (1984).
8) The 1977 winner of the Risen Star, Run Dusty Run, raced well behind Seattle Slew during his Triple Crown sweep. He finished second in the 1977 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes and third in the Preakness. In an impressive career of strong but ultimately losing performances, he also finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes, Travers Stakes, and Louisiana Derby.
9) The popular runner Dollar Bill won the 2001 Risen Star Stakes. He went on to run in all three Triple Crown races. After a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby, he finished fourth in both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.
10) Jockeys and Louisiana natives Robby Albarado and Shane Romero have won the most editions of the race. They have each ridden three winners in the Risen Star.