New Orleans, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - Lecomte Stakes winner Vicar's in Trouble has been made the 5-2 morning-line favorite for Saturday's $400,000 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. Originally 16 3-year-olds were entered in the 1 1/16- mile race, but just 14 will be able to start.
The Risen Star is the final local prep for the 101st running of the $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 29. A win in the race will be worth 50 points toward starting in the Kentucky Derby on May 3. Last year, 135-1 longshot Ive Struck a Nerve won the Risen Star.
Vicar's in Trouble, trained by Mike Maker for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, initially drew post 14. With the scratch Wednesday of Bond Holder, the colt will break from the 13 hole as one of the also eligibles moves into the field. Rosie Napravnik will again be in the saddle.
Vicar's in Trouble won the Lecomte at Fair Grounds by 6 3/4 lengths over fellow Risen Star entrants Albano and Gold Hawk, the second- and third-place finishers.
"I can't say I was surprised when he ran as well as he did in the Lecomte," assistant trainer Joe Sharp said, "but I was very impressed. Obviously, there were some very nice horses in there against him. You had to have a lot of respect for Steve's horse (the Winchell Thoroughbreds-owned Steve Asmussen- trained Gold Hawk) and Larry's horse (the Brereton Jones-owned Larry Jones- trained Albano), so I was impressed that our horse could do as well as he did against them."
Vicar's in Trouble has won two straight coming into Saturday after finishing third in his debut effort last October. The colt has earned $148,900.
"If (Vicar) can make the lead from out there with enough room to get over more toward the inside that will be fine, but if he can't he really doesn't need the lead," Sharp added. "He's been behind horses in the morning and it doesn't bother him. He's not going to come off the bridle. It's not going to hurt his feelings if he doesn't have the lead. That's why we like to work him in company. He seems to get a little more out of it. He doesn't need the lead right away, but I would think he'll get it soon enough. He's not a 'waiting- around' kind of guy."
The 4-1 second pick for Saturday is Rise Up, trained by Tom Amoss for owners Paul and Andrena Van Doren. The colt will be ridden by Gerard Melancon from post 2.
Rise Up will be making his seasonal debut in the Risen Star and will be seeking his fourth stakes win. The 3-year-old closed 2013 by winning the $1 million Delta Jackpot last Nov. 23 at Delta Downs. He previously claimed the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs and the Mountaineer Juvenile on Aug. 3 at Mountaineer Park.
Rise Up has earned $810,633 in six starts with four wins.
Here is the field for the Risen Star in post position order: Albano, Kerwin Clark, 12-1; Rise Up, Gerard Melancon, 4-1 Flat Gone, Chris Landeros, 30-1; Vigorish, Marcelino Pedroza, 50-1; Bond Holder, Mario Gutierrez, scratched; Gold Hawk, Corey Nakatani, 8-1; Interchange, Eddie Baird, 30-1; Hoppertunity, Martin Garcia, 8-1; Intense Holiday, Mike Smith, 8-1; Son of a Preacher, Miguel Mena, 20-1; Quick Indian, Brian Hernandez Jr., 20-1; Xtra Luck, Richard Eramia, 50-1; Commanding Curve, Robby Albarado, 20-1 and Vicar's in Trouble, Rosie Napravnik, 5-2. Currently on the also eligible list are Emmett Park, James Graham, 20-1 and Teniente Coronel, Shaun Bridgmohan, 30-1.
Post-time will be approximately 6:25 ET for the Risen Star Stakes.