- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
Maximus Ruler tunes up for Risen Star
Lecomte S. (G3) runner-up MAXIMUS RULER (Roman Ruler), prepping for Saturday's Risen Star S. (G2), traveled five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 on a fast track at Fair Grounds Sunday morning.
Trainer Clark Hanna hopes that the colt, who found himself leading through fast fractions in the Lecomte, will enjoy a more favorable stalking set-up in the Risen Star.
"The idea is to get him to relax," Hanna explained after the Sunday work, "so we broke him off at the half-mile pole this morning, let him go to the seven-eighths and then let him gallop out the rest of the way on his own.
"He came back bucking and squealing, so we might want to send him out again to go a quarter-mile on Thursday just to keep him relaxed.
"I'd really like to see some speed in Saturday's race to give him something to run at. The last time (in the Lecomte) we thought there was a speed horse in there (Cool Bullet) but then they took him back and we ended up on the lead.
"(Maximus Ruler) is not going to be able to go :46 and change (his half-mile split in the Lecomte) and still win this race Saturday, but we think we can get him to improve off of that."
Saturday's $300,000 Risen Star serves as the final designed local prep for the Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 27, which with its new higher purse of $750,000 will be the richest Thoroughbred race ever run in Louisiana.