After bursting upon the scene with a two-length score in the Risen Star (G2), Girvin will look to make it two straight in the $1 million TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds. The Joe Sharp-trained colt heads a field of nine in the Kentucky Derby qualifier, which offers points on a 100-40-20-10 scale.
Girvin was overlooked at 8-1 last time but has been installed as the solid 8-5 favorite on the morning line for the 1 1/8-mile Louisiana Derby. The son of Tale of Ekati has raced exclusively at the New Orleans venue, breaking his maiden the first time out in mid-December. He then switched to turf and recorded a close second in the Keith Gee Memorial on February 4.
The dark bay came back 21 days later to capture the Risen Star, stalking the pace in midpack before rallying to the lead in upper stretch. Girvin has drawn inside gates in all three starts but will break from post 8 Saturday with regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr.
Local Hero will try to build upon a Risen Star third in his stakes debut. Conditioned by Steve Asmussen, the speedy colt led wire-to-wire posting a convincing maiden win over the track two starts previously and set the pace in the Risen Star before weakening in the latter stages. Listed as the early 7-2 second choice, the well-bred Hard Spun colt retains the services of Florent Geroux and figures to set sail from post 3 at the break.
Todd Pletcher will send out a pair of last-out maiden winners in Patch and Monaco. Patch brings the better credentials, registering a field-best 101 BRIS Speed rating for a 1 ¾-length tally at Gulfstream on February 18, and has been pegged as the 9-2 third choice. The promising son of Union Rags breaks from the rail with new jock Tyler Gaffalione. Monaco adds blinkers off a 12-length romp at Tampa Bay Downs in his third career outing. Listed at 12-1, Uncle Mo colt picks up Rajiv Maragh.
Lecomte (G3) winner Guest Suite also merits respect. He left himself too much to do from off the pace in the Risen Star, closing belatedly for fourth, but could receive a nice set-up with a fair amount of pace entered. He is an early 4-1 with Robby Albarado.
Rounding out the field are expected longshots Hollywood Handsome, Hotfoot, Senior Investment and Sorry Erik.
(Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges Jr.)