For Guest Suite, the road to the TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) gets increasingly more difficult the closer he gets. Conqueror of 10 rivals in last month's Lecomte (G3), the gelded son of Quality Road could face as many as 13 in Saturday's $400,000 Risen Star (G2) over 1 1/16 miles at Fair Grounds.
The Risen Star is the first of the "Championship Season" preps in the Road to the Kentucky Derby Series. Fifty qualifying points toward Derby eligibility will be awarded to the winner of the Risen Star, with points of 20-10-5 going to the second- through fourth-place finishers.
A muddy track and a wide trip in the Lecomte did not keep Guest Suite down as he proved best by 1 1/4 lengths over Untrapped with Takeoff a half-length farther back in third. However, the competition gets tougher Saturday as the Risen Star marks the return of Remsen (G2) winner Mo Town. The Coolmore-owned son of Uncle Mo won that nine-furlong test at Aqueduct by more than two lengths in November for Tony Dutrow.
Trainer Steve Asmussen, who won the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby last year with Gun Runner, saddles Untrapped and Local Hero, who break side by side in posts 2 and 3. The latter comes off a dazzling 7 1/4-length maiden win and has Florent Geroux in the irons.
Another colt of interest, Girvin, breaks from the rail. Trained by Joe Sharp, Girvin won a stretch-long duel over next-out winner Excitations in his six-furlong debut in December, and last time rallied well to finish second in the $50,000 Keith Gee Memorial at about one mile on the Fair Grounds turf. Sharp also conditions Cool Arrow, last seen taking the $300,000 Springboard Mile at Remington in December. The Into Mischief colt won that race wire-to-wire and may show speed again in a race his connections chose over Monday's Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn.
California Derby winner So Conflated took the worst of the post draw for his two-time Kentucky Derby-winning connections. If all start, the gray will break from post 14.