Vicar's in Trouble might be the most aptly-named of the contestants in Saturday's Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star at Fair Grounds. Barring any scratches, the Louisiana-bred winner of last month's Lecomte will have to overcome post 14 in the 1 1/16-mile Louisiana Derby prep.
The Risen Star, the highlight of the five-stakes Louisiana Derby Preview Day in New Orleans, attracted 14 colts and geldings plus two also-eligibles.
Fortunately for Vicar's in Trouble, his early foot might enable him to negate some of the difficulties inherent in drawing so wide. Two starts back, he out hustled 10 state-bred foes from post 11 to win a six-furlong maiden by 13 lengths. In the Lecomte, he raced several paths wide on both turns en route to a 6 3/4 length triumph.
Also returning from the Lecomte are the second- and third-place finishers, Albano and Gold Hawk. Albano, who captured the six-furlong Super Bowl in his prior star, endured a wider trip than Vicar's in Trouble and lacked the sufficient kick to get closer. He finished a half-length ahead of Gold Hawk, who disappointed as the 13-10 favorite after an impressive course-and-distance allowance score.
Invading from California are Hoppertunity, who graduated by three lengths at Santa Anita on January 30 for Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. A more accomplished shipper is Bond Holder, who broke his maiden in the FrontRunner last September before fourth-place efforts in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and CashCall Futurity for Doug O'Neill.
Also making his three-year-old bow in the Risen Star is Rise Up, last seen in November romping by six lengths in the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot, a victory that came on the heels of a score over the same track in the $200,000 Jean Laffitte. A three-time stakes winner trained by Tom Amoss, Rise Up is a speedy colt well drawn in post 2.
Todd Pletcher will be represented by Intense Holiday, a distant third behind Cairo Prince in last month's Holy Bull at Gulfstream. It was the first-stakes placing for the Harlan's Holiday colt, who missed the frame in the Champagne, Nashua, and Remsen in New York last fall.
Others expected to attract some mutuel support are Quick Indian, an allowance winner over the Fair Grounds strip most recently, and Son of a Preacher, fourth in the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn a month ago.
The field is rounded out by longshots Flat Gone, Vigorish, Interchange, Xtra Luck, and Commanding Curve. Looking to draw in from the also-eligible list are Emmett Park and Teniente Coronel.