Mandaloun captures first Championship Series race on Road to the Kentucky Derby
Mandaloun made amends for last month’s Lecomte Stakes to turn the tables on Midnight Bourbon and Proxy to win the $400,000, Grade II Risen Star Stakes on Saturday at the Fair Grounds.
Mandaloun closed as the 2-1 favorite and had a stalking trip, with jockey Florent Geroux handling the son of Into Mischief. Mandaloun went three wide on the far turn and gained the lead in the upper stretch. The Brad Cox-trained colt then disposed of Midnight Bourbon (5-1), who couldn’t hold off a late surge from Proxy (4-1) and finished third.
“Today, we had the same kind of trip we had in the Lecomte, but when I pushed on the gas today, he responded right away,” Geroux said.
Mandaloun won the 1 1/8 mile race over a track rated fast in a final time of 1:50.39. In an 11-horse field, Mandaloun paid $6.20 to win, $4.00 to place, $3.00 to show.
Mandaloun has now won 3 of 4 starts and finished third in the Grade III Lecomte Stakes.
Mandaloun qualifies for Kentucky Derby
Mandaloun earned 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points in winning the Risen Star Stakes, which will be enough to enter the starting gate for the May 1 Kentucky Derby. He’ll likely run next in the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 20 at Fair Grounds. That race will be contested at 1 3/16 miles for a second time ahead of the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby.
“He’s got the physical make-up of a mile-and-a-quarter horse, so we’re optimistic he’ll get better with more ground,” trainer Brad Cox said.
Cox, who is known for his EPO regimen in a sport trying to clean up drug use on its equine athletes, won last year’s Louisiana Derby with the front-running favorite Wells Bayou. But Wells Bayou was unable to race in the rescheduled 2020 Kentucky Derby due to bone bruising.
Mandaloun was 16-1 in the recent Kentucky Derby Futures Pool that ended last weekend. Look for his odds to be cut in half for Pool 4, starting the weekend of March 5.