Risen Star Stakes: Angel of Empire Can Fly Past His Foes

The Kentucky Derby trail continues at Fair Grounds on Saturday, February 18 with the Risen Star Stakes! The race drew a full field of 14 horses, meaning it is one of the best horse race betting opportunities of the winter season. The race covers a stamina-testing 1 ⅛ miles on the dirt, and with a $400,000 purse and 50-20-15-10-5 Road to the Kentucky Derby points available to its top finishers, it will bring the Kentucky Derby picture into sharper focus!

Steve Asmussen and Brad Cox each have three entrants in this year’s edition of the Risen Star, and both have a strong record in the race. Asmussen won last year with Kentucky Derby second-place finisher Epicenter, his third Risen Star victor. Cox won in 2021 with eventual Kentucky Derby winner Mandaloun and also won one of the divisions of the race in 2020.

Angel of Empireto Win the Risen Star Stakes
★★★★★
+700
Bet now

Who will win this important Kentucky Derby prep race this year? Keep reading to find out,a nd to see the best places to bet the Risen Star online.

Where to Bet the Risen Star Stakes

The first step toward a great score in the Risen Star is choosing the best online betting site. You have many choices of sportsbooks, but our online betting experts can help you make a fast and confident decision. They know the options, and can help you choose the best online racebooks for your wagering style.

All of our expert-recommended racebooks have the basics: a smooth user interface, trusted money management, and marked-leading odds on races and sports. Each one also offers bonuses like deposit and sign-up incentives, horse racing rebates, and referral bonuses.

Top Online Racebooks

Maximize your bankroll by taking a few minutes now to find the best horse racing bonuses for your wagering style. Our experts can help you find the ones that suit your preferred wagers and stakes best, so you can bet the Risen Star and races all year long with confidence!

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Risen Star Stakes Horses and Odds

This is the official field for the 2023 Risen Star Stakes including post positions, trainers, and jockeys:

  1. Quiet as Midnight (Benard Chatters / Emanuel Neves)
  2. Single Ruler (Keith Desormeaux / Jose Riquelme)
  3. Shaq Diesel (Renald Richards / Adam Beschizza)
  4. Determinedly (Mark Casse / Reylu Gutierrez)
  5. Harlocap (Steve Asmussen / John Velazquez)
  6. Angel of Empire (Brad Cox / Luis Saez)
  7. Sun Thunder (Ken McPeek / Brian Hernandez)
  8. Tapit’s Conquest (Brad Cox / Florent Geroux)
  9. Curly Jack (Tom Amoss / Edgar Morales)
  10. Two Phil’s (Larry Rivelli / Jareth Loveberry)
  11. Silver Heist (Steve Asmussen / Corey Lanerie)
  12. Crupi (Todd Pletcher / James Graham)
  13. Victory Formation (Brad Cox / Flavien Prat)
  14. Private Creed (Steve Asmussen / Tyler Gaffalione)

Closer to the race the racetrack will release a morning line. However, you are not guaranteed those odds when you wager at the track. Your best bet is to track the odds at your favorite online sportsbook. They offer fixed-odds wagering on major races, meaning you can lock in the best odds at the moment you place your bet. You no longer have to wait until post time!

BovadaBetOnline ReviewBetUS Review
Victory Formation+400+400+400
Tapit's Conquest+700+700+700
Determinedly+900+900+900
Harlocap+900+900+900
Angel of Empire+900+900+900
Curly Jack+900+900+900
Two Phil's+900+900+900

Free Risen Star Stakes Picks

With your new online betting account at the ready, now it is time to handicap the race!  Read on for expert 2023 Risen Star Stakes analysis:

Risen Star Stakes Contenders

Angel of Empire looks to have his coming-out party in the Risen Star. He has been strong in all three of his two-turn races. Though he was three lengths beaten by Victory Formation last out, Angel of Empire got the much better draw and Victory Formation will not have the easy lead like he did in that race. He lures Luis Saez off of the otherwise-live-looking Determinedly, as well, suggesting he should be ready to run well and swallow up horses late.

Angel of Empireto Win the Risen Star Stakes
★★★★★
+700
Bet now

Two Phil’s ran a quality second in the Lecomte in his first race of the year, proving that his big race in the Street Sense wasn’t just a question of the off track. More tractable than the usual Larry Rivelli runner, he should be able to track somewhere behind the pace, tucking in from a relatively-outside post. This should be a recipe for a good trip under high-percentage Jareth Loveberry.

Tapit’s Conquest makes his first stakes try in his second start off a layoff. He ran a close second behind Determinedly in an allowance January 21 at Fair Grounds, but should get an even better trip this time from a decent middle post. Trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux are money in big races at Fair Grounds, and they have another live contender with this one.

Risen Star Stakes Favorite

Take a stand against Risen Star morning-line favorite Victory Formation. Although he is perfect in three starts, he is mired on the far outside in a huge field, a recipe for losing ground in his graded stakes debut. He has also shown speed in all his starts, meaning he will probably have to be hustled early, and then battle with the likes of Harlocap and Determinedly. He shapes as an underlay.

Risen Star Stakes Exotic Possibilities

Curly Jack is one of the more class-proven runners in the field, as he won the Iroquois (G3) and was second in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last year. He hasn’t raced since that effort in November, meaning he still has to prove he has trained on at three and can fire first off a lay. Still, a return to his best juvenile form gets him a piece in this.

Single Ruler steps up from maiden company over the Fair Grounds course, going first-time blinkers. Even though he added the headgear, he still was able to rate well off the pace and make a good run, a trip that should do him well in the Risen Star as well. He doesn’t need a big move up from his last race, and trainer Keith Desormeaux frequently outruns his odds in New Orleans.

Crupi is still a maiden for trainer Todd Pletcher, but he is the only horse in the field who has even tried the mile and an eighth trip. He finished a credible second going that distance, and his pedigree suggests he should get better with time. He has to overcome a relatively outside post, but should be able to drop in and make a credible late run.

Risen Star Stakes Free Picks

Now that you know where and how to bet the race online, here are the best bets for Saturday’s 2023 Risen Star Stakes:

  • $20 to win – #6 Angel of Empire
  • $1 exacta key – #6 Angel of Empire with #8 Tapit’s Conquest, #9 Curly Jack, #10 Two Phil’s
  • $0.50 trifecta key – #6 Angel of Empire with #2 Single Ruler, #8 Tapit’s Conquest, #9 Curly Jack, #10 Two Phil’s
  • $0.10 superfecta key – #6 Angel of Empire with #2 Single Ruler, #8 Tapit’s Conquest, #9 Curly Jack, #10 Two Phil’s, #12 Crupi
Angel of Empireto Win the Risen Star Stakes
★★★★★
+700
Bet now
Rowan Ward

Rowan is a seasoned veteran of the horse racing industry. She has dedicated nearly two decades of her life to this area. From starting as a groom and progressing to become a horse owner, her journey has taken her through various roles in marketing and media. Along the way, she honed her handicapping skills while working in horse racing broadcasting in both the United States and Canada. In her spare time, Rowan enjoys books and cares for an array of farm animals, including sheep, goats, ducks, and chickens.