Pyro Burns Field With Scorching Late Run to Win Risen Star Stakes
Kenneth Strong of Predictem.com
Feb. 9, 2008 – Kentucky Derby contender Pyro made a straight right turn in early stretch and unleashed an explosive late run that took him from last to first to win the 35th running of the $300,000 Risen Star Stakes-G3 at the Fair Grounds Race Course on Saturday.
Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, Pyro was sent off as the 4/5 favorite and probably gave most chalk players fits as he rated last off a slow pace to the stretch. Rich Young Ruler set pedestrian fractions of 24 2/5, 49 2/5 and 1:14 3/5 before being overtaken in the stretch by Pyros stablemate and second choice Z Humor after a mile in 1:38 3/5. Meanwhile, Pyro was still biding his time last in the 2-path behind a wall of horses.
Then, all of a sudden, Bridgmohan decides to take Pyro straight right, barely clearing two rivals as he veered to the outside. Pyro then did his impression of a running back whod found daylight, accelerating powerfully to take over from Z Humor and drawing out late to win with something left.
At the finish the winner was two lengths in front Z Humor, who was of a length in front of Florida shipper and third choice Visionaire. Longshot Unbridled Vicar finished fourth, a length back of Visionaire and a neck in front of Blackberry Road, who probably would have been third with clear running room in the stretch.
The final time for the mile and sixteenth race was a slow 1:44 3/5, but considering the slow pace and Pyros questionable trip, it was an impressive performance. Not only did Pyro run the final quarter in a quick 22 3/5, he showed agility reminiscent of Alysheba in the 1987 Kentucky Derby, when that one clipped heels and still kept coming to win. That agility will serve Pyro well when he meets an almost assuredly bulky field in the Kentucky Derby.
Trained by Steve Asmussen for Winchell Thoroughbreds, Pyro returned $3.80 to win and had his Kentucky Derby Future Wager odds pounded down from 10-1 to 5-1. The 3-year-old colt by Pulpit-Wild Vision by Wild Again has now earned $696,718 from five starts and a record of 2-2-1, including runner up finishes as a 2-year-old in the Champagne Stakes-G1 and Breeders Cup Juvenile-G1.
Already in possession of a two 100 or better Beyer Speed Figures, Pyro will probably get a much lower speed figure for his Risen Star Stakes victory, but he certainly appears mentally ready to move back into the three digit range required to win the Derby on May 3.
Risen Star Stakes Results and Payoffs
February 9, 2008 – Race 9 – Fair Grounds Race Course
8 Pyro $3.80 $2.60 $2.20
11 Z Fortune $3.40 $2.60
3 Visionaire $3.60
5 Unbridled Vicar
$2 Exacta 8-11 paid $11.20
$2 Trifecta 8-11-3 paid $38.40
$2 Superfecta 8-11-3-5 paid $353.20