NEW ORLEANS (AP) Intense Holiday rallied along the outside and narrowly edged Albano to win the Grade II Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds Race Course on Saturday night.
The Risen Star is Fair Grounds' final prep for the $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 29, and the race featured several horses that could wind up in the Kentucky Derby on May 3.
The victory all but assured that Intense Holiday, trained by Todd Pletcher, would qualify for the Triple Crown's opening race at Chuchill Downs.
Ridden by jockey Mike Smith, Intense Holiday covered the 1 1/16-mile course in 1:43.86 and paid $12, $6 and $4.
Albano returned $12.20 and $6.80. Vicar's in Trouble, which won the Fair Grounds' Grade III Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 18, earned $3.40 for third place.