Three of the top local 3-year-olds have committed to the Grade II Risen Star Stakes -- with one reservation.
Departing, undefeated in two trips, has a backup plann. He'll make his next start in either the Risen on Feb. 23 or the Grade II Rebel at Oaklawn March 16.
“He’s two-for-two right here on this track so that might help us when we’re making a definite decision,” trainer Al Stall, Jr. said.
After breaking his maiden by 2 1/4 lengths on Dec. 22 when going six furlongs, the Kentucky homebred son of War Front won by 4 1/2 lengths in his first start going two turns in a mile and 70-yard allowance race on Feb. 1.
Golden Soul, a Dallas Stewart trainee, is set to return on in the Risen Star as well. He was second in the Lecomte Stakes, albeit beaten 11 1/2 lengths by Oxbow. He might appreciate a little extra distance as he travels down the Derby Trail.
The Risen Star would be Sunbean's first appearance in open company. After breaking his maiden in the Louisiana Futurity at six furlongs on New Year's Eve at Fair Grounds, Sunbean successfully stretched out two turns in a mile and 70 yard-allowance race restricted to horses that were accredited Louisiana-breds.
Golden Soul was early-nominated to the Triple Crown. Departing and Sunbean were not.
Edited Fair Grounds release