Girvin Roars down the Stretch to Win Risen Star at 8-1 Odds
Jockey Brian Hernandez may have a dilemma on Kentucky Derby day. Already the rider for top Derby contender McCraken, Hernandez rode Girvin to victory Saturday in the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) essentially securing a spot in the starting gate for the May 6 Kentucky Derby. Girvin earned 50 Derby qualifying points for the victory over 11 rivals at the Fair Grounds, and he did it most impressively with a strong closing run down the lane to win by two lengths.
“He had been training great and I thought he definitely could win,” said Rosie Napravnik, wife of trainer Joe Sharp. She’s also Girvin’s exercise rider and a former four-time leading jockey at the Fair Grounds. “But I was nervous because for the first time I had no control over it.”
Girvin won his second race in three starts after finishing second in the Keith Gee Memorial Overnight Stakes at the Fair Grounds Race Course.
Girvin’s 1 1/16 miles final time of 1 minute, 43.08 seconds was the third fastest in the past 15 runnings of the Risen Star. The win was worth $240,000 and Girvin bettors were rewarded at his 8-1 price with $18.20 on a $2 win wager, and $8.60 and $5.40 place and show payoffs. Untrapped was second and returned $8.00 and $5.00 and pace setter Local Hero, who was six lengths clear at the half mile marker, returned $4.60 for third. Guest Suite the LeComte Stakes winner, rallied for fourth a neck behind and Mo Town, the 7/5 favorite faded to fifth.
“He put us in a good spot the whole way,” Hernandez said of Girvin. “He traveled like a true professional. For a horse to come out just in his third start and to do what he did, that just shows you what a kind of special animal he is.”
Girvin will be pointed to the Grade II $1 million Louisiana Derby April 1.