Now is the time that three-year-olds will start declaring their candidacy for the 2018 Kentucky Derby, and next up is supposedly Instilled Regard. The colt will run in the 2018 Risen Star out of Fair Grounds on Saturday, February 17th with the hopes of building momentum off of his Lecomte victory earlier this year.
The plan that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and the connections for Instilled Regard have taken has been determined by what’s best for the young horse. While based out of California, he’s made Fair Grounds his home after a dazzling 3 1/2 length victory in the Lecomte, and will look to replicate that performance against a grizzled field in the 2018 Risen Star. This is by no means a layup for Instilled Regard. There’s a lot of threats within these gates.
Chief among them will be Supreme Aura, who crushed his two debuts at Del Mar and Fair Grounds by storming 6 furlongs with an average time of around 1:10 flat. The Candy Ride colt is trained by Michael Stidham, who would love nothing more than to put this dark horse on the pursuit for a Kentucky Derby berth.
The often run, but far from successful, Bravazzo makes his return to stakes action after finishing his juvenile campaign with a brutal tenth place finish in the 2017 Kentucky Jockey Club Gold, which was won by Enticed. He has rebounded with an allowance win at Oaklawn in mid-January.
Also searching for his first stakes victory will be Givemeaminit, who has taken his time in maturing despite evidence of potential. He finished second in the Louisiana Futurity behind Pound for Pound, and was eighth in the 2017 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes prior to that. He doesn’t feel like an upstart in the 2018 Risen Star Stakes.
Another fresh face might be worth a look as well. Noble Indy broke his maiden in a 7 furlong debut at Gulfstream Park in a time of 1:22.15 and then scored again in a 1 1/16th mile effort that has generated some traction. He’s a Winstar product trained by Todd Pletcher, and an offspring of Take Charge Indy so all of that speaks for itself. Noble Indy is definitely worth a look and won’t be an oversight for the oddsmakers.
High North, Snapper Sinclair, Kentucky Club and Ebban round out the 2018 Risen Star field. All will be longshots and none are worth your consideration given who else is in the field.
While Instilled Regard certainly deserves credit and is backed by a strong team, I’d rather go with an exacta box on Noble Indy alongside Supreme Aura in the 2018 Risen Star. Both feel like strong up and coming talents, and while I like what Instilled Regard represents, I don’t think he’s done enough to truly separate himself as a lock just yet.
The 2018 Risen Star is on Saturday, February 17th out of Fair Grounds.