‘Thrilled To Be There’: Owner-Trainer Of Risen Star Scores With Hero Of The Future At Gulfstream

Best known as the co-owner and trainer of Risen Star, the 3-year-old male champion of 1988, Louis Roussel III brightened up a rainy afternoon when his Hero of the Future splashed home an easy 4 ¼-length winner in Friday’s opener at Gulfstream Park.

It was the first starter of the spring-summer meet for Roussel, 74, who brought a string of horses to Gulfstream earlier this month following the conclusion of racing at Fair Grounds, where he served as majority owner and president from 1977-90.

According to Equibase statistics, which date back through 1976, it was the first time Roussel had started a horse at Gulfstream. Equibase also shows Roussel, a New Orleans native who won his first race as a trainer in 1967, with 58 wins from 1970-75. He typically winters at Fair Grounds and races the rest of the year in the Chicago area.

“We have about 24 horses down there that are ready to run, and this was the first one,” Roussel said by phone from New Orleans. “I’m just thrilled to be there with The Stronach Group and the whole operation. I can’t even tell you how thrilled I am.”

Except for early in his career, Roussel also owns all the horses he trains. He purchased the 4-year-old gelding Hero of the Future for $35,000 as a yearling in the fall of 2017. It was his first runner of 2020 since March 21 at Fair Grounds.

Hero of the Future settled in fourth along the rail as 1-2 favorite Gran Old Parr and 13-1 long shot Mr. Vecchio dueled through a quarter-mile in 22.56 seconds. Jockey Angel Rodriguez tipped Hero of the Future to the outside midway on the turn, drew on even terms with new leader Mr. Vecchio in mid-stretch and pulled clear to win in 59.16 over the sloppy, sealed track.

By Majesticperfection, Hero of the Future had two works at McKathan Brothers Farm in central Florida then breezed twice over Gulfstream’s main track including a four-furlong move in 47.49 seconds May 10, the fastest of 32 horses.

“I thought he would run terrifically. He had a 401 wet number and he’s trained really well. You can see the blowout. He blew out real good before the race. I knew he was going to give a top performance. I really did,” Roussel said.

“We got away good and the jockey stayed put, maintained a little bit of position and then he got him in gear and started coming turning for home,” he added. “He rode a terrific race.”

Risen Star won the Louisiana Derby (G3) and Lexington (G2) in 1988 but ran third behind filly Winning Colors in the Kentucky Derby (G1). The son of legendary Hall of Famer Secretariat, who now has a winter Triple Crown prep at named in his honor, would go on to win the Preakness (G1) and Belmont (G1). He was retired following the Belmont with eight wins and more than $2 million in purse earnings from 11 starts.

Roussel returned to the Triple Crown trail with Kandaly, winner of the 1994 Louisiana Derby who ran fourth in the Preakness, and 2008 Illinois Derby (G2) winner Recapturetheglory, fifth in the Derby.

A cancer survivor and winner of 1,054 career races, Roussel has 5-year-old Curlin mare I Love to Race entered in Sunday’s 11th race at Gulfstream, an optional claiming allowance for females 3 and older sprinting five furlongs on turf.

“As soon as the pandemic dies down, we’re talking about leasing a townhouse in Hollywood which is five minutes from the track, so we will be down here if it gets better. If not, I’ll stay here in New Orleans until this thing dies down, I guess.”

The post ‘Thrilled To Be There’: Owner-Trainer Of Risen Star Scores With Hero Of The Future At Gulfstream appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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