Notional impressive in Risen Star

Notional, four-length winner of the Grade II San Rafael at Santa Anita on Jan. 13, won the $300,000 Grade III Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds in Louisiana on Saturday, stamping the In Excess colt as a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender. The heavy 2-5 favorite, Circular Quay, finished fifth, but you can toss out the effort. Jockey John Velazquez had to steady the son of Thunder Gulch sharply at the head of the stretch after an incident and he lost all chance. He was running on strongly at the end.

Meanwhile, Dreaming of Anna, whose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies victory at Churchill Downs in November had some thinking Kentucky Derby for the daughter of Rahy, strumbled at the start of her 2007 debut and finished a well-beaten third in the $150,000 Grade III Old Hat Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla.

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