Kentucky Derby 2015 Contenders: International Star retains top spot

This is my second in a series of blogs devoted to Kentucky Derby 2015 contenders. Once again, I got an early start in September, and there will be many twists and turns in the weeks and months ahead.

Kentucky Derby 2015 logo

Some of my highly regarded horses from the first September blog came back to run extremely well, including International Star, Blofeld, Carpe Diem, and American Pharoah.

Graded Recaps

G1 FrontRunner (101 BSF): In a virtual replay of the G1 Del Mar Futurity, American Pharoah was in complete control throughout. He is the deserving BC Juvenile favorite for Bob Baffert.

G1 Champagne (107 BSF): Daredevil was perfectly drawn on the outside and easily captured his second from as many wet track starts at Belmont Park. He clearly has talent and we will learn more when he faces quality foes on fast ground.

G1 Breeders’ Futurity (91 BSF): Carpe Diem dominated his eleven rivals for Johnny V-Pletcher. He is 2-for-2 lifetime and is a very promising prospect.

G3 Grey (66 BSF): International Star sat comfortably behind tepid splits before rallying nicely to win under a hand ride. The final number came back very low but the winner looked good from a visual standpoint.

G2 Futurity (100 BSF): Blofeld sat behind horses along the inside and won in a professional manner for Johnny V-Pletcher. This is exactly what you want to see in a young horse. Very promising colt.

Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2015 Contenders

1. INTERNATIONAL STAR (Fusaichi Pegasus – Parlez, by French Deputy)international star silks

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Latest Published Workout: Breezed 4f in :50.20 (16/21) at Churchill (dirt training) on Oct 18.

Comments: Retains the top spot after a nice win in the G3 Grey at Woodbine on Oct 5. He looked good visually, rallying to win under a hand ride, but only received a 66 BSF. He picked up 10 Derby Points and the versatile sort has now run well on dirt, turf, and synthetic.

Derby Points (10)

2. SOUPER COLOSSAL (War Front – Soaring Emotions, by Kingmambo)souper colossal silks

Trainer: Eddie Plesa Jr. – Owner: Live Oak Plantation

Latest Published Workout: Breezed 4f in :48.60 (3/34) at Monmouth on Oct 19.

Comments: 3-for-3 at Monmouth Park including stakes tallies in the Tyro and Sapling (86 BSF). War Front, sire of 31 stakes winners, captured the G2 Vanderbilt in ’06 and placed in numerous other graded sprints. Dam Soaring Emotions won a flat mile allowance turf race at Tampa Bay in ’09 for Clement, and dam sire Kingmambo won a couple of overseas Group 1’s in ’93.

3. BLOFELD (Quality Road – Storm Minstrel, by Storm Cat) blofeld silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Glencrest Farm

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48.34 (3/49) at Belmont (dirt training) on Oct 20.

Comments: Followed up his sharp Saratoga debut with a fast tally (100 BSF) in the G2 Futurity at Belmont Park on Oct 5. In the Futurity, he showed professional maturity, waiting for room behind horses along the rail without being intimidated. The G2 Nashua at Aqueduct on Nov 2 might be next.

4. CARPE DIEM (Giant’s Causeway – Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled’s Song)carpe diem silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: WinStar Farm & Stonestreet Stables

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48.33 (2/49) at Belmont (dirt training) on Oct 19.

Comments: Looked great from start to finish in sharp G1 Breeders’ Futurity score. WinStar says he is their best juvenile ever. He looks like a solid BC Juvenile contender.

Derby Points (10)

5. AMERICAN PHAROAH (Pioneerof The Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman)american pharoah silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in :58.60 (1/42) at Santa Anita on Oct 20.

Comments: Back-to-back facile Grade I wins in the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner. His easy home court win at the BC Juvenile distance makes him the solid early favorite for that event. His promising stablemate One Lucky Dane could join him in the gate for the BC Juvenile.

Derby Points (10)

6. STARTUP NATION (Temple City – Pennyrile, by Wagon Limit)startup nation silks

Trainer: Chad Brown – Owner: Klaravich Stables

Latest Published Workout: Breezed 5f in 1:03.57 (11/18) at Belmont (good inner turf) on Oct 19.

Comments: Two big turf wins to begin his career before finishing a flat 4th in the G3 Pilgrim at Belmont on Sept 28.

7. CHIEF ISTAN (Istan – My Indian, by Indian Charlie) chief istan silks

Trainer: Larry Jones – Owner: Brereton C. Jones

Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in :59.40 (1/20) at Keeneland on Oct 6.

Comments: Shook off pace foe and drew off in romping DelPark debut Sept 3. Multiple graded winning sire Istan is responsible for ’14 graded stakes winners Istanford and Albano. Dam sire Indian Charlie won his first four starts including the G1 SA Derby and his show finish in the ‘98 G1 Kentucky Derby was his career finale.

8. DAREDEVIL (More Than Ready – Chasethewildwind, by Forty Niner) Daredevil silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Let’s Go Stable

Comments: 2-for-2 after easy win in the G1 Champagne. Both wins at Belmont on wet tracks so he still has some proving to do.

Derby Points (10)

9,. EL KABEIR (Scat Daddy – Great Venue, by Unbridled’s Song) el kabeir

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:02.14 (3/18) at Belmont (good inner turf) on Oct 19.

Comments: Bad start from the rail over wet footing cost him dearly in the G1 Champagne (well-beaten 4th). He showed plenty of promise at Saratoga and deserves another chance.

Derby Points (1)

10. FROSTED (Tapit – Fast Cookie, by Deputy Minister) frosted silks

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Latest Workout: 4f in :48.40 (3/30) at Saratoga (dirt training) on Oct 21.

Comments: 2nd to runaway winner Bayerd in his Saratoga debut Aug 23, and he occupied that same spot at Belmont on Sept 20. Talented maiden should graduate soon.

11. LORD NELSON (Pulpit – African Jade, by Seeking the Gold) lord nelson silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Peachtree Stable

Comments: Smart Del Mar debut sprint win July 19 before finishing 4th to stablemate American Phaorah in the Sept 27 FrontRunner. Cruised to an easy win in the 6f Speakeasy Stakes (92 BSF) at Santa Anita on Oct 13.

Derby Points (1)

Honorable Mention: (12) Calculator, (13) I Spent It, (14) Upstart, (15) Iron Fist, (16) Bayerd, (17) Pride of Stride, (18) Wild Zambezi, (19) Today’s Agenda, (20) Bustin It

Injured Reserve

Competitive Edge – Hairline fracture (9-17-14). Out for rest of 2014.

Hashtag Bourbon – Ankle chip (left front). Could show up at Oaklawn Park in 2015.

Om – Hock injury. Out for rest of 2014.

 

 

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