KENTUCKY DERBY 2015 contenders: Spiral Stakes preview

All-weather specialists take center stage on the Kentucky Derby 2015 trail in Saturday’s Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park.

American Pharoah

American Pharoah romps in the Rebel – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Royal Son went all the way in the local prep for the Spiral and looks like the target from the rail.

1-3 El Camino Real Derby finishers Metaboss and Conquest Typhoon square off again on a different synthetic surface and both merit respect.

Imperia has scratched from the Spiral Stakes for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Check out my HRN written analysis of the 2015 Spiral Stakes!

On Sunday, Firing Line gets away from Dortmund and looms a strong favorite in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby.

Graded Recaps

G2 Rebel (100 BSF): American Pharoah began his sophomore season with a stylish wire job over a wet track. Bob Baffert absolutely owns the Derby preps at Oaklawn and his juvenile champion is expected to return to Hot Springs for the Arkansas Derby.

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

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

Last Start: 1st in G2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 7.

Comments: He is expected to have his final Derby prep in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday, April 4.

Derby Points (64)

  1. DORTMUND (Big Brown – Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat) dortmund silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc.

Last Start: 1st in G2 San Felipe on March 7.

Comments: After back-to-back grueling efforts, he got a much needed easy wire job win in the San Felipe. The SA Derby is next.

Derby Points (70)

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

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:02.83 (9/18) at Gullfstream on March 14.

Last Start: 1st in G2 Risen Star.

Comments: Lecomte-Risen Star will probably return to Fair Grounds for the G2 LA Derby on March 28.

Derby Points (71)

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

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 1st in the G2 Rebel Stakes.

Comments: Controlled the pace in all three of his graded wins and will return to Oaklawn for his final Derby prep in the Arkansas Derby.

Derby Points (60)

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

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 1st in G3 Gotham Stakes on March 7.

Comments: The former early-pressing type added a new closing weapon to his arsenal in the Gotham Stakes. The Wood Memorial is next.

Derby Points (75)

  1. UPSTART (Flatter – Party Silks, by Touch Gold) upstart silks

Trainer: Richard Violette – Owner: Ralph M. Evans

Latest Published Workout: 6f in 1:13.40 (2/4) at Palm Meadows on March 13.

Last Start: Disqualified from 1st and placed 2nd in G2 Fountain of Youth.

Comments: Crossed the line first in the FOY but did not look like the sharp Holy Bull winner. The Florida Derby is his next engagement.

Derby Points (36)

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

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in :59.85 (1/18) at Palm Meadows on March 20.

Last Start: Fading 4th in G2 Fountain of Youth.

Comments: He competes next in Wood Memorial.

Derby Points (13)

  1. DAREDEVIL (More Than Ready – Chasethewildwind, by Forty Niner) daredevil silks

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

Last Start: 2nd in G2 Swale.

Comments: A solid place finish in his Swale return should set him up nicely for an upcoming two turn Derby prep, possibly the Wood Memorial.

Derby Points (10)

  1. FIRING LINE (Line of David – Sister Girl Blues, by Hold for Gold) firing line silks

Trainer: Simon Callaghan – Owner: Arnold Zetcher

Latest Published Workout: 5f in :59.80 (8/50) at Santa Anita on March 15.

Last Start: 2nd in G3 Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb 7.

Comments: Gave undefeated Dortmund a big scare in the Los Al Futurity and Robert Lewis Stakes. He’s the strong choice in the G3 Sunland Derby on March 22.

Derby Points (8)

  1. PROSPECT PARK (Tapit – Quiet Romance, by Bertrando) prospect park silks

Trainer: Clifford Sise Jr. – Owner: Martin & Pam Wygod

Last Start: 2nd in G2 San Felipe on March 7.

Comments: Rapidly improving colt earned important Derby points in the San Felipe. Up next is the Santa Anita Derby.

Derby Points (20)

  1. FAR FROM OVER (Blame – Alchemist, by A. P. Indy) Far From Over silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Black Rock Thoroughbreds, LLC.

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:01.03 (1/4) at Palm Beach Downs on March 14.

Last Start: 1st in G3 Withers.

Comments: Skipped the Gotham and goes next in the Wood Memorial.

Derby Points (10)

Honorable Mention: (12) Itsaknockout, (13) Far Right, (14) War Story, (15) Mr. Z, (16) The Truth Or Else, (17) Metaboss, (18) Classy Class, (19) Royal Son, (20) Ami’s Flatter, (21) Bolo, (22) Ocho Ocho Ocho, (23) Ocean Knight, (24) Imperia, (25) One Lucky Dane

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