Posts Tagged ‘International Star horse’

Video Race of the Week: Charles Town Classic with Donworth and Page McKenney

With the Triple Crown preps in the book, we jump over to the Handicap Division and head to Charles Town Races for the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic.

The key to this race might be the horses exiting the productive Santa Anita Handicap. Last weekend at Oaklawn Park, three Big ‘Cap runners, Effinex, Melatonin, and Point Piper, returned to finish 1-2-3 in the Oaklawn Handicap.

Donworth, Imperative, and Hard Aces are the three Big ‘Cap runners entered in the 2016 Charles Town Classic.

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Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders

It seems impossible but it is that time again, and the September tradition continues. This is my first in a series of blogs devoted to Kentucky Derby 2016 contenders. This is just the beginning and there will be many twists and turns in the weeks and months ahead.

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10 of the last 15 Kentucky Derby winners graduated by October 4, including 7 of the last 9. Kentucky Derby 2012 hero I’ll Have Another captured his career debut at Hollywood Park on July 3 of his juvenile season.

Kentucky Derby 2013 winner Orb lost his first three juvenile outings. He graduated at the Big A on November 24, 2012, his first of five straight wins, culminating in a scintillating off the pace tally under the Twin Spires on May 4.

Kentucky Derby 2014 winner California Chrome earned his diploma in his second career start ($100k Graduation – 5.5f) at Del Mar on July 31, 2013. He ended his juvenile season with an easy win in the King Glorious, the beginning of a 6-race winning streak that ended with a dead-heat for 4th in the Belmont Stakes.

Triple Crown 2015 winner American Pharaoh graduated in the G1 Del Mar Futurity on 9-3-14, the beginning of an 8-race win streak (7 Grade 1‘s and a Grade 2).

Some of my original September Derby blog juvenile contenders panned out, like my early 2010-2011 Number 1’s Stay Thirsty and Alpha. Both won the G1 Travers during their 3-year-old seasons. Others turn out to be disappointments, such as Fortify and Purple Sky, my 2012 and 2013 original Number 1’s.

International Star was my original number one Kentucky Derby 2015 contender and he was scratched the morning of the Derby. 3 of my original 11 Derby contenders made it to the starting gate including winner American Pharoah. The other two were Frosted and Carpe Diem.

An ideal Kentucky Derby contender would have a solid juvenile foundation, a long-winded pedigree, sharp graded stakes form, running style versatility, and winning connections. Strong pre-Derby works are the icing on the cake.

Graded Recaps (Derby Points Races)

G1 FrontRunner (79 BSF): American Pharoah won the FrontRunner last year. This time around, Nyquist was the overwhelming favorite and he remained undefeated with yet another win over Swipe. His margin of victory dipped and talented juvenile filly Songbird ran much faster in the G1 Chandelier. Nyquist looks like a miler and will not make my Derby list at this time.

G3 Iroquois (81 BSF): Cocked and Loaded stalked, pounced, and kicked clear to win by 2-lengths over Rated R Superstar, Unbridled Outlaw, and Conquest Windycity. The Iroquois has not been a productive race in regards to Derby contenders in recent years.

There are three Derby points races this weekend: G1 Champagne (Belmont Park, Oct 3), G1 Breeders’ Futurity (Keeneland, Oct 3), and G3 Grey (Woodbine, Oct 4).

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders

(1) MOHAYMEN (Tapit – Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union) mohaymen silks

Trainer (Kiaran Mclaughlin) – Owner (Shadwell Stable)

Comments: The $2.2 million yearling purchase was a determined 1/2 length winner (87 BSF) at six furlongs in his Belmont Park debut on 9-19-15. Dam Justwhistledixie won the G2 Davona Dale and G2 Bonnie Miss at GP in 2009.
The G2 Nashua on Nov 4 at Aqueduct might be next.

(2) SEYMOURDINI (Bernardini – Graeme Six, by Graeme Hall) seymourdini silks

Trainer (Linda Rice) – Owner (Iris Smith Stable)

Comments: $900k purchase battled with Mohaymen throughout and ended up 2nd in his debut. He is one of three Bernardini freshman to make the initial list.

(3) MOR SPIRIT (Eskendereya – Im a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union) mor spirit silks

Trainer (Bob Baffert) – Owner (Michael Lund Petersen)

Comments: $650k purchase had a slow start, made a nice inside middle move, took the lead, and ended up a clear 2nd (83 BSF) in his 6f Santa Anita debut Sept 27. He will not be a maiden much longer.

(4) RALIS (Square Eddie – Silar Rules, by Ten Most Wanted) ralis silks

Trainer (Doug O’Neill) – Owner (Reddam Racing LLC.)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:01.60 (53/87) at Santa Anita on Sept 26.

Comments: His five starts include a second time out maiden win at Santa Anita, a 2nd in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar, and a romping win in the G1 Hopeful (93 BSF) at Saratoga Sept 7. He is entered in the G1 Champagne at Belmont Park on Saturday, Oct 3.

(5) STREET VISION (Street Sense – Emmy’s Storm, by Stormy Atlantic) street vision silks

Trainer (Mark Glatt) – Owner (Norman Stables, LLC.)

Comments: Followed up a distant 4th behind a runaway winner in his Del Mar bow with a professional stalk/pounce win under Bejarano at Santa Anita Sept 27 (87 BSF).

(6) SAIL AHOY (Bernardini – Matlacha Pass, by Seeking the Gold) sail ahoy silks

Trainer (Shug McGaughey) – Owner (Phipps Stable)

Latest Workout: Breezed 4f in :47.66 (5/40) at Belmont Park on Sept 27.

Comments: Rallied to finished a distant 3rd (17-1 odds) behind Ready Dancer & Condominium in his six furlong debut at Saratoga Aug 29. He was ready to roll in his second start at Belmont Park (one mile, Sept 12), going last-to-first by a head at 3.95-1 odds. He is entered in the G1 Champagne at Belmont Park on Saturday, Oct 3.

(7) CONQUEST BIG E (Tapit – Seeinsbelieven, by Carson City) conquest big e silks

Trainer (Mark Casse) – Owner (Conquest Stables, LLC.)

Latest Workout: 4f in :47.20 (2/32) at Churchill Downs Sept 25.

Comments: Broke in the air, rallied wide to take the lead, and was run down by Brody’s Cause in his flat mile debut at Churchill Sept 11. His is still immature and needs to get over his gate issues.

(8) I WILL SCORE (Roman Ruler – Grassy Nellie, by Belong to Me) i will score silks

Trainer (Jerry Hollendorfer) – Owner (Hans Poetsch)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.60 (4/13) at Los Alamitos Sept 25.

Comments: Romped in his Los Alamitos debut Sept 11.

(9) JUSTIN SQUARED (Zensational – Graciously Soft, by Vindication) justin squared silks

Trainer (Bob Baffert) – Owner (Zayat Stables LLC.)

Latest Workout: 5f bullet in :59.20 (1/55) at Santa Anita Park Sept 28.

Comments: Went all the way in an easy wire job debut at Del Mar Sept 5 (86 BSF).

(10) GREENPOINTCRUSADER (Bernardini – Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance) greenpointcrusader silks

Trainer (Dominick Schettino) – Owner (St. Elias Stable)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.85 (5/31) at Belmont Park Sept 26.

Comments: Missed by a neck in his Saratoga debut July 25 and scored by a neck at that same venue (seven furlongs) second time out Sept 5. He is entered in the G1 Champagne at Belmont Park on Saturday, Oct 3.

(11) BRODY’S CAUSE (Giant’s Causeway – Sweet Breanna, by Sahm) brody's cause silks

Trainer (Dale Romans) – Owner (Albaugh Family Stable)

Latest Workout: 5f breeze in 1:01.80 (21/43) at Churchill Downs Sept 26.

Comments: Finished 8th in his Ellis Park debut and went last-to-first (paid $69.20) to beat well-meant first timer Conquest Big E at a flat mile (Churchill Downs) Sept 11. He is entered in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday, Oct 3.

Honorable Mention: (12) Nyquist, (13) Swipe, (14) Exaggerator, (15) Who’s Out, (16) Gametown, (17) Wild Man, (18) King Kranz, (19) Arabian Leopard, (20) Rafting

KENTUCKY DERBY 2015 Contenders: The Final Countdown

Post positions have been selected and the field has been set for Kentucky Derby 2015. I have posted odds and post positions below.

The Derby blog began last September and my final “Exceptional Eleven” rankings are listed below. It has been an especially fun ride this year with five of my contenders from September making the Derby cut.

Stanford scratched, allowing #21 Frammento to make the Derby starting gate.

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El Kabeir missed his morning gallop on Friday, May 1 and seems to have a tender left foot. His Derby status will be determined Saturday morning.

I will continue to follow the current sophomore class through the Triple Crown series and beyond, and my 2016 Kentucky Derby contenders blog will debut after Del Mar & Saratoga in September.

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

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48.60 (2/63) at Keeneland on April 25.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 4.

Comments: He’s been part of my list since last September and has occupied the top spot for more than four months. The feeling here is that we have not seen his best but he might have a tough go of it from post 2.

Derby Points (164)

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

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

Latest Published Workout: 6f in 1:13.60 (19/33) at Santa Anita on April 25.

Last Start: 1st in G1 SA Derby on April 4.

Comments: The undefeated Derby contender elevated his game to new heights in back-to-back graded wire jobs in the San Felipe and SA Derby. The massive colt owns early-pressing versatility and cruised in his lone Churchill start. He is training forwardly and did well landing post 8.

Derby Points (170)

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

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Latest Published Workout: 4f in 50.80 (11/12) at Churchill Training on April 25.

Last Start: 1st in G2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on Saturday, March 28.

Comments: My original #1 ranked Ky Derby contender when I started this list Sept. ’14. The very experienced Derby contender began his career last June. He keeps getting better but needs further improvement to make a splash on the first Saturday in May. I love his professionalism and he drew favorably in post 12.    

Derby Points (171)

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

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in 58.80 (1/33) at Churchill Downs on April 26.

Last Start: 1st in the G1 Arkansas Derby.

Comments: The 2YO Champ did not break a sweat in the Rebel or Arkansas Derby and heads to Churchill Downs as the Kentucky Derby favorite. He has looked sensational in the mornings and will break from post 18.

Derby Points (160)

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

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:01.10 (2/9) at Palm Meadows on April 25.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 4.

Comments: He’s the fourth member of my original list from September and I played him Derby Future Pool 1. He showed a new closing dimension in the Wood Memorial and did the bulk of his Kentucky Derby preparations in Florida. He will break from the auxiliary gate in post 15 and should have plenty of room to maneuver.

Derby Points (113)

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

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :46.81 (3/55) at Belmont Park on April 25.

Last Start: 3rd in G1 Wood Memorial on April 4.

Comments: The 5th and final member of my original Derby list. Nothing bothers the versatile, consistent sort and he certainly brings plenty of experience to the table. He will leave from post 7 and you know Borel will find the rail at some point. He seemingly has a foot bruise and is not certain to compete in the Derby.

Derby Points (95)

  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 1:02.20 (51/59) at Santa Anita on April 25.

Last Start: 1st in G3 Sunland Derby on March 22.

Comments: After two grueling defeats to Dortmund, he cruised to a very easy win at Sunland. The Kentucky Derby will be his first start in six weeks. Jockey Gary Stevens was ecstatic after getting post 10. He is training well and if you like Dortmund, you will be getting a contender with similar ability at four times the price as the Baffert trainee.

Derby Points (58)

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

Trainer: Richard Violette – Owner: Ralph M. Evans

Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in :59.95 (1/9) at Palm Meadows on April 25.

Last Start: 2nd in G1 Florida Derby on March 28.

Comments: Spiked a fever and missed a workout earlier in April but bounced back with two bullets on April 17 & 25. He owns competitive speed figures but must overcome post 19. I will like his chances more when the Belmont Stakes rolls around.

Derby Points (76)

  1. MATERIALITY (Afleet Alex – Wildwood Flower, by Langfuhr) materiality silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Alto Racing, LLC.

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48 (7/78) at Churchill Downs on April 24.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 28.

Comments: The last unraced 2-year-old to win the Kentucky Derby was Apollo in 1882. He earned a 110 BSF in the G1 Florida Derby and looms a pace player on the first Saturday in May. He must overcome a lack of experience and post 3 on Derby Day.

Derby Points (100)

  1. WAR STORY (Northern Afleet – Belle Watling, by Pulpit) war story silks

Trainer: Tom Amoss – Owner: Loooch Racing Stable

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:02 (7/20) at Churchill Downs on April 22.

Last Start: 3rd in G2 LA Derby on March 28.

Comments: Hard-knocking gelding earned his way into the Kentucky Derby with a 2nd in the G3 Lecomte, another 2nd in the G2 Risen Star, and a 3rd in the G2 LA Derby. The 50-1 longshot will leave from gate 16.

Derby Points (44)

  1. MUBTAAHIJ (Dubawi – Pennegale, by Pennekamp) Mubtaahij silks

Trainer: Michael F. de Kock – Owner: Sheikh Mohammad bin Khalifa al Maktoum

Latest Published Workout: 3f in :37.40 (10/15) at Churchill Downs on April 30.

Last Start: 1st UAE Derby.

Comments: The Irish-bred mystery horse is traveling across the globe for a shot at Derby glory. Trainer Mike de Kock is one of the best in the world. He will break from post position 6.

Derby Points (100)

The Rest of the Derby Field: Far Right, Bolo, Itsaknockout, Ocho Ocho Ocho, Danzig Moon, Tencendur, Mr. Z, Keen Ice, Frammento. Stanford (scratched). Also-eligible Tale of Verve will not make the Derby field.

SATURDAY’S KENTUCKY DERBY DAY (MAY 2) full card analysis from Churchill Downs is now available to purchase at:

The Runaway Horse

Upcoming full cards: Santa Anita weekends (May 2-3). PREAKNESS DAY (May 16) analysis from Pimlico coming soon! Every full card includes suggested Early Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6, and Late Pick 4 spread tickets.

Weekend full card recaps with highlights are posted on The Runaway Horse What You Missed page

KENTUCKY DERBY 2015 Contenders: Calm Before the Storm

We are now one week away from Kentucky Derby 2015 and the participants are starting to assemble under the Twin Spires.

The next few days will bring final workouts and post positions will be drawn on Wednesday.

One Lucky Dane was injured in a workout last weekend and is off the Derby trail for Bob Baffert. Todd Pletcher’s Madefromlucky will not run in the Derby after an unsatisfactory workout at Churchill Downs on April 24. Keen Ice takes over the 20th and final spot with Frammento and Bold Conquest on the outside looking in.

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

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48 (5/76) at Keeneland on April 18.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 4.

Comments: He’s been part of my list since last September and has occupied the top spot for more than four months. He continues to prepare for the Derby at Keeneland and the feeling here is that we have not seen his best.

Derby Points (164)

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

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

Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in :58.80 (1/59) at Santa Anita on April 18.

Last Start: 1st in G1 SA Derby on April 4.

Comments: The undefeated Derby contender elevated his game to new heights in back-to-back graded wire jobs in the San Felipe and SA Derby. The massive colt owns early-pressing versatility and cruised in his lone Churchill start.

Derby Points (170)

  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 1:01.80 (35/60) at Churchill Downs on April 18.

Last Start: 1st in G2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on Saturday, March 28.

Comments: My original #1 ranked Ky Derby contender when I started this list Sept. ’14. The very experienced Derby contender began his career last June. He keeps getting better but needs further improvement to make a splash on the first Saturday in May. I love his professionalism.    

Derby Points (171)

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

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 1st in the G1 Arkansas Derby.

Comments: The 2YO Champ did not break a sweat in the Rebel or Arkansas Derby and the Kentucky Derby favorite was an early arrival at Churchill Downs.

Derby Points (160)

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

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in 1:01.35 (1/7) at Palm Meadows on April 16.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 4.

Comments: He’s the fourth member of my original list from September and I played him Derby Future Pool 1. He showed a new closing dimension in the Wood Memorial and will do the bulk of his Kentucky Derby preparations in Florida.

Derby Points (113)

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

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:00.19 (3/16) at Belmont Park on April 19.

Last Start: 3rd in G1 Wood Memorial on April 4.

Comments: The 5th and final member of my original Derby list. Nothing bothers the versatile, consistent sort and he certainly brings plenty of experience to the table. He was reportedly energetic in his Belmont Park workout on April 19.

Derby Points (95)

  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 1:00.40 (22/59) at Santa Anita on April 18.

Last Start: 1st in G3 Sunland Derby on March 22.

Comments: After two grueling defeats to Dortmund, he cruised to a very easy win at Sunland. The Kentucky Derby will be his first start in six weeks.

Derby Points (58)

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

Trainer: Richard Violette – Owner: Ralph M. Evans

Latest Published Workout: 4f bullet in :47.40 (1/6) at Palm Meadows on April 17.

Last Start: 2nd in G1 Florida Derby on March 28.

Comments: Spiked a fever and missed his workout last week but looked good returning to the worktab April 17.

Derby Points (76)

  1. MATERIALITY (Afleet Alex – Wildwood Flower, by Langfuhr) materiality silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Alto Racing, LLC.

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48 (7/78) at Churchill Downs on April 24.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 28.

Comments: The last unraced 2-year-old to win the Kentucky Derby was Apollo in 1882. He earned a 110 BSF in the G1 Florida Derby and looms a pace player on the first Saturday in May.

Derby Points (100)

  1. WAR STORY (Northern Afleet – Belle Watling, by Pulpit) war story silks

Trainer: Tom Amoss – Owner: Loooch Racing Stable

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:02 (7/20) at Churchill Downs on April 22.

Last Start: 3rd in G2 LA Derby on March 28.

Comments: Hard-knocking gelding earned his way into the Kentucky Derby with a 2nd in the G3 Lecomte, another 2nd in the G2 Risen Star, and a 3rd in the G2 LA Derby.

Derby Points (44)

  1. MUBTAAHIJ (Dubawi – Pennegale, by Pennekamp) Mubtaahij silks

Trainer: Michael F. de Kock – Owner: Sheikh Mohammad bin Khalifa al Maktoum

Latest Published Workout: 3f in :36.20 (1/2) at Arlington Park on April 21.

Last Start: 1st UAE Derby.

Comments: The Irish-bred mystery horse is traveling across the globe for a shot at Derby glory. Trainer Mike de Kock is one of the best in the world.

Derby Points (100)

Honorable Mention: (12) Far Right, (13) Bolo, (14) Itsaknockout, (15) Ocho Ocho Ocho, (16) Stanford, (17) Danzig Moon, (18) Tencendur, (19) Mr. Z, (20) Keen Ice, (21) Frammento, (22) Bold Conquest, (23) Firespike

KENTUCKY DERBY 2015 Contenders: American Pharoah is the favorite

American Pharoah is the Kentucky Derby 2015 favorite following another facile win in the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, April 4.

American Pharoah did not control the pace this time. Instead, he allowed overmatched longshot Bridget’s Big Luvy to scoot away early. American Pharaoh inhaled the speed and coasted home by eight lengths under a hand ride.

The Kentucky Derby favorite arrived at Churchill Downs earlier this week. He got a late start this year and the Derby will be his third start in seven weeks.

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 G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 4.

Comments: He’s been part of my list since last September and has occupied the top spot for more than four months. The feeling here is that we have not seen his best.

Derby Points (164)

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

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

Last Start: 1st in G1 SA Derby on April 4.

Comments: The undefeated Derby contender elevated his game to new heights in back-to-back graded wire jobs in the San Felipe and SA Derby. The massive colt owns early-pressing versatility and cruised in his lone Churchill start.

Derby Points (170)

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

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :49 (7/9) at Churchill Training on April 11.

Last Start: 1st in G2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on Saturday, March 28.

Comments: My original #1 ranked Ky Derby contender when I started this list Sept. ’14. The very experienced Derby contender began his career last June. He keeps getting better but needs further improvement to make a splash on the first Saturday in May. I love his professionalism.    

Derby Points (171)

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

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 1st in the G1 Arkansas Derby.

Comments: The 2YO Champ did not break a sweat in the Rebel or Arkansas Derby and heads to Churchill Downs as the Kentucky Derby favorite.

Derby Points (160)

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

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in 1:01.35 (1/7) at Palm Meadows on April 16.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 4.

Comments: He’s the fourth member of my original list from September and I played him Derby Future Pool 1. He showed a new closing dimension in the Wood Memorial and will do the bulk of his Kentucky Derby preparations in Florida.

Derby Points (113)

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

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 3rd in G1 Wood Memorial on April 4.

Comments: The 5th and final member of my original Derby list. Nothing bothers the versatile, consistent sort and he certainly brings plenty of experience to the table.

Derby Points (95)

  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 :59.20 (5/56) at Santa Anita on April 11.

Last Start: 1st in G3 Sunland Derby on March 22.

Comments: After two grueling defeats to Dortmund, he cruised to a very easy win at Sunland. The Kentucky Derby will be his first start in six weeks.

Derby Points (58)

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

Trainer: Richard Violette – Owner: Ralph M. Evans

Latest Published Workout: 4f bullet in :47.40 (1/6) at Palm Meadows on April 17.

Last Start: 2nd in G1 Florida Derby on March 28.

Comments: Spiked a fever and missed his workout last week but looked good returning to the worktab April 17.

Derby Points (76)

  1. ONE LUCKY DANE (Lookin At Lucky – Echo Harbor, by Boston Harbor) one lucky dane silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Michael Lund Petersen

Last Start: 2nd in G1 SA Derby on April 4.

Comments: His sire Lookin at Lucky was my Kentucky Derby horse in 2010 and his son qualified for the Derby with a smart runner-up finish behind stablemate Dortmund in the SA Derby on April 4.

Derby Points (40)

  1. MATERIALITY (Afleet Alex – Wildwood Flower, by Langfuhr) materiality silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Alto Racing, LLC.

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48.50 (4/15) at Palm Beach Downs on April 11.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 28.

Comments: The last unraced 2-year-old to win the Kentucky Derby was Apollo in 1882. He earned a 110 BSF in the G1 Florida Derby and looms a pace player on the first Saturday in May.

Derby Points (100)

  1. WAR STORY (Northern Afleet – Belle Watling, by Pulpit) war story silks

Trainer: Tom Amoss – Owner: Loooch Racing Stable

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :49.40 (12/18) at Churchill Downs on April 15.

Last Start: 3rd in G2 LA Derby on March 28.

Comments: Hard-knocking gelding earned his way into the Kentucky Derby with a 2nd in the G3 Lecomte, another 2nd in the G2 Risen Star, and a 3rd in the G2 LA Derby.

Derby Points (44)

Honorable Mention: (12) Far Right, (13) Bolo, (14) Itsaknockout, (15) Ocho Ocho Ocho, (16) Stanford, (17) Mubtaahij, (18) Danzig Moon, (19) Tencendur, (20) Mr. Z, (21) Madefromlucky, (22) Keen Ice, (23) Frammento, (24) Bold Conquest, (25) Metaboss

KENTUCKY DERBY 2015 Contenders: Arkansas Derby video + Lexington Stakes analysis

Arkansas Derby favorite and Eclipse Champion American Pharoah completes his Kentucky Derby 2015 prep campaign at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.

American Pharoah was the controlling speed in the G1 Del Mar Futurity, G1 FrontRunner, and G2 Rebel Stakes, and it might be déjà vu all over again in the Arkansas Derby.

The G3 Coolmore Lexington Stakes has minor qualifying points attached but none of the entrants are seriously considering the Kentucky Derby. There are a few promising runners worth following, including my top choice #3 COMFORT (5-1). His first two turf routes were not great but he looked like a new horse in a facile two turn maiden win on the Fair Grounds main track. He was purchased privately by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and is now trained by Todd Pletcher. He fired a Florida bullet last month and looks ready to roll off the shelf under Javier Castellano.

#7 Donworth (5-1) overcame trouble to beat twelve rivals in his extended sprint bow at Gulfstream Park. Motion chose this over an easier allowance spot and he’s bred to be a quality two turn performer (Tiznow-Street Cry). He has raw talent but lacks seasoning.

#5 Fame and Power (5-2) put it all together vs. four foes in his fifth lifetime start at Santa Anita March 8. The Juddmonte-Baffert runner should make his presence felt from the outset.

#1 Divining Rod (3-1) was 2nd in the G3 Sam F Davis and 3rd in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby. He’s an inside pace factor.

#4 Tiznow R J (5-1) lost his way after finishing a solid 3rd in the G3 Lecomte.

#3 Quimet (8-1) dons the hood after getting dusted in the G1 Florida Derby.

#5 Henry Jones (6-1) stretches out and looms a pace player for D. Wayne Lukas.

THE PLAYS:

$20 to win #3

$10 Exacta Box 3-7 ($20)

Analysis by Jarrod Horak

Graded Recaps

G1 Wood Memorial (103 BSF): Frosted rebounded in a big way while racing wide and rallying to a convincing win under new pilot Joel Rosario. Tencendur was a surprising 2nd and El Kabeir chugged along for the show. Beaten favorite Daredevil has been sent to WinStar Farm for a freshening and is expected to target the G1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga this summer.

G1 Blue Grass (95 BSF): Carpe Diem was a complete standout in the paper race and did not disappoint on the racetrack in virtual replay of his Tampa Bay Derby triumph.Danzig Moon finished 2nd and Ocho Ocho Ocho bounced back with a respectable show finish.

G1 SA Derby (103 BSF): Dortmund basically repeated his San Felipe wire job over many of the same rivals and late blooming stablemate One Lucky Dane to keep his perfect record intact. Bolo collected the show and 4th place finisher Prospect Park had an elevate white blood cell count this week and is no longer under consideration for the Kentucky 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 G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 4.

Comments: He has done little wrong in his career and the best is yet to come. He’s been part of my list since last September and is one of only two that occupied my Number 1 spot, the other being International Star.

Derby Points (164)

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

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

Last Start: 1st in G1 SA Derby on April 4.

Comments: The hits just keep on coming for Baffert’s undefeated colt. In his last two wire jobs he did not face Firing Line, the only horse to challenge him, and that one romped in the Sunland Derby a few weeks ago. The massive colt owns early-pressing versatility and cruised in his lone Churchill start.

Derby Points (170)

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

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Last Start: 1st in G2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on Saturday, March 28.

Comments: My original #1 ranked Ky Derby contender when I started this list Sept. ’14. He keeps getting better but needs further improvement to make a splash on the first Saturday in May. I love his professionalism.

Derby Points (171)

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

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Published Workout: 6f bullet in 1:11.60 (1/25) at Santa Anita on April 5.

Last Start: 1st in the G2 Rebel Stakes.

Comments: He has also been part of my list since the beginning. Controlled the pace in all three of his graded wins and is back at Oaklawn for his final Derby prep in Saturday’s G1 Arkansas Derby.

Derby Points (60)

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

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Last Start: 1st in G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 4.

Comments: He’s the fourth member of my original list from list September and I played him Derby Future Pool 1. The Wood was a huge step forward and he is peaking at the right time.

Derby Points (113)

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

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 3rd in G1 Wood Memorial on April 4.

Comments: The 5th and final member of my original Derby list. The versatile, consistent sort has been in steady training throughout his career and never seems to miss a beat.

Derby Points (95)

  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: 4f in :48 (12/40) at Santa Anita on April 3.

Last Start: 1st in G3 Sunland Derby on March 22.

Comments: After two grueling defeats to Dortmund, he cruised to an effortless tally in New Mexico and had his first Kentucky Derby workout earlier this month.

Derby Points (58)

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

Trainer: Richard Violette – Owner: Ralph M. Evans

Last Start: 2nd in G1 Florida Derby on March 28.

Comments: Gem of consistency might appreciate getting away from the demanding Gulfstream Park surface.

Derby Points (76)

  1. ONE LUCKY DANE (Lookin At Lucky – Echo Haarbor, by Boston Harbor) one lucky dane silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Michael Lund Petersen

Last Start: 2nd in G1 SA Derby on April 4.

Comments: Last year’s 6th place BC Juvenile finisher jumped into the Derby fray in a hurry this season with a smart Optional Claiming win March 19 and a runner-up to stablemate Dortmund in the SA Derby on April 4.

Derby Points (40)

  1. MATERIALITY (Afleet Alex – Wildwood Flower, by Langfuhr) materiality silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Alto Racing, LLC.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 28.

Comments: The last unraced 2-year-old to win the Kentucky Derby was Apollo in 1882.

Derby Points (100)

  1. WAR STORY (Northern Afleet – Belle Watling, by Pulpit) war story silks

Trainer: Tom Amoss – Owner: Loooch Racing Stable

Last Start: 3rd in G2 LA Derby on March 28.

Comments: Hard-trying gelding qualified for the big dance with a 2nd in the G3 Lecomte, another 2nd in the G2 Risen Star, and a 3rd in the G2 LA Derby.

Derby Points (44)

Honorable Mention: (12) Far Right, (13) The Truth Or Else, (14) Bolo, (15) Itsaknockout, (16) Ocho Ocho Ocho, (17) Stanford, (18) Madefromlucky, (19) Mubtaahij, (20) Danzig Moon, (21) Tencendur, (22) Keen Ice, (23) Frammento, (24) Bold Conquest, (25) Ami’s Flatter

Kentucky Derby 2015: SA Derby video + Wood Memorial analysis

KENTUCKY DERBY 2015 Contenders: SA Derby video

Santa Anita Derby favorite Dortmund makes his final Kentucky Derby 2015 trail prep start and tries to stay unbeaten on Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

Dortmund has already qualified for the Kentucky Derby on points but his main rivals have not so look for Prospect Park, Bolo, and One Lucky Dane to put everything on the line at the Great Race Place.

The G1 Wood Memorial features NY lover El Kabeir vs. Florida shippers Daredevil and Frosted.

Daredevil horse

Daredevil is the Wood Memorial favorite – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#4 FROSTED (5-2) looked like he was on his way to a facile victory in the FOY but he inexplicably came to a stop in the stretch. The Gulfstream Park main track was very strange on the FOY and Florida Derby Day and McLaughlin did the right thing getting out of dodge. He is proven at Aqueduct, switches to Rosario, and might bounce back in a big way. He’s my top selection.

#6 Daredevil (9-5) loves the Belmont goo and clearly relishes one turn races. He has put up some big numbers but only has one start at seven panels in 5+ months and must prove himself around two turns.

#5 El Kabeir (3-1) owns running style versatility and always runs his race. He will be there to pick up the pieces if Frosted and-or Daredevil stub their toe.

#1 Tiz Shea D (8-1) has a ton of upside and sports a strong pedigree but I am expecting much more from the lightly raced G3 Gotham runner-up later this year.

The Wood Memorial field is completed by outsiders #2 Toasting Master (20-1), #3 Lieutenant Colonel (15-1), and #7 Tencendur (12-1).

A final note about the Wood Memorial. Far From Over was originally pointing to the Wood but came up with an injury and is off the Derby trail.

Suggested 2015 Wood Memorial Wagers:

$24 to win #4

$5 Exacta 5, 6 over 4 ($10)

$1 Trifecta Key 7 over 1, 5, 6 ($6)

Graded Recaps

G1 Florida Derby (110 BSF): Materiality ran his record to 3-for-3 with a solid win over Upstart but I am not buying the inflated speed figure. Upstart had his number taken down in an ugly renewal of the FOY and I was not impressed with the stretch run of the Florida Derby either. The Gulfstream Park main track was odd to say the least and I do not know what to make of the Kentucky Derby contenders exiting that oval.

G2 Louisiana Derby (98 BSF): International Star completed a sweep of the two turn graded Derby preps at Fair Grounds with a determined, hard fought win over Stanford in the LA Derby. War Story finished 3rd.

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

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :47.98 (3/19) at Palm Beach Downs on March 28.

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

Comments: He looks like a complete standout in the G1 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.

Latest Published Workout: 6f in 1:11.60 (3/31) at Santa Anita on March 28.

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. He is the strong G1 SA Derby favorite.

Derby Points (70)

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

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Last Start: 1st in G2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on Saturday, March 28.

Comments: My original #1 ranked Ky Derby contender when I started this list Sept. ’14. He keeps getting better but needs further improvement to make a splash on the first Saturday in May.

Derby Points (171)

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

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Published Workout: 5f in :58.60 (2/88) at Santa Anita on March 29.

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

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:01.12 (2/28) at Belmont (dirt training) on March 30.

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

Comments: He added a new closing weapon to his arsenal in the Gotham Stakes. The Wood Memorial is his final Derby prep.

Derby Points (75)

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

Trainer: Simon Callaghan – Owner: Arnold Zetcher

Last Start: 1st in G3 Sunland Derby on March 22.

Comments: After two grueling defeats to Dortmund, he cruised to an effortless tally in New Mexico and has wrapped up his Derby prep campaign.

Derby Points (58)

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

Trainer: Richard Violette – Owner: Ralph M. Evans

Last Start: 2nd in G1 Florida Derby on March 28.

Comments: Gem of consistency exits the baffling Gulfstream Park Ky Derby prep series.

Derby Points (76)

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

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:00.45 (2/15) at Palm Meadows on March 29.

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

Comments: He returns to his favorite track to compete in the Wood Memorial.

Derby Points (13)

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

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

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48.45 (23/89) at Belmont (dirt training) on March 29.

Last Start: 2nd in G2 Swale at Gulfstream Park on March 7.

Comments: He is the Wood Memorial favorite but still has some questions to answer Saturday.

Derby Points (10)

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

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

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:01.20 (46/83) at Santa Anita on March 28.

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

Comments: Rapidly improving colt finished well for the place in the San Felipe. He is training well for the SA Derby.

Derby Points (20)

  1. MATERIALITY (Afleet Alex – Wildwood Flower, by Langfuhr) materiality silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Alto Racing, LLC.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 28.

Comments: The last unraced 2-year-old to win the Kentucky Derby was Apollo in 1882.

Derby Points (100)

Honorable Mention: (12) Far Right, (13) War Story, (14) Classy Class, (15) The Truth Or Else, (16) Ami’s Flatter, (17) Bolo, (18) Dubai Sky, (19) Itsaknockout, (20) Ocho Ocho Ocho, (21) One Lucky Dane, (22) Stanford, (23) Conquest Typhoon, (24) Madefromlucky, (25) Tiz Shea D