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Mar 13, 2015

El Kabeir wins Gotham to take lead in 'Road to the Kentucky Derby'


Louisville, KY ( - El Kabeir drove to a 2 3/4-length victory in Saturday's Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct and took over first-place in the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points system.

The Gotham was one of three stakes offering 50 points to the winning horse. The other two stakes were the Tampa Bay Derby and San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita.

El Kabeir now has 75 points and will start next in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 4. The 1 1/8-mile Wood offers 100 points to the winning 3- year-old.

"He's a tough, strong horse; he's got a great constitution," said El Kabeir's trainer John Terranova. "We've got a tremendous foundation under him now, and I think the winter has toughened him up even more. We'll see how things go, but he seems to love (racing). Every race he's gotten stronger."

Risen Star Stakes winner International Star remains second with 71 points, but is closely followed by San Felipe champ Dortmund who moved into third with 70 points.

"It was a walk in the park for him," trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday about Dortmund's 1 1/4-length victory. The Santa Anita Derby on April 4 is next.

Carpe Diem made his 2015 debut a winning one Saturday in the Tampa Bay Derby and earned 50 points to jump up to fourth-place in the standings with 64.

"We were very pleased with the way he'd been training, and we were delighted with the way he ran," trainer Todd Pletcher said about Carpe Diem's win.

Pletcher said earlier that the Blue Grass Stakes on April 4 at Keeneland would be next for Carpe Diem.

Fountain of Youth winner Itsaknockout, also trained by Pletcher, is fifth with 50 points followed in the top 10 by Upstart (36), War Story (24), Far Right (22), Ami's Flatter (20) and Prospect Park (20).

On Saturday the Rebel Stakes will go off at Oaklawn Park with 50 points available to the winner. At Laurel Park the Private Terms Stakes will take place with no points involved.

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