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Mar 27, 2015

International Star favored in Louisiana Derby

By: SPORTS NETWORK


New Orleans, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - International Star, winner of two straight local stakes, is the 3-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday's 102nd $750,000 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Race Course.

The Louisiana Derby is part of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points system and provides 100 points to the winning 3-year-old towards a place in the 20- horse starting field for the May 2 Run for the Roses.

Owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, International Star will start the 1 1/8-mile stakes from the far outside post in the nine-horse field. Jockey Miguel Mena will get a leg up from trainer Mike Maker.

International Star has posted consecutive wins at Fair Grounds in the Lecomte and Risen Star Stakes and owns 71 points in the Kentucky Derby points system. The 3-year-old has won half of his eight career starts for $560,979.

"I'm looking forward to going back to Kentucky with a real-live Derby prospect," Ken Ramsey said after the Risen Star. "I'll be 80 years old on Nov. 3 and this is my shot at the Derby. This has been a dream of mine since I was five years old - trying to figure out some way to win that Kentucky Derby."

War Story, second to International Star his last two starts, will leave from post 6 with Joe Talamo getting his first chance to ride the gelding. The chestnut 3-year-old, trained by Tom Amoss, is 4-1 on the morning line.

War Story, owned by Loooch Racing and Chris Dunn, won his first two career races last year but finished second in the Lecomte and Risen Star after a pair of slow starts.

"I'm disappointed that we haven't solved his problem leaving the gate," Amoss said following the Risen Star. "It's something we'll continue to work on and is the difference between winning and losing a race like this. When you break like that, it's such a compromising factor; your options become limited."

War Story has earned $168,600 in his four starts.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will send out Zayat Stables' Mr. Z in this year's Louisiana Derby, with Kent Desormeaux riding from post 2. This will be Desormeaux's first time aboard the chestnut colt, who is also 4-1 in the program.

"We're looking forward to being (at the Louisiana Derby)," Lukas said recently at Oaklawn Park. "I took the blinkers off for this one and he's been training without them and that's helped. He will probably still be forwardly placed."

Mr. Z has just one win in 10 career starts, but has been in the money his last four races. This year he has posted thirds in Oaklawn's Smarty Jones and Southwest Stakes. The colt has banked $544,726.

"I think he'll do fine at the Fair Grounds," Lukas said. "He's probably the most seasoned horse in the field and he deserves to get one of these sooner or later."

Here is the field for the Louisiana Derby from the rail out: Stanford, Florent Geroux; Mr. Z, Kent Desormeaux; Defondo, Brian Hernandez Jr.; Fusaichi Flame, Francisco Torres; A Day In Paradise, Kerwin Clark; War Story, Joe Talamo; Keen Ice, James Graham; St. Joe Bay, Robby Albarado; International Star, Miguel Mena.

The Louisiana Derby has an approximate post time of 6:24 p.m. ET.



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