International Star sweeps preps

Ken & Sarah Ramsey's International Star capped a trio of 3-year-old prep wins at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots March 28 with a game victory over pacesetter Stanford in the $750,000 Louisiana Derby.

International Star and jockey Miguel Mena closed up the inside from seventh in a field of nine and had to work to put away the tenacious Stanford inside the furlong grounds of the 1-1/8-mile test, but edged ahead just in time to win by about half a length. War Story finished third.

The 3-year-old New York-bred son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus gave the Ramseys their second Louisiana Derby victory in a row, coming on the heels of the 2014 score of Vicar's In Trouble. The win, worth 100 points on the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, vaulted him to the top of the leaderboard with 171.

International Star won the Jan. 17 LeComte Stakes and took the Feb. 21 Risen Star Stakes before winning the Louisiana Derby in 1:50.67 on a fast track. The Louisiana Derby was his fourth graded score overall -- he aced the Grey Stakes on Polytrack at Woodbine as a 2-year-old, then was fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs in November before coming to Fair Grounds to put together his hat trick for trainer Mike Maker.

"I'm gonna take some of this sand back and sprinkle it back on Churchill Downs," Maker said.

Off the slight favorite at odds of 2-1, International returned $6.60, $3.60, and $2.60. Stanford paid $7 and $4.80 while War Story brought $2.80.

Bred by Katharine M. Voss & Robert T. Manfuso out of the French Deputy mare Parlez, International Star was an $85,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2013 Eastern fall yearling sale purchase by Patrice Miller and EQB, agent, when consigned by Chanceland Farm. He improved his record to five wins and two seconds from nine starts.