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Courageous International Star Looking Good for Kentucky Derby 141

Courageous International Star Looking Good for Kentucky Derby 141: This little horse seems to need to accomplish incredible feats before garnering any respect. Mine That Bird received no respect after the Kentucky Derby when he wasn’t even favored in the Preakness Stakes. Seabiscuit needed to win a match race over War Admiral before many respected him. What does International Star need to do, aside from winning each Kentucky Derby prep he has competed in this year, to garner any respect? He is likely to be upwards of 20-1 on the morning-line for the 141st Kentucky Derby. Sure, International Star hasn’t run against graded stakes horses, but many of the top contenders actually haven’t faced the most amazing competition either.

International Star Kentucky Derby 2015

International Star hasn’t run against graded stakes horses, but many of the top 2015 Kentucky Derby contenders actually haven’t faced the most amazing competition either.
Photo: Reed Palmer / Churchill Downs

The Ramseys, jockey Miguel Mena, and trainer Mike Maker have a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender in International Star. While the odds are stacked against him in some ways, there are some other, perhaps eerie, conditions working in his favor. The last horse to win the Louisiana Derby and then the Kentucky Derby was in 1996 when Grindstone did so. Ironically, Grindstone is the last Kentucky Derby winner to be sired by a Kentucky Derby winner. International Star is attempting to accomplish exactly what Grindstone did as International Star is sired by Fusaichi Pegasus, winner of the 2000 Kentucky Derby.

Ken Ramsey, of Ramsey Farm, spoke to the media, saying, “He’s got the pedigree to get the mile and a quarter. He’s certainly not going to be the favorite of this race, but I don’t think he’s going to be any big longshot, either. The Derby’s a big field, and if we can get a good trip, I think we’ve got the horse, the jockey, and the trainer to get him in there and win it.”

Ramsey is in a new spot with International Star. While the Ramseys seem to be breaking every owner’s record at tracks like Keeneland and Churchill Downs, they are more known for being the owners who campaign all of the “kittens” to victory. The Ramseys have never been in the spot they are in now.

“This is the first time I’ve had a closing dirt horse that doesn’t have to be all that far back and is very versatile.”

Miguel Mena has had only one Kentucky Derby mount, which came in 2010. The jockey finished last, more than seventy lengths behind Super Saver, aboard a horse named Backtalk. This year, he feels that he can win the Kentucky Derby. He even described the small son of Fusaichi Pegasus as “like a Cadillac.” Miguel has expressed a lot of confidence in his mount.

“He just waits for you to call on him, and then he goes,” Miguel said. “Very brave, quick turn of foot, he has everything you need to win this kind of race. A lot of people didn’t see him as good, and he’s proving them wrong.”

While International Star is seemingly bred for the classic distance, he has two successful half-siblings, both sprinters, in Fools in Love and D C Dancer. Mike Maker always had this colt high on his list, getting the New York-bred yearling for a light $85,000. The colt has more than earned back his price tag and is working well going into the Kentucky Derby. His last recorded work was on April 25, going four furlongs in an easy :50.80. His works have never been exceptionally fast, so going easy is nothing to be concerned about with International Star.

“Don’t count out the little guy this time, because even if he doesn’t win, International Star is likely to be there at the end, fighting it out.” Ken Ramsey knows his horse, stating, “but the little horse has got a lot of courage.”

The 141st running of the Kentucky Derby is set to take place at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Gates open early at 8:00 am ET with post time for the first race at 10:30 am ET. Post time for the Kentucky Oaks is approximately 5:45 pm ET on Friday May 1, 2015. Post time for the Kentucky Derby is approximately 6:24 pm ET. Visit for official information.

Kentucky Derby 2015 Contenders
International Star 16-1
Trainer Mike Maker/Jockey Miguel Mena/Owner Ken & Sarah Ramsey
Dortmund 9-2
Trainer Bob Baffertt/Jockey Martin Garcia/Owner Kaleem Shah, Inc.
Carpe Diem 6-1
Trainer Todd Pletcher/Jockey John Velazquez/Owner WinStar Farm, LLC & Stonestreet Stables LLC
American Pharoah 2-1
Trainer Bob Baffert/Jockey Victor Espinoza/Owner Zayat Stables, LLC
Frosted 18-1
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin/Jockey Joel Rosario/Owner Godolphin Racing, LLC
Mubtaahij 9-1
Trainer Mike de Kock/Jockey Christophe Soumillon/Owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum
Materiality 9-1
Trainer Todd Pletcher/Jockey Javier Castellano/Owner Alto Racing, LLC
El Kabeir 25-1
Trainer John Terranova II/Jockey Calvin Borel/Owner Zayat Stables, LLC
Upstart 16-1
Trainer Rick Violette Jr./Jockey Jose Ortiz/Owner Ralph M. Evans
Far Right 33-1
Trainer Ron Moquett/Jockey Mike Smith/Owner Harry T. Rosenblum & Robert V. LaPenta
Itsaknockout 25-1
Trainer Todd Pletcher, Jockey Luis Saez, Owner Starlight Racing
Firing Line 14-1
Trainer Simon Callaghan, Jockey Gary Stevens, Owner Arnold Zetcher
Danzig Moon 33-1
Trainer Mark Casse/Jockey Julien Leparoux/Owner John C. Oxley
War Story 45-1
Trainer Tom Amoss/Jockey Joe Talamo/Owner Christopher T. Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable, Inc.
Tencendur 33-1
Trainer George Weaver/Jockey Manuel Franco/Owner Philip S. Birsh
Stanford 60-1
Trainer Todd Pletcher/Jockey Florent Geroux/Owner Stonestreet Stables LLC (Barbara Banke), Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith
Mr. Z 50-1
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Jockey Ramon Vazquez, Owner Zayat Stables, LLC
Ocho Ocho Ocho 25-1
Trainer Jim Cassidy/Jockey TBD/Owner DP Racing, LLC
Bolo 40-1
Trainer Carla Gaines/Jockey Rafael Bejarano/Owner Golden Pegasus Racing Inc. & Mack
Keen Ice 50-1
Trainer Dale Romans/Jockey Kent Desormeaux/Owner Donegal Racing
Frammento 60-1
Trainer Nick Zito/Jockey TBD/Owner Mossarosa
Bold Conquest 70-1
Trainer Steve Asmussen/Jockey TBD/Owner Ackerley Brothers Farm