Derby Contenders

Prep Race History

PDF Download Past Performances
Date Race Grade Distance Finish Chart Replay
Apr 14 2012 Arkansas Derby Oaklawn Park I 1 1/8 Miles 9 REPLAY
Mar 17 2012 Rebel Oaklawn Park II 1 1/16 Miles 2 REPLAY
Feb 25 2012 Risen Star Fair Grounds II 1 1/16 Miles 9 REPLAY
Jan 16 2012 Smarty Jones Oaklawn Park 1 Mile 6 REPLAY
Nov 26 2011 Kentucky Jockey Club Churchill Downs II 1 1/16 Miles 4 REPLAY
Nov 5 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Churchill Downs I 1 1/16 Miles 8 REPLAY
Oct 8 2011 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity Keeneland I 1 1/16 Miles (S) 3 REPLAY


D. Wayne Lukas


Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas is a four-time Kentucky Derby winner and will saddle his record 48Th Derby starter in 2015. A four-time Eclipse Award winner (1985-87 and 1994), Lukas is the all-time leading money winner and the first to reach the $200 million plateau. He saddled a record six straight Triple Crown race winners starting in 1994 and has a record 14 overall winners of Triple Crown events. The 78-year-old horseman, known in racing circles as the “Coach,” is also responsible for 20 individual Breeders’ Cup winners and has led the trainers’ standings by money earned on 14 occasions during his illustrious career. 

Jon Court


Court grew up in Ponce Inlet, Florida and began his riding career in 1980 in Colorado at Centennial Park. Court has notched over 3,000 career victories and has won riding titles at Oaklawn Park, Hoosier Park, and Ellis Park. Court has won several major stakes races including the Citation Handicap (G1) and the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap aboard Leroidesanimaux. In 2011, we won the $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby on Archarcharch and he scored international success with his win in the 2003 Japan Dirt Cup aboard Fleetsreet Dancer.

Calumet Farm


Calumet Farm, based in Lexington, Kentucky, was established in 1924.  The farm is most notable for its two triple crown winners - Whirlaway and Citation - and eight Kentucky Derby winners.  In addition, the farm has bred and/or raced five horses recognized as "Horse of the Year".  Brad Kelley became the farm's operator in May 2012, and almost immediately celebrated a Preakness win with his colt, Oxbow, also a Derby contender.  Kelley was born and raised in Bowling Green, Kentucky and found much success following his teenage role as the secretary of his high school's Future Farmers of America club.  Kelley pursued a career in manufacturing and land investment, and he  is also very active in environmental and wildlife conservation.  Kelley is recognized as the 4th largest landowner in the United States.

  • Photo: Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs


English Channel--Indy Pick, by A.P. Indy

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Stamina is not an issue for Optimizer, a son of champion turf horse English Channel and an A.P. Indy mare.

English Channel was a top turf marathoner for three straight seasons, and the $5.3 million-earner capped his career with a seven-length romp in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Turf. The plucky chestnut was also a two-time winner of two other premier turf events, the United Nations Stakes (both times setting a new course record at Monmouth) and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational. Considering that he lost by just a head in his first Joe Hirsch as a three-year-old, English Channel came close to an unprecedented three-peat in Belmont's 1 1/2-mile showpiece. The admirably consistent campaigner won or placed in 18 of 23 lifetime starts, while competing much of the time against the best company.

A representative of the Mr. Prospector male line, English Channel is by leading sire Smart Strike. His first crop turned three this year, and besides Optimizer, includes Santa Anita Derby third Blueskiesnrainbows, Grade 3-placed filly Ann of the Dance and recent Florida-bred turf stakes winner Star Channel. Since English Channel developed during his sophomore season, and reached his peak as an older horse, his progeny should also improve with maturity. One would logically also expect them to excel on turf.

Optimizer is out of the well-bred Indy Pick, a Phipps Stable homebred, who crushed a 1 1/8-mile allowance on the Belmont Park dirt as a three-year-old. Retired after just six starts, she has previously produced two runners, and one winner, but Optimizer is by far her best foal to date.

Indy Pick is by the world-class sire A.P. Indy. A son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew and a half-brother to Preakness winner and Derby runner-up Summer Squall, A.P. Indy needs little introduction. Winner of the Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic during his Horse of the Year campaign in 1992, he unfortunately missed out on running in the Kentucky Derby after being scratched the morning of the race due to foot issues.

A.P. Indy's remarkable stallion career resulted in such noted offspring as Horse of the Year Mineshaft, champions and classic winners Bernardini and Rags to Riches, champion juvenile filly Tempera, and Grade 1 victors Golden Missile, Aptitude, Music Note, Tomisue's Delight, Secret Status, Stephen Got Even, and numerous others. Many of the aforementioned excelled at 1 1/4 miles and beyond.

A.P. Indy has also exerted influence as a broodmare sire. His daughters have produced such notables as 2010 Kentucky Derby hero Super Saver, champion fillies Royal Delta and Wait a While, last year's Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty, Any Given Saturday, Bluegrass Cat, Morning Line and Untouched Talent (the dam of Derby rival Bodemeister).

Indy Pick, a half-sister to multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter/miler Finder's Fee, hails from a terrific female line. They were both produced by the Mr. Prospector mare Fantastic Find, heroine of the nine-furlong Hempstead Handicap. This is the family of champion and millionaire Heavenly Prize (herself the dam of Good Reward and Pure Prize) and multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Dancing Spree, among others.

Optimizer's pedigree features close (3x3) inbreeding to Mr. Prospector, the paternal grandsire of English Channel and the broodmare sire of Indy Pick.

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