Ken and Sarah Ramsey's International Star has an ambitious name, but the promising juvenile took a step toward living up to it in Sunday's Grade 3, $138,983 Grey Stakes at Woodbine. Invading from trainer Mike Maker's Trackside Louisville base, the son of Fusaichi Pegasus rallied strongly from off a slow pace to win by 1 1/4 lengths, and earned 10 points toward the 2015 Kentucky Derby.
Before the first Saturday next May rolls around, however, there's the first Saturday in November, and International Star is now set to take his chance in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.
International Star was content to settle in midpack early, but the 5-2 second choice dropped near the back as the field proceeded down the backstretch. Meanwhile, Imperial Dream was carving out splits of :24 3/5, :49 and 1:13 2/5 on the Polytrack.
The 9-5 favorite Conquest Typhoon prompted the leader throughout, launched his bid entering the stretch, and edged clear. The maiden Hollywood Critic, a three-quarter brother to 2006 Canadian Horse of the Year Arravale, also made good progress to loom a threat.
But International Star was gaining momentum for Rafael Hernandez. Finishing best of all, the bay rolled past the battling pair of Conquest Typhoon and Hollywood Critic and completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.
"He broke well and then started laying back into the first turn," Hernandez recapped. "We saved ground all the way and turning for home, I decided to take him outside. Once we got clear he was rolling. I had plenty of horse."
Conquest Typhoon just prevailed for second on a head-bob from Hollywood Critic. There was a 2 1/2-length gap back to Flashaway in fourth, followed by Crown Prince, George McFly, U S Marshal and Imperial Dream.
International Star, who furnished $7.90 to win, improved his record to 4-2-2-0, $190,028. A 5 1/2-length debut winner sprinting on the Belmont inner turf on June 21, he was a distant second in his ensuing stakes attempts. He was beaten seven lengths by Bustin It in the July 13 Rockville Centre going six furlongs on Belmont's main track, and checked in 4 1/2 lengths behind Startup Nation in the August 28 With Anticipation over 1 1/16 grassy miles at Saratoga.
Bred by Katharine M. Voss and Robert T. Manfuso in New York, International Star was purchased for $85,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearlings Sale. He is out of the winning French Deputy mare Parlez, making him a half-brother to stakes scorer Fools in Love. This is the further family of Group/Grade 2 heroes Van Nistelrooy and Halory Hunter as well as Grade 3 winners Prory, Brushed Halory, Key Lory and Stormalory.