Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus) wore down Stanford (Malibu Moon) in deep stretch to post a neck victory in Saturday’s $750,000 Louisiana Derby (G2), completing a sweep of the three-year-old graded stakes at the Fair Grounds oval.
Trained by Mike Maker and ridden by Miguel Mena, International Star will head to the Kentucky Derby as one of the points’ leaders, increasing his total to 171 with the 100-point winner’s prize.
A New York-bred son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, International Star also captured the January 17 Lecomte Stakes (G3) and February 21 Risen Star (G2) at the New Orleans oval.
Stanford, who was making his first attempt in a scoring race, led most of the way in the 1 1/8-mile event, establishing splits in :24, :48 2/5 and 1:13 1/5. He dug in gamely when confronted but could not withstand the late charge of the winner, who rallied gamely into contention on the far turn before proving best.
International Star completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:50.67.
Stanford picked up 40 points while finishing 4 ¼ lengths clear of third-placer War Story, who picked up another 20 points and should also be in good shape for the Kentucky Derby field with a total of 44.
Keen Ice finished another 2 ¼ lengths back in fourth, increasing his ledger to 22 points, and could find himself on the bubble for the 20-horse field if he doesn’t run back in another scoring race.
A complete recap of the Louisiana Derby from the brisnet.com can be found here.