Frosted is a homebred, born under the Darley banner and now racing for Godolphin.
" Frosted was foaled at our Stonerside Farm in Paris, Kentucky," Emma Browne of Darley noted.
"He was a very good-looking individual from the get-go and he had no issues at all whilst he was on the farm.
"He was broken-in in Florida by Eddie Woods. He was always very progressive, professional and very well-liked by Eddie and our Racing Manager, Jimmy Bell.
"He has a strong personality, which we view as a good thing."
But not too strong, as Woods astutely observed.
" Frosted was by Tapit, but he was a good-natured Tapit," Woods said. "Tapits are usually very tough, and he was a more pleasant variety -- not quite as aggressive as some of the Tapits we've had -- and a remarkably good-looking horse."
Woods was also involved in the education of Firing Line, whom he consigned and sold for $240,000, as an agent, at the Keeneland April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale.
" Firing Line is beautiful, bit lengthy, very quiet colt," Woods said. "We had his dad, Line of David, and he was a very quiet colt. That trait passed on."
Bred by Bernard Cleary's Clearsky Farm, Firing Line was always at the front of the class.
"He was up there with our better foals that year," Cleary noted. "He always had a good mind, pretty head, was balanced, and correct. He was always a confident horse and the alpha in his paddock."
Sold as a Keeneland November weanling, Firing Line took up residence at Hidden Brook Farm.
"He was a pretty straightforward colt -- never bothered anyone," Sergio de Sousa of Hidden Brook said.
"Our farm, where he was raised from the time he was purchased at the November sales until sold in July, borders with the farm where Carpe Diem was raised. One may wonder if they had a couple practice runs by the fence line!!"
Firing Line has sold three times at auction, the price rising with each tour of the sales ring. First bringing $65,000 as a weanling, he was gaveled down for $150,000 as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July, and finally resold for $240,000 at the aforementioned Keeneland sale.
"He obviously kept improving, as he sold well as a yearling, and then as a two-year old," Cleary said. "Now as a racehorse, it's great to see that he has done well and has been good to everyone associated with him."
Clifford Barry, who bred Itsaknockout in the name of his Brookfield Stud, likewise remembered him as a good baby.
" Itsaknockout was a very straightforward foal -- ate, slept and played with his buddies," Barry said. "But he always acted like an older horse from day one -- like he could be a nice horse."
First sold for $130,000 as a weanling at Keeneland November, Itsaknockout subsequently commanded $350,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling.
Bolo, who was bred and raised by Spendthrift Farm, was another straightforward youngster.
"Maybe the most remarkable thing about this horse is how unremarkable and how uneventful his upbringing was," Spendthrift General Manager Ned Toffey said of Bolo.
"He was the kind of horse you could almost take for granted because we just never had issues with him. Raising Thoroughbreds these days, you constantly have issues to deal with.
"He was just a good, sound, straightforward, event-free horse. For casual fans that may not sound that interesting, but to somebody who raises Thoroughbreds, it's really appealing!"
Keen Ice was bred by Glencrest Farm, where he too had an uneventful early life.
"We sold Keen Ice when he was just a few months old," Glencrest's Sally Graham said, adding that his handlers "remember him as a nice looking colt."
Sold for $48,000 as a Keeneland November weanling, Keen Ice later brought $120,000 as a yearling the following September.
Ocho Ocho Ocho, on the other hand, left an impression as a high-octane youngster at Siena Farm.
"Ocho was always busy as a foal and yearling," Siena's Julia B. Rice reported.
"He had a ton of energy. #HighEnergy."
A $50,000 Keeneland September yearling, Ocho Ocho Ocho was resold for $200,000 as a two-year-old in training at OBS April. He was listed as Hip No. 888 in that catalog, hence his name.
While most of the Derby runners are Kentucky natives, three New York-breds are making the Empire State proud -- International Star (profiled in Part I of this series), along with Upstart and Tencendur.
Upstart was born at Mrs. Gerald A. Nielsen's Sunnyfield Farm near Bedford on April 13, which happened to be a Friday in 2012. Although he would be registered as officially dark bay, the newborn Upstart looked positively black when he arrived on Friday the 13th.
John Grau, manager at Sunnyfield, said the foal could have only one nickname:
"Lucky's gotta be his name," Grau said.
"He was just an easy horse to be around. He did everything you really asked him to do -- he was just a nice horse to be around.
"We're hoping he draws number 13 in the Kentucky Derby."
Upstart, who was sold as a yearling for $130,000 at Fasig-Tipton's New York-Bred Sale at Saratoga, ultimately drew well wide of that in post 19.
Tencendur is a homebred racing for Philip Birsh, born and raised at his farm near Galway, New York.
The handsome son of Warrior's Reward has a suitably noble name – that of Charlemagne's warhorse in the medieval French epic, The Song of Roland.
Birsh, the president and CEO of Playbill, chose "Tencendur" as the name of a "very famous horse," but also quipped that he wanted to be sure to please his wife, who is French.
Yet baby Tencendur wasn't warlike; on the contrary, he was "a real momma's boy," as Birsh explained.
"He probably spent three days in mourning after we weaned him...like a widow in Little Italy, for days, just wailing away. It was quite a display."
Did Tencendur get involved in antics or escapades?
"None whatsoever -- he's a very kind, and very decent colt," Birsh said.
"I mean, he's so cooperative, and so nice, all he's missing is a leash."
Although Tencendur has always been "physically imposing," he has taken longer to mature mentally as a racehorse.
Birsh credits his whole team for their roles in Tencendur's upbringing and education, from farm manager Mike Tobin all the way through to trainer George Weaver, who has been "slowly developing this big fellow into a really quite impressive racing candidate."
Birsh commented on the similarities between the worlds of racing and theater, chief among them all of the "unknowns" swirling in advance:
"It is so much like theater because you really don't know if the show's a hit until opening night. You have the best cast, the best writers, the best lyricists, the best choreographers, the best directors -- and yet, unless there's some kind of alchemy that comes together and makes gold, you never know until opening night."