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Kentucky Derby Contenders Bio & Profiles

The G2 UAE Derby has rarely produced legitimate Kentucky Derby contenders, but this son of Dubawi (IRE) figures to attract plenty of support in the Run for the Roses after he dominated in Dubai with an eight-length victory on March 28. Jockey Christophe Soumillon, who was aboard for the first time, guided Mubtaahij to a perfect trip from his rail post, settling behind three dueling leaders around the first turn. After a fourth runner joined the fray heading down the backside, two began to retreat and the Mike de Kock trainee circled around the remaining duo and took charge in route to his romp in which he was geared down approaching the wire. His final time of 1:58.35 for 1,900 meters, about 1 3/16 miles, contested over Meydan's new dirt course earned an estimated 95 Beyer Speed Figure. As part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying series, the UAE Derby victory also earned Mubtaahij 100 points and landed him at second on the leaderboard to get in the gate on the first Saturday in May. The colt has only been out of the exacta once in seven starts, that being his career debut at Newmarket last October. He then broke his maiden at Meydan on New Year's Eve and followed that up with a score in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial. Mubtaahij came up a head short in the G3 UAE 2000 Guineas then rebounded with a decisive win in the Al Bastakiya S. to set him up for his runaway Derby performance. Bred in Ireland by Dunmore Stud Ltd, the bay is out of the Pennekamp mare Pennegale (IRE) and was foaled on April 28, 2012. He was purchased for $599,760 by Form Bloodstock at the 2013 Arqana Deauville August Yearlings Sale. The Sheikh Mohd bin Khalifa al Maktoum color-bearer has amassed earnings of $1,461,332 with his 7-4-1-0 record. A Kentucky Derby start would be a first for de Kock, who said Mubtaahij will fly to Kentucky in mid-April and settle in at Churchill Downs. read more on Mubtaahij

Dubai Sky
Already proven on turf, this son of Candy Ride switched to synthetic and became a G1 Kentucky Derby contender by easily defeating 10 rivals in the G3 Spiral S. on March 21 at Turfway Park. With Jose Lezcano in the irons for the first time, Dubai Sky assumed an early stalking position from his outside post position. The pair launched a bid on the far turn and took command in the stretch, drawing away for a final margin of 2 ¼ lengths over the highly-regarded Conquest Typhoon. The colt hit the wire in the 1 1/8m contest in 1:50.26 and earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure, 14 points better than the 78 he was given in each of his previous two races. The Spiral score propelled Dubai Sky to seventh on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with a total of 50 qualifying points. Bill Mott's charge made all of his prior starts on grass. As a juvenile, he finished third in his career debut at Saratoga then won maiden and optional claiming contests at Belmont Park and Gulfstream Park, respectively. Dubai Sky made his sophomore and stakes debut in Gulfstream's Kitten's Joy S., which he won by a head in a gutsy battle. Bred in Kentucky by Besilu Stables, LLC, which owns the bay in partnership with Three Chimneys Farm, Dubai Sky is out House of Danzing, by Chester House, and was foaled on February 5, 2012. While running his record to 5-4-0-1, the colt has banked $439,080. His connections made him a late nominee to the Triple Crown after the Spiral and Dubai Sky will train at Churchill Downs while they determine whether or not to have him make his dirt debut in the Kentucky Derby. read more on Dubai Sky

Royal Son
This WinStar Farm, LLC homebred earned himself a trip down the Triple Crown trail with a romping upset in Turfway Park's listed John Battaglia Memorial S. on February 28. Sent to post as a rare 9-1 shot for trainer Todd Pletcher, Royal Son gunned it from the gate and wired the 10-horse field that included heavy odds on favorite The Great War, who pressed the Tiznow colt early before bleeding through Lasix and stopping to a last-place finish more than 31 lengths behind the winner. With locally-based jockey Rodney Prescott in the saddle for the first time, Royal Son covered the 1 1/16m in 1:46.84 and was awarded a terrific 103 BRIS Speed Rating, a whopping 18 points higher than his previous best of 85 in two races. The bay began his career with two runner-up efforts at Saratoga last summer and finished second yet again in his seasonal debut in a January 8 maiden contest at Gulfstream Park. But Royal Son was elevated to the top spot that day when winner Tradesman was disqualified to sixth for interference. Pletcher then shipped his charge to Tampa Bay Downs where he was a dull seventh in the January 31 G3 Sam F. Davis S. under regular rider John Velazquez. Out of the A.P. Indy daughter Mama Nadine, the Kentucky-bred has a pedigree laden with stamina and his second dam is 1997 Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Countess Diana. Royal Son also has an early foal date of January 25, 2012. The colt has banked $133,825 while racking up his 5-2-2-0 record and will get a shot at additional earnings, a graded victory and Kentucky Derby qualifying points in Turfway's G3 Spiral S. on March 21. In the meantime, he'll train with Pletcher's string at Palm Beach Downs in south Florida. read more on Royal Son

This Todd Pletcher trainee has had something of a meteoric rise from time he launched his career in a December 7 Gulfstream Park maiden race until he was crowned champion of that track's G2 Fountain of Youth S. on February 21. Itsaknockout delivered a late blow to favored stablemate Old Mountain Lane when he closed to nail that one at the wire in his 7F December debut. Not surprisingly, the son of Lemon Drop Kid was the favorite when he returned four weeks later to progress through his conditions in a 1m optional claiming contest. With Luis Saez aboard once again, Itsaknockout used the same stalk and pounce style, but this time drew off for a sharp 5 ¼-length score against seven overmatched rivals. The waters were much deeper on the 1 1/16m Fountain of Youth, as the colt faced the top four finishers from Gulfstream's G2 Holy Bull S., including winner Upstart, and three more experienced rivals. Under Saez, Itsaknockout tracked the early leaders and moved outside through the second turn. He was carried out by Upstart and forced to check through the final sixteenth before winding up second under the wire 2 ¾ lengths behind that foe. Saez immediately lodged an objection against Upstart and, following a lengthy review, the stewards agreed that Itsaknockout had been impeded and elevated him to the top spot. The race's final time was 1:46.28, and Itsaknockout was given a 91 BRIS Speed Rating, 11 points below his career top in his prior race. Bred in Kentucky by Brookfield Stud, the bay is out of the Cherokee Run mare Stormy B and was foaled on March 16, 2012. read more on Itsaknockout

Using the same big closing kick that he had displayed in his previous start, this son of Street Boss entered the G1 Kentucky Derby picture on February 14 with an authoritative victory in the G3 El Camino Real Derby over the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate Fields. Jockey Alex Solis executed a perfectly-timed ride in which he reserved Metaboss near the back of the 10-horse field until the final turn of the 1 1/8-mile race then passed his rivals like a freight train on his way to a 2 ½-length win. The Jeff Bonde charge completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.92 and was given a career-best 93 BRIS Speed Rating. Before his graded stakes score, Metaboss ran third at 6 ½F on turf at Santa Anita in his initial outing last October. He was fourth at the same distance in his second start when the Juvenile Turf Sprint S. was moved to the main track on the Breeders' Cup undercard 22 days later. In his first route race, Metaboss finished a good second on Del Mar's grass toBolo, the highly-regarded next out Eddie Logan S. winner. The colt's maiden-breaker came on January 4 when he rallied to take a 1 1/8m turf contest at Santa Anita. Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. John A. Toffan, the chestnut is out of Spinning Yarns, a daughter of Free House and was foaled on May 17, 2012. He was purchased by current part-owner Mersad Metanovic for $10,000 as a weanling at the Keeneland 2012 November Breeding Stock Sale. Metaboss was sold for $60,000 in the Barretts Equine Limited 2014 May Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training but returned, according to Metanovic, who now heads an ownership group that includes 74 members assembled via Facebook. The El Camino Real upped his career earnings to $177,520 and also gave Metaboss 10 qualifying points towards the Kentucky Derby, which landed him at #13 on the leaderboard. His connections are likely to keep him on a synthetic surface for a return in the G3 Spiral S. on March 21 at Turfway Park, though Bonde also mentioned Oaklawn Park as a possible Derby prep destination. read more on Metaboss

Far From Over
After winning at first asking on Aqueduct's inner dirt course in mid-December, the stakes debut for this son of 2010 G1 Breeders' Cup Classic champion Blame looked quickly over when he stumbled out of the gate there and spotted his rivals about six lengths in the G3 Withers S. on February 7. But Far From Over regained his footing and settled well back in the six-horse field as favored El Kabeir and second choice Classy Class dueled on the lead. Jockey Manuel Franco, who took over from Irad Ortiz, Jr., began urging the ridgling with three furlongs left in the 1 1/16m contest and Far From Over responded with a steady advance to collar the leaders in deep stretch and edge away for a 1 ¾-length score over El Kabeir. The Todd Pletcher trainee stopped the clock in 1:43.93 and earned a 96 BRIS Speed Rating, four points higher than that of his initial outing in a 1m 70 yards event. Bred in Kentucky by Alexander Groves Matz, LLC, the bay is out of the A.P. Indy mare Alchemist and was foaled on May 9, 2012. Owner Black Rock Thoroughbreds, LLP paid $550,000 for him at the Keeneland 2013 September Yearling Sale and Far From Over has banked $186,000 with his two victories. The winner's share of the Withers purse and 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points vaulted him to #12 on the leaderboard to run for the roses in May. With Pletcher's need to keep his sophomores separated, Far From Over will remain in New York and likely try to add points and earnings to his Derby resume with a return in Aqueduct's March 7 G3 Gotham S. read more on Far From Over

The Great War
Turfway Park's 96Rock S. isn't typically considered part of the G1 Kentucky Derby trail, but the January 31 contest may well have produced a serious contender for the first Saturday in May. In his first start since finishing a good fourth in the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November, The Great War ran to his 1-9 odds with a 7 ¼-length romp in front of 10 overmatched rivals. With meet-leading rider Albin Jimenez in the irons, the son of War Front pressed the early pace, moved off the rail into the turn to take control and poured it on down the lane for the easiest of scores. The Great War covered the 6 ½F over Polytrack in 1:18.69 and was awarded a 97 BRIS Speed Rating, six points higher than the 91 he earned in his dirt debut in the Juvenile at Santa Anita. The 96Rock was the colt's initial outing for trainer Wesley Ward, who took over for the Ireland-based Aidan O'Brien in order to give the colt an American campaign ahead of the spring classics. The Great War began his career in Ireland last April 24 with a victory on the grass at Tipperary. While racing exclusively in turf sprints in Ireland and Great Britain, he posted two more wins in six starts before switching surfaces and stretching out to 1 1/16m in the Breeders' Cup. Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm, the bay is out of Guide, a daughter of Pulpit, and was foaled on March 25, 2012. Michael V. Magnier signed a whopping $1,000,000 ticket for the colt at the Keeneland 2013 September Yearling Sale on behalf of owners Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Joseph Allen. With the winner's share of the 96Rock's $75,000 purse, which included a $25,000 supplement for Kentucky breds, The Great War upped his career earnings to $248,873. Ward intends to keep his charge with his year-round division in Kentucky for the winter and target Turfway's next two Derby preps, the March 1 listed John Battaglia Memorial S. and the March 22 G3 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral S. read more on The Great War

Mischief Clem
Dismissed at odds of nearly 12-1, this son of Papa Clem became a stakes winner when he upset in the California Cup Derby at Santa Anita on January 24. With all of the action going to unbeaten dual stakes hero Acceptance in this event for California bred or sired sophomores, Mischief Clem rewarded his backers and earned a trip on the Kentucky Derby trail in his seasonal debut. The Robert Hess, Jr. trainee prompted the early pace set by the favorite, battled between rivals leaving the second turn and fought on gamely to the wire to prevail by a head over Pulmarack while Acceptance faded to fourth. Under jockey Kent Desormeaux, Mischief Clem covered the 1 1/16m distance in 1:44.82 and earned a 95 BRIS Speed Rating, the second highest in his six races. The colt began his career with a winning debut versus statebreds at Del Mar at the beginning of September and followed that up with a score in a restricted optional claiming race at Santa Anita. He faced Acceptance for the first time on the undercard of the Breeders' Cup when he checked in third in the Golden State Juvenile S. Back at Del Mar on November 21, he had his only start against open company and just missed in an OC 80000n1x. Mischief Clem's only off-the-board finish came in the December 14 King Glorious S. when he finished a well-beaten fourth behind Acceptance after a meltdown in the Los Alamitos paddock. Bred by SLU, Inc., the bay is out of the Bold Badgett mare Glitteringmischief and was foaled on March 14, 2012. read more on Mischief Clem

International Star

This well-traveled son of 2000 dual classic winner Fusaichi Pegasus hasn't quite become a global sensation, but International Star is now recognized as a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender after a decisive victory in the G3 LeComte S. at Fair Grounds on January 17 vaulted him to second on the leaderboard to run for the roses in May. With jockey Miguel Mena in the irons for the first time, the colt saved ground from his inside post in the 11-horse field, overcame traffic turning into the stretch and shifted out for room at the three-sixteenths pole. International Star circled around leaders Tiznow R J and War Story and kicked clear of those two in route to comfortable final margin of 2 ½ lengths. His final time of 1:41.62 for the 1m 70 yards produced a 94 BRIS Speed Rating, besting International Star's 89 earned in his previous start, a fourth-place finish in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club S. at Churchill Downs in late November. The Mike Maker trainee broke his maiden at first asking in a grassy contest at Belmont Park last June and competed in six juvenile stakes after that while running up a 6-2-2-0 record on turf, synthetic and dirt in 2014. International Star picked 10 Derby points for winning Woodbine's G3 Grey S. and one in the Jockey Club. In between, he finished a better than looked ninth in the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita. Bred in New York by Katharine M. Voss and Robert T. Manfuso, the astutely-named bay is out of Parlez, a daughter of French Deputy, and was foaled March 14, 2012. Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who just earned their fourth Eclipse Award as the nation's Outstanding Owner, purchased him for $85,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2013 Eastern Fall Yearling Sale and International Star has nearly quadrupled that amount with earnings of $320,979. The colt's current total of 21 Derby qualifying points would have been sufficient to get into the starting gate under the Twin Spires in each of the last two years since the system was implemented, and there is little doubt that Ken Ramsey will want him to participate if healthy. International Star returned to Maker's barn in South Florida on the morning after the LeComte and could travel back to New Orleans for the G2 Risen Star S. on February 21 at Fair Grounds.

read more on International Star

Texas Red

Trainer Keith Desormeaux said weeks before the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile that he likely wouldn't run Texas Red in the November 1 race if he had to ship out of town but decided to take a shot with the event in his own backyard at Santa Anita. The colt's dominating victory in the $2 million race turned out to be not only profitable but also emotional when Desormeaux's brother, Hall of Fame jockey Kent, came back from a serious injury in time to ride the son of Afleet Alex right into the winner's circle. While certainly benefitting from the scratches of injured rivals American Pharoah and Calculator, the two runners who finished ahead of him in Santa Anita's G1 FrontRunner S. last out, Texas Red made a jaw-dropping sustained move from the back of the pack to blow by 10 of the division's best in route to a 6 ½-length score over favored Carpe Diem. The colt covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.91 and was awarded a 104 Beyer Speed figure, 11 points higher than his previous best in the FrontRunner with Desormeaux in the irons. Texas Red began his career with a narrow miss under James Graham in an Arlington Park maiden race on Polytrack. He then moved to Southern California with his conditioner and the younger Desormeaux picked up the mount for two races at Del Mar, the second of which was the colt's maiden-breaker at a mile. Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, the bay is out of the Chilean-bred mare, Ramatuelle, a daughter of Jeune Homme, and was foaled on March 15, 2012. Erich Brehm, who owns Texas Red in partnership with his trainer, Wayne Detmar, Lee Michaels, et al., paid just $17,000 for him at the Keeneland 2013 September Yearling Sale. The Breeders' Cup victory boosted the colt's earnings to a whopping $1,192,300 and landed him in second behind Carpe Diem with 12 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to run for the roses next May. Desormeaux said Texas Red would remain in light training with him at Santa Anita before he begins to plan a sophomore campaign. read more on Texas Red

Online Horse Racing graded stakes

Graded Stakes Races

Nov 18

Aqueduct: Hill Prince Stakes ,$250,000 ,3yo ,9f Turf

Churchill Downs: Chilukki Stakes ,$300,000 ,3&up f/m ,8f Dirt

Japan Racing Association: Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai Stakes ,$780,000 ,2yo ,9f Turf

Woodbine: Kennedy Road Stakes ,$175,000 ,3&up ,6f AW

Nov 19

Del Mar: Bob Hope Stakes ,$100,000 ,2yo ,7f Dirt

Japan Racing Association: Mile Championship ,$3,703,000 ,3&up ,8f Turf

Nov 23

Churchill Downs: Cardinal ,$300,000 ,3&up f/m ,9f Turf

Churchill Downs: Falls City ,$400,000 ,3&up f/m ,9f Dirt

Del Mar: Red Carpet Stakes ,$100,000 ,3&up f/m ,11f Turf

Nov 24

Aqueduct: Fall Highweight Handicap ,$200,000 ,3&up ,6f Dirt

Churchill Downs: Clark Stakes ,$600,000 ,3&up ,9f Dirt

Churchill Downs: Mrs. Revere Stakes ,$300,000 ,3yo f ,8.5f Turf

Del Mar: Hollywood Turf Cup ,$200,000 ,3&up ,12f Turf