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Thu 26/03/2015 - 16:10 EDT

Stage is Set For a Thriller in $750,000 Louisiana Derby

A field of nine three year-old colts is set to contest the $750,000 Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at 1 1/16 miles in what figures to be the final Kentucky Derby prep for some runners and the last chance to make the field for others. 

International Star (3/1) is already a likely Kentucky Derby starter and the one to beat after recording consecutive victories in the Grade 3 LeComte and Grade 2 Risen Star – the two local prep races for the Louisiana Derby.  Trained by Michael Maker, International Star is unbeaten as a three year-old and has shown the ability to overcome traffic while unleashing strong stretch moves in both starts this year.  International Star, winner of 4 starts in 8 career races, will break from post nine with regular rider Miguel Mena aboard. 

War Story trying to turn the tables 

War Story (4/1) finished second behind International Star in the LeComte and Risen Star while attempting to overcome slow starts in both.  The Tom Amoss trainee has two wins to go with the two runner-up finishes in four career starts, and will get the services of Joe Talamo – the fourth different jockey to ride the Northern Afleet colt in his brief career.  War Story posted an exceptional work March 18 at Fair Grounds in preparation for the Louisiana Derby covering five furlongs in 58.4 seconds – the fastest of 17 works.   

New shooter has live look  

Stanford (5/1) emerges as a fresh face in the field after finishing second in the 1 1/8 mile Islamorada Stakes March 6 at Gulfstream.  The Todd Pletcher was impressive in that start considering he earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure while racing beyond six furlongs for the first time in his career.