Family and Connections: Sire - Sire - War Pass; Dam - Java; trained by Kenny McPeek; rider Julien Leparoux; owner Charles Fipke.
Pros: Comes into Kentucky Derby off a win in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes over Keeneland’s Polytrack in which he chased down Todd Pletcher’s Palace Malice and tagged him at the wire. In one start prior to the Blue Grass, Java’s War finished second to another Pletcher runner, Verrazano, in the Tampa Bay Derby.
Cons: Java’s War has given his best performances when running well off the pace, which can work in a short field or if your jockey is Calvin Borel, but neither will be true in the Kentucky Derby. Java’s War will have jockey Julien Leparoux in the irons, who has not been able to guide better caliber horses with unhindered trips to a win in the Kentucky Derby.
Fun Fact: Owner Charles Fipke is a professional geologist who, in 1991, discovered diamonds in a portion of Canada (Lac de Gras) in which it was thought diamonds did not exist. For 20 years prior he’d been on numerous Indiana Jones-like explorations searching for gold and diamonds. He owned Tale of Ekati, named after the Ekati Mines, who finished fourth in the 2008 Kentucky Derby won by Big Brown.
Analysis: There’s a lot to like with this colt and he seems to be improving since finishing sixth in Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Cup last year. I don’t know that he’s quite ready to take down a field like he’ll meet Derby Day, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish in the top four.