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    A trio of Kentucky Derby preps moved three contenders up the ladder on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard. Itsaknockout grabbed the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., International Star took the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, La. and Far Right nailed the $300,000 Southwest (G2) at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. to each plot a course for entry into the Kentucky Derby starting gate on May 2.

    Fountain of Youth

    Bluegrass Singer and Frosted set a moderate pace on the front-end with Upstart just behind the pair in third. Upstart moved through on the rail as the field turned for home and kept on to overcome a late bid by Itsaknockout. Longshot Frammento took third by a neck over Frosted.

    After finishing 2 ¾ lengths behind Upstart, Itsaknockout knocked favorite Upstart out of a win after jockey Luis Saez, aboard Itsaknockout, claimed foul against Jose Ortiz and Upstart for interference at the one-sixteenth pole. After several minutes of review, the stewards ruled in Itsaknockout’s favor and stated that Upstart drifted out and caused Itsaknockout to be carried out and steadied.

    Itsaknockout is trained by Todd Pletcher for Louisville owners Starlight Racing. Making only his third start, the son of Lemon Drop Kid debuted at number two on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 50 points. Upstart, who picked up 20 points, moved into third place with 36 points.

    Risen Star

    International Star proved his LeComte win Jan. 17 at Fair Grounds was no fluke when he cruised to a length victory over War Story in the Risen Star. Keen Ice was another length back in third and St. Joe Bay was 2 ¾ lengths back in fourth.

    Soon after International Star crossed the wire, jockey Kent Desormeaux, aboard runner-up War Story, cried foul on the winner for interference at the first turn. After review by the stewards, the claim was dismissed and the order of finish unchanged.

    International Star, trained by Mike Maker for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, moved into the top position on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 71 points. War Story moved up to fifth place with 24 points.

    Southwest Stakes

    The Southwest was delayed a week after bad weather closed Oaklawn Park on Monday, Feb. 16., but it didn’t dampen a thrilling finish on Sunday. Far Right capitalized on a fast early pace set by frontrunners Mr. Z and Hillbilly Royalty to close from near the back of the field and take the Southwest Stakes by 3/4 lengths over longshot The Truth or Else. Favorite Mr. Z held onto third, a nose behind the Truth or Else.

    Far Right, trained by Ron Moquett, picked up 10 points for his Southwest win and moved into sixth place on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 22 points. The Truth or Else debuted on the leaderboard in 23rd place with six points. The stakes-seasoned Mr. Z picked up two points and moved into ninth place on the leaderboard.

    Photo: Courtesy Gulfstream Park

    Jessie Oswald's picture

    About Jessie Oswald

    I'm a lifetime Louisville resident with a passion for horse racing. When I'm not working as a paralegal or taking care of my family, I follow Thoroughbred racing and love to share the excitement and beauty of the sport with anyone willing to learn!

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