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    It was a weekend of international Kentucky Derby preps with the UAE Derby (Group II) in Dubai, UAE, the Florida Derby (G1) in Hallandale, Fla. and the Louisiana Derby (G2) in New Orleans, La. The winner of each race earned 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system, which moved into the final stage of the championship series Saturday. Those 100 points guarantee the winner a berth in the May 2 Kentucky Derby (G1).

    Florida Derby

    Trainer Todd Pletcher had two runners in Gulfstream Park’s $1,000,000 Florida Derby (G1)—Itsaknockout, who placed first through disqualification to be named the Fountain of Youth (G2) winner, and Materiality, who only made his first race two months ago. But Pletcher would win with the less experienced of his two entries, Materiality. Undefeated in only two career starts, Materiality proved that he belonged with the big dogs.

    Pressing longshot Jack Tripp through the first half of the 1 1/8 mile route, Materiality overcame his rival and soon met a new rival in Fountain of Youth (G2) runner-up, Upstart. It quickly became a match race between the stakes-seasoned Upstart and the stakes-neophyte Materiality. As the pair put more and more distance between themselves and their rivals, Materiality responded when jockey John Velazquez asked for more and finally put away Upstart and his rider Jose Ortiz, the margin of victory at 1 ½ lengths. It was another 12 ½ lengths to Ami’s Flatter in third place and seven more back to Itsaknockout in fourth.

    Materiality gained 100 points for the victory and debuted in third place on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 100 points and earnings of $632,028. Upstart added 40 points for a total of 76 points, and moved up to fourth place. Ami’s Flatter gained 20 points to move into 14th place, while Itsaknockout added 10 for 60 points, moving into 9th place. 

    Louisiana Derby

    Mike Maker’s Risen Star (G2) winner, International Star, picked up his third straight victory for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey when he took Fair Ground Racecourse’s $750,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) in a field of nine 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 mile on the dirt. It was nearly a repeat of the Risen Star with three of the top four finishers having hit the board in the earlier prep.

    Todd Pletcher’s Stanford set the early pace and looked like he could go wire-to-wire heading into the stretch, but International Star was already making his move from well back in the field. Under strong urging by jockey Miguel Mena, International Star wore down the leader and prevailed by a neck. War Story, who was second in the Risen Star, finished 4 ¼ lengths back in third, with Keen Ice, third in the Risen Star, another 2 ¼ lengths back in fourth.

    International Star picked up 100 points and moved into first place on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 171 points. Stanford gained 40 points and debuted in 15th place, while War Story added 20 points and moved up to 12th place. Keen Ice picked up 10 points and secured 18th on the leaderboard with 22 points. 

    UAE Derby

    The Dubai World Cup, the richest day in racing, included the $2 Million UAE Derby (Group II) going 1 3/16 mile over the main track at Meydan Race Course in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

    Mubtaahji earned his third victory in four starts for the year and fourth in his career when he cruised down the stretch to an easy victory over his rivals. Trainer Mike de Kock announced soon after his trainee Mubtaahji dominated the field of 10 in the UAE Derby that he planned to send his runner to the Kentucky Derby.

    Mubtaahji gained 100 points for the victory and debuted in second place on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 100 points and earnings of $1,400,000. Maftool added 40 points and debuted in 13th place. 

    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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