Firespike, World Approval Top American Derby
Photo: Coglianese Photos
Multiple stakes winner Firespike
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Multiple stakes winner Firespike and the improving World Approval top the seven-horse field entered in the $100,000 American Derby (gr. IIIT) at Arlington International Racecourse July 11. The 1 1/8-mile turf test is the fifth race and one of four graded stakes on Saturday's eight-race card.

Live Oak Plantation's homebred World Approval has been a model of consistency during his six-race career for trainer Mark Casse, never finishing worse than fourth. Winner of the Sophomore Turf Stakes against other Florida-breds at Tampa Bay Downs in April, World Approval is coming off a game fourth, only 1 3/4 lengths behind winner Divisidero, in the $200,000 Pennine Ridge Stakes at Belmont Park.
"He's a pretty straight-forward horse, and ever since he ran up in New York, he's done very well," assistant trainer Norman Casse said. "We think he'll run well again. We just need to find the right type of race for him. In the right race, he's a stakes winner. He ran as well as he could possibly run (in the Pennine Ridge) and had no excuses. (At Arlington) we would like to get his confidence up with a win."

Previous to the Pennine Ridge, World Approval rallied from far back to finish third, 2 1/2 lengths behind, in Divisidero's victory in the $250,000 American Turf (gr. IIT) on Kentucky Derby Day card at Churchill Downs. In that race, the gelded son of Northern Afleet   was much farther back than usual, closing from nine lengths away and passing nine horses in the stretch.

"He's really one-paced and if we can, we would probably like to be more forwardly-placed with him," Norman Casse said. "He's not a horse who's going to accelerate really fast, but he always tries."

Jose Lezcano, who was aboard for his debutwhen fourth in a rained-off, sloppy and sealed Belmont maiden special weight racereturns in the saddle.

Firespike is also exiting the American Turf after finishing seventh that day, six lengths off the winner. Trained by Mike Maker for Skychai Racing, Charles Kevin Warner, and Sand Dollar Stable, the Florida-bred son of Flower Alley has two restricted stakes wins—OBS Championship and Juvenile Turf Stakesto his credit and was a game third in the grade III $550,000 Spiral Stakes over Turfway Park's Polytrack March 21.

Firespike, the 121-pound highweight, will be ridden for the first time by Julien Leparoux, who had been aboard World Approval in his last two starts.
Harold Lerner's King of New York has been on the board in nine of 11 starts, but did not break his maiden until his eighth outing. The son of Street Boss   has progressed nicely for trainer Ken McPeek, as he has shown a quick turn of foot late in both of his previous starts, a third and a win in allowance company on grass at Churchill Downs. He will be ridden by Robby Albarado in his stakes debut.

Godolphin Racing's Crittenden, a gelded son of Distorted Humor, rallied to win the PDJF Stakes at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in his most recent start May 30. Trained by Eoin Harty, Crittenden posted consecutive victories in a maiden and allowance at Tampa Bay last December.

Rounding out the field are Nun the Less, a Chris Block-trained son of Candy Ride   who is stakes-placed twice; Raagheb, a Shadwell Stable homebred son of Street Cry who has a win and two placings from six starts; and Slope, a Lemon Drop Kid   colt who broke his maiden while racing for a $30,000 claiming tag at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

American Derby (G3T)

Arlington International Racecourse, Saturday, July 11, 2015, Race 5
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo
  • 3:19 PM (local)
11Crittenden (KY)Flavien Prat119Eoin G. Harty-
22Slope (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateConstantino Roman119Pavel Vashchenko-
33Raagheb (KY)Emmanuel Esquivel119Daniel C. Peitz-
44Nun the Less (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlorent Geroux119Chris M. Block-
55King of New York (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRobby Albarado119Kenneth G. McPeek-
66World Approval (FL)Jose Lezcano119Mark E. Casse-
77Firespike (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateJulien R. Leparoux121Michael J. Maker-


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