Ken and Sarah Ramsey's International Star returns to the site of his greatest accomplishments Jan. 16, when the reigning Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner starts in the $60,000 Louisiana Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
After sweeping all three graded stakes for sophomores at the New Orleans oval last year, the compact colt was poised for a run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), but was scratched the morning of the race with heat on the inside quarter of his left front hoof.
The Fusaichi Pegasus colt has raced once since his Louisiana Derby victory—when he finished fourth as the 6-5 favorite in the Zia Park Derby Nov. 25. The Louisiana, like the Zia Park Derby and the New York-bred's victory in last year's Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), is at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
"He had a disastrous trip out to Zia Park," Ken Ramsey said. "That definitely did not turn out as well as we hoped for him. It wasn't so much bad luck as we were probably misguided in sending him out there. We couldn't get transportation and even if we flew him, we would have to van him from there, so it was too many van rides. Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Saturday, January 16, 2016, Race 7
"So, we hauled him all the way from Kentucky in one of my own vans and it didn't go well. I really wanted to get another derby victory for him, since we couldn't run him in the Kentucky Derby.
In 10 lifetime starts for trainer Mike Maker, International Star has won five times, including four graded stakes tallies. To be reunited with Miguel Mena, under whom he is a perfect 3-for-3 in the aforementioned triad of local stakes, the consistent bay has earned more than $1 million and has finished worse than fourth only once—when he came in ninth, beaten 3 1/4 lengths, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) in 2014.
"Right now he's doing well and he loves the track down at the Fair Grounds," Ramsey said. "Hopefully you'll see a different horse this time. We expect him to run his race and hopefully get another stakes win over that track."
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Bashaar (KY) Kerwin D. Clark 118 Kelly Maureen Myers 30/1 2 2Majestic Harbor (KY) Corey J. Lanerie 118 Paul J. McGee 3/1 3 3Ride On Curlin (KY) Patrick A. Valenzuela 118 William G. Gowan 6/1 4 4Coup de Grace (KY) Florent Geroux 118 J. Larry Jones 12/1 5 5Eagle (KY) Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr. 124 Neil J. Howard 2/1 6 6Freestyler (KY) Robby Albarado 118 Joe Sharp 4/1 7 7International Star (NY) Miguel Mena 118 Michael J. Maker 9/2
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Saturday, January 16, 2016, Race 7