2015 Louisiana Derby Picks and Analysis - International Star a
Race 11, Fair Grounds, Saturday, March 28, 2015
3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8-miles, Dirt, Purse: $750,000
Louisiana Derby Picks
1. International Star
2. War Story
3. Mr. Z
Louisiana Derby Analysis
The only reason we’re taking a look at today’s 102nd running of the Louisiana
Derby-G2 is because the odds seem out of whack.
In our minds International Star should be 2-1 on the morning line while
contenders War Story, Mr. Z and the remainder of the field can fight for
the scraps at 4-1 or better. But the morning line on International Star
is listed as 3-1 and numerous other horses including War Story, Mr. Z, Keen
Ice and Stanford appear to be taking money, which might leave International
Star at an overlay price.
Of course, at post time things could change, but if International Star
remains at 3-1, he looks like the overlay of the day to us, and here’s why.
International Star is a rallier in a race loaded with speed. The horse
many are tabbing to upset him, War Story, has had two chances to defeat
him without success. In both of his last two starts, The Le Comte-G3 and
the Risen Star-G2, War Story has finished second behind International Star.
In both those races War Story was off slow and outside, while International
Star took the inside track to win. But International Star also had minor
trouble in both those races, having to wait to make his winning runs.
The most telling race was the Le Comte, in which War Story got the jump
on International Star in the stretch, but the latter found room and accelerated
between horses to win. And that’s the difference between these two horses.
International Star has a turn of foot he can use to win late and War Story
Both horses have exceptional trainers. Tom Amoss conditions War Story and
he’s operating at a 29% clip. Michael Maker trains International Star and
he’s winning at a 22% clip on the year, although he’s operating at an uncharacteristically
low 11% right now at Fair Grounds. Tom Amoss might be the better horseman
of the two, but International Star is the better horse.
International Star drew the widest post for the Louisiana Derby while War
Story is in Post 6, but International Star also drew a wide post in the
Risen Star and was able to work out an inside trip. This race just seems
to be an exact replica of the last, with a hotter pace and an extra furlong
The race sets up with numerous horses that could take the lead if they
so desire including Stanford, A Day in Paradise, St. Joe Bay, Fusaichi Flame
and Mr. Z. The latter has some class and gets blinkers off for this race
but he’s an erratic sort that just can’t seem to get out of his own way
and into the winner’s circle.
If the blinkers off angle works for Mr. Z and Hall of Fame trainer Wayne
Lukas, he could make a big run and open up into the stretch, but he’s unpredictable,
and even if he does open up into the stretch you can’t depend on him.
The pace should be fast, which will set the race up for ralliers International
Star, War Story and Keen Ice. Of the two speed horses that could stick around,
we’ll give Mr. Z and St. Joe Bay the edge.
Even at 5/2, International Star is enticing based on the race setup and
past performance. We’ll bet International Star to win and take him on top
of War Story and Mr. Z in the exacta, reversing the exacta for about a third
of the amount just in case. And we might even play an additional $1 exacta
wheel with International Star up and down to the board if the payoffs are
We’ll do the same in the trifecta, using International Star on top of War
Story and Mr. Z with all in third. In the superfecta we’ll use International
Star on top with War Story and Mr. Z in second and third and all in fourth.
We’ll also use War Story and Mr. Z in second and fourth, with all in the
third position. And what the heck, how about International Star on top in
the superfecta, with all in second with Mr. Z and War Story in third and