International Star is one of two New York-breds (the other is Upstart) who captured Kentucky Derby preps in January. His victory in the January 17 Lecomte at Fair Grounds was the second Grade 3 tally of his career, coming after his win in the Grey at Woodbine in October.
The colt was precocious enough to break his maiden at first asking last June at Belmont, winning by 5 1/2 lengths going six furlongs on the turf.
In other stakes appearances at two, the bay finished second in the Rockville Centre on dirt at Belmont, which was restricted to state-breds, and followed that up with a second in the With Anticipation on the turf at Saratoga.
International Star concluded 2014 with a ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita and a fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. The latter field included El Kabeir, a multiple graded stakes winner, and the highly-rated Imperia, who had previously captured a Grade 3 on the grass.
The Lecomte, which he won by 2 1/2 lengths at odds of 9-1, was the first win in three tries on dirt for the son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus.
International Star was surprisingly sent away at odds of 7-2 in the next round of Fair Grounds preps, the February 21 Risen Star, and again enjoyed a perfect trip. Saving ground all the way, the colt rallied up the inside in the stretch to post a one-length victory. He earned a career-best 97 BRIS Speed rating.
The $750,000 Louisiana Derby on March 28 was International Star’s final Kentucky Derby prep and it turned out much like the Lecomte and Risen Star, although he to work much harder to get past the Todd Pletcher-trained Stanford. The winning margin was a neck, and he earned a 99 BRIS Speed rating.