The Grade II race, at a mile and three-sixteenths on the turf, is the second leg of the Mid-America Triple that began with the Arlington Classic at a mile and a sixteenth on May 24 and concludes with the Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes on Aug. 9. The American Derby is also one of three graded stakes races on turf that comprise Arlington's Million Preview Day that also includes the Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap for older runners and the Grade III $150,000 Modesty Handicap for fillies and mares.
A son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Tiznow, Tizdejavu was a wire-to-wire winner of the Grade III Crown Royal American Turf on May 2, taking that mile and a sixteenth race by a neck. The following month, the Gregory Fox trainee employed similar tactics en route to a four-length tally in the Grade II Jefferson Cup Stakes. The bay colt picks up the services of Arlington’s leading rider Rene Douglas for the first time in the American Derby.
Listed as 3-1 second choice in the line is Robert Costigan’s Great War Eagle, runner-up in the Group III Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown in Ireland in his last start. The Storm Cat colt, trained by David Wachman, will be making his North American debut Saturday and will be ridden by California-based jockey Jose Valdivia Jr.
Leading the local contingent of horses for the American Derby are Frank Calabrese’s Prime Realestate (Earlie Fires) and Team Block’s Amazing Results (Miguel Mena). The former, a son of Prime Timber, was second in the Arlington Classic last time out, while the latter, by Grand Slam, beat fellow Illinois-breds in the $93,950 Springfield Stakes on June 21.
Completing the field for the American Derby are: Joseph Allen et. al.’s Blue Exit (Jesse Campbell); Barry Golden & Peter Callaghan’s Sr. Henry (Eddie Razo); Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Ablaze With Spirit (Shaun Bridgmohan); and Uptown Racing LLC’s Boss Lafitte (James Graham).