Army Wife Marches To Iowa Oaks Victory; Stilleto Boy Tiptoes On Lead For Derby Upset - Horse Racing News

Coming off an impressive victory in the Grade 2 George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on May 14, Army Wife invaded Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, to take Friday night’s Grade 3, $225,000 Iowa Derby by 3 3/4 lengths as the even-money favorite.

The Oaks was one of two graded stakes on the night, along with the G3 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap. The third big race of the evening was the $250,000 Iowa Derby

Trained by Mike Maker and racing for W. Kirk Wycoff’s Three Diamonds Farm, Army Wife was ridden to victory by Joel Rosario, who was aboard the Declaration of War filly for the first time in the Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico. She covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.10 and paid $4 to win, It was her fourth victory from nine career starts.

Shesa Mystery finished second, with 8-5 second choice Pauline’s Pearl 2 1/2 lengths farther back in third and The Grass Is Blue fourth in the field of six 3-year-old fillies. Sister Annie finished fifth, with Windmill trailing the field. Oliviaofthedesert was scratched.

Rosario was content to secure a cozy spot on the rail aboard Army Wife, who raced in fourth position early and in the run down the backstretch. Sister Annie hung up fractions of :24.27, :48.18 and 1:12.06 for the first six furlongs, with Shesa Mystery putting pressure on her going into the far turn.

Sister Annie and Shesa Mystery battled for the lead on the turn for home, but Rosario had them both measured, swinging Army Wife off the rail three wide into the stretch, hitting the front nearing the eighth pole and drawing off for the victory.

In the $250,000 Iowa Derby, New York-based jockey Jose Ortiz gunned Stilleto Boy to the lead at the start and the Kentucky-bred gelding by Shackleford relaxed on the front end, repelled a challenge from Flash of Mischief around the far turn, then cruised to victory by 4 1/2 lengths.

Trained by Doug Anderson and bred by John and Iveta Kerber, the Iowa Derby winner is owned by the Kerbers, Michael Coleman, Aaron Kennedy and trainer Anderson. Stilleto Boy was winning for the second time in seven career starts, having earned his maiden diploma in his fifth start, going wire to wire at Oaklawn Park on April 17. In his most recent start, Stilleto Boy finished fourth after never getting the lead in the Prairie Mile Stakes at Prairie Meadows on June 4.

Sent off  the longest shot in the field of six (following scratches of Proxy, Bourbon Thunder and Snow House), Stilleto Boy paid $35.40 for the win. He ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.64 after setting fractions of :23.79, :47.73, 1:11.48 and 1:36.12.

“We wanted him on the front end and Jose did a fantastic job of getting him there,” said Andersen.

Flash of Mischief, who chased Stilleto Boy throughout, held second as a 12-1 outsider for trainer Karl Broberg, with Gagetown2 1/2 lengths back in third and 2-1 second choice Super Stock a neck back in fourth. Nova Rags, the 9-5 favorite, finished fifth, with Rightandjust trailing the field.

Jose Ortiz and Stilleto Boy upset the Iowa Derby


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