Delightful Kiss Smacks Iowa Derby Rivals

Delightful Kiss proved his 3 1/2-length victory in the Ohio Derby (gr. II) at odds of 24-1 earlier this month was no fluke when he rallied six wide in the stretch to capture the $250,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows Friday night.

The Hobeau Farm homebred -- a 3-year-old gelded gray son of Kissin Kris--Deputy's Delight (French Deputy) -- gave the low-profile trainer Pete Anderson more reasons to smile with his 1 1/4-length win over 59-1 shot Flashstorm, who set a serious pace but gave in late. The winning time for the 1 1/16-mile test was 1:42.

Anderson has now won three times with nine starters in 2007 -- and Delightful Kiss is responsible for all of the wins and all but one of the starts.

Ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez, Delightful Kiss was devoid of early speed while breaking from the extreme outside. Flashstorm, with Terry Thompson up, fought Sahara Heat through early fractions of :23 1/5 and :46 2/5. Flashstorm squirted away briefly as the back markers moved into position after he completed six furlongs in 1:10 2/5. But though the D. Wayne Lukas trainee fought back gamely in the lane, he could not hold off the belated rally of Delightful Kiss, who rallied six wide under heavy urging from Sanchez.

Sent off as the fourth choice in the field of 11, Delightful Kiss paid $12.80, $6.40 and $4. Flashstorm held second by 2 1/4 lengths, returning $38.60 and $14.40 (for a $358.60 exacta) while Going Ballistic rallied from last under M.C. Berry and was $6.20 to show.

The Todd Pletcher trainee Winstrella took significant late action to go off the 9-5 favorite in his stakes debut but faded in the stretch after a ground-saving run for John Velazquez, finishing sixth.

Carrying co-top weight of 122 pounds Friday night, the Florida-bred Delightful Kiss was coming off a stunning victory in the Ohio Derby at Thistledown June 2 when he drew off following a quick surge under Sanchez. He was not quite as crisp this time but the gelding had enough to overcome his wide berth and edge away late. Delightful Kiss has won three of eight this season and sports an overall record of 4-2-2 in 13 starts with earnings of $476,937. The victory was worth $150,000.

Delightful Kiss ran fourth, 11 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Curlin, in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) in April, and also posted a third-place finish to Street Sense in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) prior to that.

Second choice Try to Fly checked in fourth, followed by Loose Leaf, Winstrella, Codio, Sahara Heat, Who Let the Cat In, Visions in Color and Greeley's Conquest. Candid Image, Speedway and Sumac scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)

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