Despite drifting out in the stretch run, Shamoan held off the outsider Apache Point to win the $250,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows Friday night.
Ridden by Jose Valdivia, the Irish-bred gelded son of Monashee Mountain outbid 11-10 favorite Thor's Echo for the lead at the head of the stretch and went on to register a one-length victory in his second start of his 11-race career on dirt. Thor's Echo came home third, 2 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up Apache Point. Shamoan overcame a bumping incident with the Apache Point after the challenger hooked up with the winner in mid-stretch.
The final time for the 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-olds was 1:43.
Shaun Bridgmohan, aboard Apache Point, lodged a claim of foul over the brush, but it was not allowed.
"He really surged," Valdivia said. "I thought I was going to be beaten at the sixteenth pole and that's just the way the horse is.
"Right now, I think the sky is the limit. I was so confident turning for home and I was just kind of waiting for someone to come with me. He kind of surprised me (when) I called on him and he really accelerated."
Eoin Harty trains Shamoan, who began his career in Ireland, for owners P.R. and Linda Laird. Shamoan, who has never finished out of the money, made his main track debut in his last start with a second-place finish behind Southern Africa in the Lone Star Derby (gr. III) May 14. Shamoan won for the second time to go with six places and three thirds and earnings of $281,780.
Alex Hassinger saddled the winner for his boss Harty.
"He had a lot of habits," Hassinger said of Shamoan. "He used to lug in (during) works and in races. He's over a lot of those things. I think he's still learning. I think there's a huge upside to this horse.
"I think he'll probably stay on the dirt. I think he learned more today (with) this, obviously, being his first stakes win. I think that should propel him a little further."
Thor's Echo, with Corey Nakatani aboard, set the early pace under pressure, setting fractions of :23 2/5 and :46 4/5 before giving way to Shamoan coming off the far turn. Apache Point, stalking the pace toward the rear of the seven-horse field, rallied three deep on the turn and got on even terms with a sixteenth of a mile to go. After the two brushed, Shamoan edged away in the final 50 yards.
The second choice, Shamoan paid $6.20, $4 and $2.40. The chestnut earned $150,000 for the victory.
Apache Point returned $13.80 and $3.60. Thor's Echo was $2.20 to show.