Call Me Mr. Vain gained a narrow advantage just before the finish to prevail by a half-length over Diplomatical in the "Suffolk Downs Showdown" match race between the two horses with the most wins in North America this year.
Call Me Mr. Vain, ridden by Angel Stanley and trained by Mario DeStefano, started from post two. He earned his 11th win of 2003, covering the six furlongs in 1:15. The The Flordia-bred 9-year-old Fiery Best gelding paid $2.80 in the win-only wagering event as the 2-5 favorite.
"I'm elated," said DeStefano, who owns Call Me Mr. Vain with John Mendes. "This was a race between two evenly-matched horses and they were heads apart from flag-fall to finish. And the crowd was into it all the way."
The victory was worth $8,000.
Diplomatical, who entered the match race as the only other Thoroughbred in North America with 10 wins on the year, was game in defeat under Peter Sosa, Jr.
Luis Arzola trains the 6-year-old gelding for High Goal Stable.