The Thoroughbred Corp.'s odds-on favorite Performing Magic edged ahead of 22-1 longshot Mister Deville in the final strides to win the $300,000 Remington Park Derby (gr. III) by a neck Sunday at Remington Park. Del Mar Danny came home third in the field of nine 3-year-olds, 2 3/4 lengths behind Mister Deville. Level Three, Special Prize, Best of K C, Ben the Man, Nature, and Woostershear completed the order of finish. Bravo Bull was scratched.
Over a fast track, Performing Magic completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.36 under jockey Shane Sellers. The son of Gone West -- out of Performing Arts, by The Minstrel -- returned $3.80, $3.40, and $2.40. Mister Deville completed a $41 exacta.
"In the post parade, he felt like he was a little dull," said Sellers. "That's pretty much the way he ran. I think he won on talent alone today."
Making his first start for trainer John Sheriffs, Performing Magic raced in mid-pack while Mister Deville pressed a contentious early pace set alternately by Best of K C and Ben the Man. Mister Deville inherited the lead as the leaders faded, completing six furlongs in 1:11.58 with Performing Magic a head back. Mister Deville led by a half-length after a mile run in 1:37.16 but lost the stretch-long duel at the wire.
"I liked the finish," said Sheriffs. "The heat was tough here, especially when he's used to Del Mar in southern California. He's been hanging out in the ocean breeze and having to come into this heat was tough."
Performing Magic earned $180,000 for the win, his fifth in 14 starts. He previously won the Illinois Derby (gr. II) and the Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III), and finished second in the Baldwin Stakes (gr. III), and third in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III). He came into the Remington Park Derby off a fifth-place finish in the Affirmed Handicap (gr. III), won by Tiznow. Performing Magic was bred in Kentucky by Swettenham Stud. (Chart, Equibase