Upsetter More Than Regal, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, collared the front-running Blazing Sunset seventy yards from the wire to score a half-length victory in the $250,000 Iowa Derby Friday at Prairie Meadows.
Trained by Steve Asmusen for owner Vinery Stables, More Than Regal earned $150,000 for his fourth career victory in 11 starts and increased his bankroll to $271,431. Coming off a fourth-place finish in the USA Stakes on the Lone Star Park turf course, the Kentucky-bred son of More Than Ready
was sent off at odds of 9-1.
The 3-year-old brown colt relaxed in mid-pack off the pace for Bridgmohan while saving ground, steadily making his way to second place at the top of the stretch. He came home in 1:42.74 for the 1 1/16-mile distance on a fast track.
Blazing Sunset, the California invader for the Doug O'Neill stable ridden by Tyler Baze, held second by 2 1/2 lengths over the stalking Wait in Line and Alfredo Juaraz Jr., who edged the 3-2 favorite Circle the World by a neck for third.
Circle the World, a tall bay colt by Fusaichi Pegasus
, was looking for his third consecutive victory.
Blazing Sunset, the 3-1 second choice, was well rated by Baze, setting fractions of :23 3/5, :47 1/5 and 1:10 4/5 and shook loose from Wait in Line by more than two lengths in the stretch before More Than Regal rallied.
Electrify, sent off at 7-2, lost ground going four wide around both turns and settled for fifth. Spotsgone, the recent winner of the Prairie Mile, and Kingsfield, trailed.
It was the third time that Bridgmohan had ridden More Than Regal. The horse broke his maiden in January and followed with a $50,000 Stakes win at Evangeline Downs in March. He was fourth in the Lane's End (gr. II) at Turfway Park and fifth in the Lexington (gr. II) before Asmussen tried him on the grass in the USA at Lone Star.
"He was just more responsive today," said Bridgmohan. "He was there for me and gave me what I needed. I had my spot by then [the traffic jam], and he just shot on through there and went about his business."
Grapestock LLC bred More Than Regal, a $300,000 yearling Keeneland buy in 2004. He is out of the Argentine mare Reina Victoriosa, by Interprete.
More Than Regal paid $20, $9.40, and $6. Blazing Sunset returned $7.60 and $4.60. Wait in Line was $5.20 to show.