Southern California shipper Mayor Marv led all the way for jockey David Flores as the even-money favorite to capture the $100,000 Turf Paradise Derby Feb. 21 by 4 1/2 lengths at the Phoenix track.
Bob Baffert trains the winning son of Distorted Humor for Arizona resident Michael Pegram. Pegram, who bred Mayor Marv from the Wolf Power mare Miss Wineshine, teamed up with Baffert to win the 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness (both gr. I).
Mayor Marv, who broke his maiden at Santa Anita in his prior start Jan. 17, completed the 1 1/16-mile Turf Paradise test for 3-year-olds in 1:43.23 on a fast track. All seven colts and geldings carried 122 pounds.
Sent for the lead by Flores, Mayor Marv took over just after the start and settled into easy quarter-mile fractions of :23.76, :48.44 and 1:12.56 for the opening six furlongs. Challenged by second choice Hidden Bounty and Wilson Dieguez on the final turn, Mayor Marv kicked away to lead by 1 1/2 lengths mid-stretch and drew away late.
Hidden Bounty, easy winner of the Rattlesnake and Lost in the Fog Juvenile stakes over the track in his two most recent tries, was second by 5 1/4 lengths. Just Jebicah, a 26-1 shot ridden by Ry Eikleberry, finished third.
Prior to breaking his maiden in similar front-running fashion in his last start, Mayor Marv had posted three successive runner-up finishes at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, losing decisions to leading West Coast 3-year-old contenders The Pamplemousse and Papa Clem. He has been out of the money just once in seven lifetime starts while compiling a 2-3-1 mark. The Turf Paradise victory, worth $60,000 doubled his bankroll to $119,208.
Mayor Marv paid $4, $2.40 and $2.10. Hidden Bounty, conditioned by Bart Hone, returned $2.60 and $2.40 as the 9-5 second favorite. Just Jebicah, who ran sixth in the Rattlesnake in his last start for trainer Rollins Scott, was $6 to show. Lesson in Deceit, Pauper's Prize, Albacore Bob and French Hit followed.