It was the third victory in a row for the 5-year-old New York-bed son of Freud , all coming on the Fair Grounds turf. He was making his graded stakes debut in his 21st start.
Mr. Vegas, owned by Andrews T and S Racing, had to survive a stewards' inquiry before being declared the winner. Despite having a clear lead under Miguel Mena in deep stretch, the chestnut gelding drifted out and into the path of Dubious Miss and Corey Lanerie. But he never made contact with the runner-up, and stewards concluded that there was no interference. The margin of victory was 1 1/2 lengths.
The winner was bred by Berkshire Stud and is out of Lhotse (by The Minstrel). It was his seventh victory and upped his earnings to $260,331. Richard Scherer is the trainer.
Mr. Vegas had an easy time on the front end, feeling no pressure while setting fractions of :24.30, :49.41, and 1:13.84. Baltimore Bob was his closest pursuer, but Mr. Vegas had a three-length lead rounding the turn for home. He was in front of Dubious Miss by two lengths at the eighth pole.
It wasn’t until the late stages of the 1 1/16-mile turf race that Mr. Vegas began drifting out causing Dubious Miss to steady briefly. The final time on the good course was 1:43.49.
Dubious Miss, an 8-year-old gelding, was 2 1/4 lengths clear of third-place Strike Impact. Even-money choice Suntracer finished fourth, followed by Lonesome Street and Baltimore Bob.
“I saw it again and he did come out a touch, so I wasn’t sure if it was enough to change the outcome," Scherer said. “He did come out a little bit. I’m glad the stewards saw it my way.”
Mr. Vegas was entering off a pair of optional claiming wins at the end of 2011, which were his first two starts at Fair Grounds.
The winner paid $12.40, $6.40, and $4.40. The exacta (7-4) returned $74.60 and the trifecta (7-4-1) was worth $268.40.