Marietta Springs Mild Surprise in Iowa Oaks

Darley's Marietta surged past odds-on choice High Again leaving the three-sixteenth pole en route to her first graded stakes win in a mild upset of the $200,000 Iowa Oaks (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Prairie Meadows in Altoona Friday night.

The Oaks was the first graded stakes race of the 2007 season at Prairie Meadows.

The 3-year-old Kentucky homebred daughter of Machiavellian--Minister Wife, by Deputy Minister, had shown promise in recent races but came into the Iowa Oaks with just a maiden win in six starts for trainer Eoin Harty. She was coming off a troubled third after being buried early in the Selene (Can-III) in her stakes debut at Woodbine five weeks earlier.

With Rafael Bejarano aboard for the first time, Marietta was much closer to the pace this time, running mid-pack on the far outside behind a reasonable pace in the 1 1/16-mile event. High Again, the 3-5 choice who was forwardly placed by David Flores, took over on the final turn but lacked much punch when taken on by Marietta, who went on to win by 1 3/4 lengths in a time of 1:43 on a fast track.

Humble Janet, a 25-1 shot ridden by Luis Quinonez, was forced out six wide in the stretch but finished willingly to get second by 1 3/4 lengths over the fading High Again.

Irish Party led the field early, clicking off a :23 1/5 opening quarter mile before Alba Dabas Secret opened up a three-length lead on the backstretch after traversing the first half-mile in :46 3/5. She dropped out quickly, however, as High Again led after six furlongs in 1:11 1/5.

Sent off as the second choice in the field of nine, Marietta paid $8.60, $5.80 and $3. Humble Janet returned $14.80 and $6 for a $99.20 exacta. Zayat Stables' High Again was $2.20 to show. It was more than a length back to fourth-place Le Chateau, followed by Swift Temper, Acrosstheborder, Comarillo, Irish Party and Alba Dabas Secret. Byenne scratched.

Marietta, a dark bay or brown filly, improved her record to 2-2-1 in seven starts with earnings of $186,723. Friday night's win was worth $120,000.

(Chart, Equibase)

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