Ken and Sarah Ramsey's International Star appeared to be the brightest star on a loaded stakes card at Zia Park, but the son of Fusaichi Pegasus may have needed a race under his belt coming off an injury that led to his scratch from the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Entering Wednesday's contest on a three-race graded win streak after he swept the Fairgrounds Race Course & Slots Kentucky Derby preps—LeComte Stakes (gr. III), Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), and Louisiana Derby (gr. II)—the Mike Maker trainee flamed out in the $200,000 Zia Park Derby, setting the pace and then tiring to a far-back fourth while Mobile Bay and Pain and Misery dueled to the wire, 13 lengths ahead.
Tigertail Ranch's homebred Super Derby (gr. II) winner Mobile Bay got the bob and won by a nose at odds of 7-2, one start after finishing third in the Oklahoma Derby (gr. III) for trainer Victor Arceneaux.
Contrary to his previous off-the-pace form, International Star went to the lead in the 1 1/16-mile Derby under first-time jockey Martin Garcia and dueled with longshot Where's the Moon through a half-mile, setting fractions of :24.66 and :49.54. In nine previous starts, International Star had never set the pace.
Pain and Misery took over the lead after six furlongs in 1:13.17, while Mobile Bay loomed 1 1/2-lenths back in fourth, before the pair battled to the wire, finishing in 1:43.62.
Ridden by Edgar Prado, Mobile Bay brought $9.20 $3.60, and $2.60 across the board. Pain and Misery delivered $4.40 and $2.80, while Bold Conquest, 11 lengths back, paid $2.60 to show.
It was the fourth stakes win for Mobile Bay, a Louisiana-bred son of Lone Star Special, who now has a 6-2-3 record from 12 starts, all this year. He now has $589,090 in earnings.
Other stakes winners on the card were Lavender Chrissie ($300,000 Zia Park Oaks), Smack Smack ($150,000 Zia Park Championship Handicap), Gold Boundry ($140,000 Eddy County), Thirteen Arrows ($100,000 Zia Park Distaff), and Dirt Monster ($100,000 Zia Park Sprint).