Vicar's in Trouble, making his first start since the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), is the 3-1 morning line favorite for Prairie Meadows' Iowa Derby (gr. III) June 28. The grade II winner faces eight 3-year-olds in the $250,000 test at 1 1/16 miles.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Vicar's in Trouble found plenty of trouble under the Twin Spires May 3, finishing 19th and last in the Run for the Roses after breaking from the dreaded inside post position. He's drawn outside for the Iowa Derby and will breaking from post 8 under new rider Cornelio Velasquez who replaces the injured Rosie Napravnik.
Prior to Vicar's in Trouble's run in the Kentucky Derby, the Louisiana-bred ruled the roost at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in New Orleans, winning the LeComte Stakes (gr. III), finishing third in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), and taking the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) by 3 1/2 lengths.
The son of Into Mischief —Vibrant, by Vicar, has been working steadily at Churchill Downs since the Derby for trainer Mike Maker. The dark bay or brown colt most recently breezed a half-mile in :48 4/5 June 23.
The only other sophomore in the Iowa Derby field with any graded stakes experience is Martin Cherry's homebred Embellishing Bob. The Steve Margolis-trained son of Northern Afleet lost the photo in the one-mile Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs but was elevated to first via the disqualification of Bayern April 26, then ran seventh behind Bayern in the seven-furlong Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II) on Belmont Stakes day in New York.
Embellishing Bob, out of the Defrere mare Kirsche, worked a mile in 1:42 at Churchill Downs June 18 in preparation for his first start beyond a mile. Brian Hernandez, who was aboard for his maiden win and the Derby Trial effort, returns in the Iowa Derby. The pair will break from the rail.
The first three across the line in the local prep for the Iowa Derby, the Prairie Mile Stakes, come back to take on the invaders at Prairie Meadows. Mark Breen's Jessica's Star won the contest in 1:37.88, by a neck over Tairneach on May 31. Smack Smack was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third.
Jessica's Star, by Magna Graduate and trained by Mike Stidham, won a seven-furlong allowance/optional claiming race at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. Road Trip Racing's Tairneach broke his maiden at Turfway Park March 29 and then made short work of a pair of allowance fields at ThistleDown prior to shipping to Iowa. Toby Keith's Dream Walkin Farms' Smack Smack (by Closing Argument) won the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes last fall at Remington Park, then was third in the rich $250,000 Springboard Mile Stakes to close out his juvenile campaign.
A well-bred colt seeming on the rise is WinStar Farm's Charge Now. The bay son of Tiznow is out of Supercharger, by A.P. Indy, making him a half brother to 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and grade III winner Brethren . Supercharger is a full sister to She's a Winner, the dam of 2005 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) winner Lord of the Game.
Charge Now broke his maiden in his second start on March 29 at Gulfstream Park, at the Iowa Derby distance, then crushed a entry-level allowance field at 1 1/16 miles going wire to wire May 30 at Belmont Park.
Illinois-bred I Got It All steps out of state-bred competition for the Iowa Derby. The Tiz Wonderful gelding topped a crew of state-bred sprinters in the Land of Lincoln Stakes April 26, then stretched out on Arlington Park's Polytrack going a mile May 31 in the Springfield Stakes, drawing off by 9 1/4 lengths.
$250,000 Iowa Derby (gr. III, Race 8, 9:43 p.m. CDT), 3yo, 1 1/16 miles (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Embellishing Bob (KY), B. Hernandez Jr., 122, S. Margolis, 7-2
2. Russellin (KY), K. Tohill, 116, C. Hartman, 10-1
3. Six Spot (PA), R. Santana Jr., 116, S. Asmussen, 5-1
4. Smack Smack (KY), J. Barton, 116, D. Von Hemel, 12-1
5. Charge Now (KY), J. Alvarado, 119, W. Mott, 8-1
6. Jessica's Star (KY), D. Mello, M. Stidham, 6-1
7. I Got It All (IL), E. Cosme, 119, T. Swearingen, 10-1
8. Vicar's in Trouble (LA), C. Velasquez, 122, M. Maker, 3-1
9. Tairneach (KY), J. Loveberry, 116, M. McKenzie, 12-1