Iowa Derby

( 8.5f ,)

EASYFROMTHEGITGO (B h, 122 lb) $150,000
Dehere —Montera , by Easy Goer
B—Twilite Farms, Inc., KY.; O—Cassels, James and Zollars, Bob; T—Steven M. Asmussen

Pass Rush (CH h, 117 lb) $50,000
Crown Ambassador —Profitable Knight , by Knight
B—Swifty Farms Inc., IN.; O—Michael B. Tabor; T—Patrick B. Byrne

Thunderpumper (CH h, 117 lb) $25,000
Regal Classic —Spend a Nickel , by Plugged Nickle
B—Calvin L. Johnston, KY.; O—Calvin L. Johnston; T—Mark Danner

Margins: neck, 4¼, 1. Others: Vito Corleone 117($12,500) , Danthebluegrassman 122($7,500) . Winning Jockey, Donnie J. Meche.

Trainer Steve Asmussen isn’t one to cry over spilled milk. The Texas-born trainer simply cleans up the mess and moves right on along. He takes the same approach to training his horses. Almost one month after his Easyfromthegitgo turned in a less than stellar performance in the June 8 Leonard Richards Stakes (gr. III) at Delaware Park, he rebounded to win the July 5 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows.

“He’s a good horse—spilled milk and everything,” said Asmussen. “He’s this close to being a serious racehorse—hopefully this will put him over the edge going into the later races in the year, because he’s so mental going into races.”

To win the Iowa Derby, Easyfromthegitgo covered the 11/16 miles in 1:42.59. Pass Rush was a neck behind in second, with Thunderpumper another 41/4 lengths back in third. Betting favorite, Danthebluegrassman, finished more than 15 lengths behind the winner in fifth and last place.

The Iowa Derby was the second stakes score for Easyfromthegitgo, who began his 3-year-old season by winning the Jan. 26 LeComte Stakes. He followed that by finishing third in the Feb. 17 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) and was a nose short in the March 10 Louisiana Derby (gr. II). All three races were at Fair Grounds. He then shipped to Kentucky, where he finished third, four lengths behind winner Proud Citizen, in the April 20 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland en route to a fifth-place effort in the May 18 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico.

“He’s had a lot of tough luck his last three races,” said James Cassels, who co-owns the Iowa Derby winner with Bob Zollars. “He beat some good horses today. It was pretty close. It was a competitive field. It’s the third time we’ve been like this and we finally got a break.”

Cassels and Zollars purchased Easyfromthegitgo for $125,000 at the 2000 Keeneland September yearling sale from the consignment of Eaton Sales, agent.

Dehere is the sire of Easyfromthegitgo and 37 other added-money winners, including additional 2002 stakes winners Take Charge Lady (gr. I), Descaptate, Ironman Dehere, Defier (Aust-I), Lady Dehere (NZ-II), Captain Test (Aust-III), Able Choice (in Hong Kong), Russian Caravan (in Australia), Red Hannigan (in Australia), and Al Afrae (in Saudi Arabia). The stallion stood at Coolmore’s Kentucky and Australia divisions until January of 2000 when he arrived in Japan. Dehere now stands at JBBA Shizunai Stallion Station on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.—L.D.