Jessica’s Star continued his rapid ascent up the ladder with another taking performance for Mike Stidham in the Iowa Derby Saturday.
Jessica’s Star, owned by Mark Breen, was always in command in the Grade III race at Prairie Meadows, worth a handsome $250,000. Jockey David Mello settled his mount mid pack for the first half of the race, bringing him with a bid four-wide around the far turn. As they entered the straight, Jessica’s Star made relentless headway down the middle of the stretch, grabbing the lead at the furlong pole before surging clear to pass the post a comfortable length ahead of his nearest pursuer.
This was Jessica’s Star’s third win in a row, and his fourth win in total after breaking his duck at Fair Grounds in March. This three-year-old gelding by Magna Graduate won the Prairie Mile Stakes last time out, and he enjoys the profile of a relatively lightly raced young horse whose star is fast on the rise.
The stable’s Iowa Derby delight follows hot on the heels of Gossip Mill’s maiden victory at Arlington Friday. Gossip Mill, owned by the Haynes Stable, was enjoying her first win in seven starts. Jockey James Graham settled Gossip Mill on the shirt-tails of the leaders before producing her down the straight to win by three-quarters of a length.
An honorable mention must go to Ground Transport, who made a bold bid for glory in the Grade III Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Stakes. Jockey David Mello had Ground Transport in all the right places throughout the race, and while his mount couldn’t quite get on terms with the two leaders, he nevertheless stuck to his guns all the way to the wire. On this evidence, Ground Transport will have plenty more opportunities to shine in the sun.
Check back in again later in the week for a look ahead to the weekend action.