Thumb_hersh Marcus Hersh , Prairie Meadows , 07/06/2019 - DRF Live Posted : Jul 6, 2019, 7:41 AM

Top Line Growth wins Iowa Derby after Winning Number is disqualified

Call it, evidently, the year of the Derby disqualification. Two months after Maximum Security was disqualified after winning the Kentucky Derby, Winning Number had his number taken down from first to third Friday night at Prairie Meadows after crossing the wire first in the $250,000 Iowa Derby.

Top Line Growth, who finished second and wasn’t affected by the disqualifying incident, was awarded the victory.

Winning Number grabbed an early lead from post 1, set a moderate pace, came into the stretch still leading, and when he drifted out barely a path after turning for the money, Shang, who had run, stuck his nose up into the vacated space to try for a winning rail rally. At the sixteenth pole, still leading, Winning Number and jockey Eddie Martin came off their line and moved back down toward the rail, causing jockey Ramon Vazquez to check Shang sharply.

Winning Number pushed on to cross the finish two lengths clear of Top Line Growth, who finished a head in front of Shang. Vazquez lodged an objection and the stewards posted an inquiry, eventually ruling that Winning Number had drifted out enough to create sufficient room for Shang to rightfully occupy the position along the rail. There’s little doubt the checking cost Shang a placing, but the appropriateness of the disqualification hung on whether Vazquez had a right to the rail path he took.

It was a bitter pill for the veteran Martin, who had only one stakes winners since 2015, and trainer Brian House, who hadn’t won a stakes race since 2012. House trains Winning Number for owner James Spry and took a shot in the Iowa Derby after Winning Number won a maiden sprint at Keeneland and allowance sprint at Canterbury Park, House’s summer base.

Meanwhile, trainer Kelley Rubley and owner Stuart Grant’s The Elkstone Group were rewarded for shipping Top Line Growth from Rubley’s base at Fair Hill in Maryland. Top Line Growth had been beaten 10 lengths making his stakes debut in the restricted Sir Barton on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico but had won his two other starts this year by 9 ½ and eight lengths. Under Julian Pimentel, Top Line Growth got squeezed at the start and raced from fifth behind Winning Number’s moderate 48-second half-mile split before closing steadily on the outside.

Shang, who was poised and in the bridle around the far turn, and was gaining on Winning Number when the adjudged foul occurred, probably ran the best race of his life and would have been moved up to first had he managed to catch Top Line Growth after losing all his momentum.

Fluminense finished fourth while 9-5 favorite Night Ops was fifth and 3-1 second choice Mr Money Bags was sixth after stalking the leader. Dazzling Truths, Proverb, and 7-2 morning-line favorite Visitant were scratched. Winning time for 1 1/16 miles on a fast track was 1:43.07 and Top Line Growth paid $9.60 to win.

Maryland-bred Top Line Growth, an Elkstone Group homebred, is by Tapizar out of Orinquia, by Whywhywhy.

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