03/30/2013 7:03PM

Fair Grounds: Amira's Prince makes Muniz Handicap his fourth straight win

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Hodges Photography/Jamie Hernandez
Junior Alvarado guides Amira's Prince to his fourth straight win since joining Bill Mott's barn in the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap.

Amira’s Prince remained unbeaten in North America when he held off Willcox Inn for his fourth straight victory Saturday in the  Grade 2, $400,000 Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds.

With Junior Alvarado riding for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, Amira’s Prince returned $4.60 as the favorite in a field of 10 older turf horses. The Irish-bred Amira’s Prince finished the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:49.76 over a firm course.

Amira’s Prince won once in seven tries in Europe before coming to Mott, who has never seen the colt lose after he went 3 for 3 over the Gulfstream Park turf this winter, culminating with a triumph in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida. Amira’s Prince, by Teofilo, is owned by the partnership of the Wachtel Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Gary Barber.

Always prominent from the start, Amira’s Prince turned back String King before holding off a sustained run from Willcox Inn, a 10-1 shot, to win by a half-length. String King held third, with Doubles Partner running on to be fourth.

“He did his own thing,” said Alvarado. “When it was time to run, he gave me everything he had.”

Mott assistant Neil Poznansky said the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the May 4 Kentucky Derby undercard could be a logical next start for Amira’s Prince.

The race disappointment was Optimizer, the 5-2 second choice who was never in serious contention after breaking a bit sluggishly.