07/07/2013 8:38AM

Prairie Meadows: Big Sugarush takes Iowa Stallion Stakes

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ALTOONA, Iowa – Big Sugarush, under an enterprising ride from the meet's leading rider, David Mello, seized command from the outset, withstood the challenge of heavy favorite Rushin' Rubietta, and edged clear to take Saturday's $80,255 Iowa Stallion Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths.

Trained by Tim Martin, Big Sugarush, an Oklahoma-bred 3-year-old, made the substantial rise in class from a conditioned claiming race to stakes company with aplomb. In his last race, the Kipling gelding defeated a group of $6,250 claimers who each had not won three races lifetime by a length.

Mello, who extended his lead in the jockey standings to 69-63 over Terry Thompson, set tepid early fractions of 24.62 and 49.35 seconds in the race, which covered one mile and 70 yards. In the stretch run, Big Sugarush found plenty in reserve and covered the distance in 1:45.09. The 3-10 choice, Rushin' Rubietta, stalked but could not get on even terms with the winner while finishing 6 1/4 lengths clear of third-place Bet Your Life.

The fourth choice in the field of six, Big Sugarush returned $20.40 to his backers while collecting $44,177 for owner Big Sugar Racing.

• With a win aboard Boji Moon in the evening's third race, Thompson pulled to within two victories of 3,000 for his career.

• During the second race, jockey Israel Ocampo was involved in a nasty spill when his mount, Shock Hazard, careened into the rail in midstretch, depositing him onto the infield. Ocampo, who will ride Sunday, took off the rest of his mounts but was not badly injured and did not require hospitalization.

Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
Great ride by jock Mello who is familiar with the oval and chose the 2-3 path down the backstretch which appeared to be the right decision. When Big Sugarush finally changed leads 120 yards from the wire, he really pulled away.