12/04/2010 8:38PM

Stachys survives foul claim to win Zia Derby

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Trainer Mike Biehler was hoping to see Stachys race closer to the pace than he had been in his recent starts in the $150,000 Zia Park Derby on Saturday, and the horse parlayed a stalking trip into a half-length win in the 1 1/16-mile race. Skip a Smile finished second, 4 3/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Saratoga Yankee.

The Zia Park Derby was the first of a handful of stakes being run over the closing weekend of the meet, which ends on Tuesday.

Stachys ($4) settled in fifth early under jockey Eddie Martin Jr., as Sightlines took the field through an opening half-mile in 49.50 seconds. Stachys advanced down the backside took the lead in the stretch and after drifting a bit late completed the distance on a fast track in 1:44.42.

“I was hoping he would lay close,” Biehler said of Stachys, who had closed from well back when third in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby in his last start Oct. 10. “He’s been closer in his races when Eddie has ridden him.”

Following the Zia Derby, a claim of foul was lodged against the winner by the connections of second-place finisher Skip a Smile, but no change was made to the order of finish. Stachys earned $87,300 for the win, which was his fifth from 10 career starts. He has now earned $223,696.

 Biehler said Stachys could race next at Oaklawn Park. A three-time stakes winner by Candy Ride, the horse is owned by Bill and Al Ulwelling.