12/04/2010 8:38PM

Stachys survives foul claim to win Zia Derby


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.