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Dick and Linda Laird's Shamoan wins $250,000 Iowa Derby


Dick and Linda Laird's 3-year-old gelding Shamoan (IRE) scored his first stakes victory in the $250,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows on Friday, July 1st after a dramatic stretch duel with runner up Apache Point, drawing off from the challenger and winning by a length under Jose Valdivia, Jr. The 11-10 favorite Thor's Echo finished third.

Shamoan survived a claim of foul by jockey Shaun Bridgmohan aboard Apache Point after he drifted out in mid-stretch, but Valdivia said that "there was never any contact with the outside horse."

"He has a tendency to wait on horses," said his trainer Eoin Harty, who watched the race from California. "He was floated five wide going into the first turn. He made his move on the turn and took the lead at the top of the stretch. When that other horse came to him, he scooted away again to win by a length. He ran a huge race."

Shamoan was saddled by assistant trainer Alex Hassinger, who told the local media, "He's always had a lot of talent. When he got the lead, he hung a little bit. But when that horse got next to him, he had to battle and I think that'll do him a lot of good."

Hassinger said the horse came out of the race "in great shape. He took it really well."

Shamoan began his career in Ireland with five starts on grass, scoring four seconds and one third. He was purchased as a 2-year-old and brought to the U.S. by Dick and Linda Laird last September. He has never finished out of the money in 11 starts, and his two best races have come after he was switched from grass to dirt. The Monashee Mountain chestnut finished second in his first start on dirt in the G3 $300,000 Lone Star Derby on May 14.

Harty said after the Lone Star race, "I think we'll try him back on the dirt. He's a good horse on the turf, but I think he's going to be a little better on the dirt."

Shamoan's options have become greater with the versatility of his talent on either surface. He appears to be equally versatile with distance. He broke his maiden at 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's downhill turf course, and Friday's stakes win came at 1 1/16 miles on dirt in 1:43.

The Lairds, who reside in Solana Beach and Lake Tahoe, California, were delighted with their horse's victory. "He ran a great race," said Dick Laird.

The race paid $150,000 to the winner, and increased Shamoan's earnings to $281,780.

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