Whispering Oaks Farm LLC’s Iron Fist proved too tough for his rivals in Saturday evening’s Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (G3) under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., scoring by two lengths as the 7-1 fourth choice.
Iron Fist bided his time in second as American Dubai established fractions of :23.49, :47.38 and 1:10.62 on the front end. Given his cue by Santana, the gray son of Tapit ranged up to wrest control away from the pacesetter and draw clear in a final time of 1:47.36 for 1 1/8 miles on Prairie Meadows’ fast main track.
Texas Chrome rallied to be best of the rest, three lengths ahead of American Dubai on the wire. Code West, the 26-1 longest shot on the board, followed in fourth by another 2 1/4 lengths, while 3-5 favorite Dolphus finished two lengths behind in fifth. Hawaakom, Conquest Windycity and December Seven completed the order under the line.
Iron Fist, who was worth $17.60 for the win, boosted his lifetime earnings to $839,199 while improving his scorecard to read 20-7-4-4 for trainer Steve Asmussen. The five-year-old made his first start for Asmussen last September after beginning his career with Jerry Hollendorfer.
Under Hollendorfer’s tutelage, Iron Fist ran third in the 2014 Del Mar Futurity (G1) and the next year finished fourth in the West Virginia Derby (G2), second in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) and third in the Native Diver Stakes (G3).
Iron Fist wouldn’t be seen in competition again for approximately nine months. He returned last September for Asmussen and two races later just missed by a half-length in the Ack Ack Handicap (G3) at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky-bred gray finally earned his first stakes victory in the Maxxam Gold Cup on February 25, then strung together a pair of thirds in the New Orleans Handicap (G2) and Steve Sexton Mile (G3), before capturing the Evangeline Mile last out on June 3.
Bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd., Iron Fist is out of the Grade 3-winning Orientate mare Successful Outlook, who is herself a daughter of Group 1-placed Catch a Glimpse. Iron Fist is a full brother to Grade 2 victor Anchor Down and also counts as a half-sister Grade 1 winner Sweet Lulu.