Big Weekend on tap in Iowa

It’s the biggest weekend of the year, racing-wise, in the State of Iowa.  Tonight there are three stakes races on tap and three more are slated for tomorrow.  The centerpiece tonight is the $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap, and this year’s field will enable the folks at Prairie Meadows to make a strong case for it to be made a Grade III in 2011.  The very tepid morning line favorite is #8 ATTA BOY ROY, who burst onto the national scene with an upset win in the Churchill Downs Handicap on the Kentucky Derby undercard.  He was last seen in the Aristides finishing a solid second after breaking slowly from his rail post.

The first stakes event on tonight’s card, Race 6, is the $100,000 Saylorville, a 6 furlong sprint for older fillies and mares.  The morning line favorite is #7 SECRET GYPSY, who enters off a 2nd place finish in the Winning Colors at Churchill Downs on Memorial Day.  I’ll be going to #4 MISS HEATHER LEE, who’s making her first start for trainer Chris Hartman, the 3rd leading trainer at PrM.  Each of her siblings have won on dirt and this gal ran a couple of bang-up races at Hollywood, which has the synthetic surface that most resembles dirt in California. I’m also using #3 PALANKA CITY, who comes in off of a handy win in a handicap at Fairmount Park.  She is a mare who doesn’t have to bring her racetrack with her as she’s earned 11 wins at 6 different tracks in her 21 race career.  Her 2010 debut didn’t go terribly well as she was beaten handily by One Smokin Lady in the Spring Fever at Oaklawn.  She did exact some revenge, though as she cruised in the Carousel later in the meet, rating kindly off of a white-hot pace and kicking clear late.  Her speed and versatility make her very dangerous in here as jockey Chris Emigh should be able to put her wherever he wants in the opening stages.  Emigh has won 9 times when riding this gal from 13 attempts.

Good luck with tonight’s stakes races at Prairie Meadows, I’ll be back tomorrow to recap these races and preview the three stakes on Saturday night, which include the Iowa Oaks, Iowa Derby, and the G2 Cornhusker Handicap!

The seventh race is the $100,000 Iowa Distaff for older fillies and mares going a mile and a sixteenth.  Bob Baffert is shipping in #1 WYNNING RIDE off of a 2nd place finish in the Milady for her 3rd start off a lengthy layoff.  This daughter of Candy Ride made two starts on conventional dirt last year and the first resulted in a 3rd place finish in the Coaching Club American Oaks.  The other came in the Alabama and was disastrous as she finished 7th of 8, beaten over 30 lengths.  Her two efforts this year have been respectable but you have to wonder if she’s ready for stakes company. 

#3 EUPHONY is back at Prairie Meadows, where she’s picked up stakes wins each of the last two years, including this race in 2009.  That was actually her last win but that’s of little concern considering she has caught sloppy tracks and tougher company since then.  She enters off of a 3rd place finish in the Arlington Matron and she and many other closers in that field were compromised by the dawdling pace set by eventual winner Tizaqueena.  They’re probably not going to fly early in here but jockey Cliff Berry should have this daughter of Forest Wildcat positioned right off the pace and pounce when ready.  Trainer Donnie Von Hemel is a dazzling 44% with horses going from synthetics to dirt and his ROI with those types is $2.91.

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One Response to “Big Weekend on tap in Iowa”

  1. Viola Moncher Says:

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