ALTOONA, IA – The annual Iowa Festival of Racing, featuring six stakes – three graded – kicks off this evening with a trio of six figure stakes at Prairie Meadows.
The mile and a sixteenth $100,000 Iowa Distaff will start the show in race five and features Flashy American returning to the races after a three month layoff.
Trained by Ken McPeek and ridden by Shane Laviolette, Flashy American prepped for her return at Churchill and fired a :46.4 bullet work prior to shipping to Prairie Meadows. Annuity, Kettle Twist and More Than Even should ensure a solid pace up front playing into her stalking style. While she hasn’t been able to pop after a layoff she has been close and has been training very well.
Pretty Fancy also enters the Distaff off of a layoff. She’s spent a couple of months on the bench after finishing less than a length off the winner in the Grade 3 Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland in April. She shipped to Iowa after working :47 flat at Churchill. She’ll need her best in order to compete with this group but a repeat of the Doubledogdare performance puts her right in the mix.
Diva’s Diamond, a two time winner over the strip, comes in very sharp after a win in the Wild Rose Stakes here last out. She’ll sit behind the pace and should try and move with Flashy American.
In the $125,000 six furlong Iowa Sprint Handicap, Maggi Moss’ multiple stakes winner Delaunay looks for his first win over the Prairie Meadows strip and enters as the narrow 8/5 morning line favorite slightly ahead of 9/5 Bobcat Jim.
The pair locked in battle last out in the Skinner Memorial at Prairie Meadows. Delaunay tried to take the field gate to wire in that race and nearly did, getting caught at the wire by Bobcat Jim. Bobcat Jim is two for two on the year while Delaunay hasn’t won since taking a pair of Fairgrounds stakes over the winter.
Den’s Legacy, cutting back to six furlongs after showing speed but not being able to sustain in several attempts will try and carry his speed against Delaunay. It’s entirely possible that the pair could make Bobcat Jim’s route to the winners’ circle a bit easier.
The six furlong, $100,000 Saylorville Stakes will send ten fillies and mares to post to close out the evening’s stakes action.
Multiple graded stakes winner Sugar Shock returns to action after a sixty day freshener. Prior to the time off, Sugar Shock threw in a pair of disappointing efforts at Oaklawn after winning four of seven in 2014. She’s been working steadily, if not impressively, and it may be worthwhile to try and find more value than she will provide given the questions surrounding her readiness. The only issue is where to go.
A couple of logical contenders are the very consistent Heykittykittykitty and Prairie Rose winner Yucca. The issue with both are that they are solid sprinters looking to stretch out. For Yucca, it will be her first try around two turns while Heykittykittykitty hasn’t routed since late 2014.
Unheralded Ghost Locket has had two fine route efforts over the strip, the last in the Wild Rose where she led through three quarters before being worn down late by Distaff contender Diva’s Diamond. With little else in the way of speed in the Saylorville, Ghost Locket could score at a big price.