Tonight’s action at Prairie Meadows features a pair of $70,000 sprint stakes for Iowa breds.
In the six furlong John Wayne, last year’s long shot winner Patty’s Key (9-1) returns to defend his title but does so without the benefit of a single prep race. In 2014, Patty’s Key already had a seasonal debut in the Bud Tondi Stakes at Fonner and a second place allowance finish here before stepping into the starting gate in the John Wayne. This year he comes in off of workouts alone and is listed as 5-1 in the morning line.
The two likely pacesetters are highly regarded. Shock Hazard (5/2) and Zeiki (7/2) both look to want the early lead and both have been very successful getting there. Zeiki has made the climb from $7500 to multiple stakes winner, taking the 2o14 editions of the Cyclone and Ralph Hayes. He is making his seasonal debut in the Wayne, but fired off the bench last year on his way to winning five of six starts.
Shock Hazard, the morning line favorite, also had a stellar 2014, winning four of six including the Grays Lake and Iowa Classic Sprint. In 9 career starts, the 4-year old gelding only missed the board once when he upended his rider in his second career start as a 2-year old. Shock Hazard took the field gate to wire in his 2015 debut, a 3/4 length victory in a $35,000 optional claiming race. He comes back in 10-days to contest the Wayne.
Should the favorites get locked into each other and with the other early runners in the field, keep an eye out for a late run from the outside with Jon Arnett’s Cainam. Cainam was stakes placed as a router but started his 2015 campaign in a 6-furlong allowance where he sat off the pace and came with a late run to romp by three.
The Mamie Eisenhower, for fillies and mares also going six furlongs, is a virtual rerun of an opening weekend allowance with seven of the ten starters coming from that race including the winner, Sumting Wong. Sumting Wong flips post positions for the Eisenhower, drawing the far outside instead of the rail and swaps Dave Mello on board to Alex Birzer. Getting the job done from the far outside might be difficult but she didn’t take the lead until half way through the race so if Birzer can get decent positioning early, she may be okay.
Her opposite number, M B Prize, leaving from the rail, looks to be a good position to take advantage of her early speed. In her 2o15 bow, she took command of a conditioned allowance field early and never relinquished the lead, drawing off to win by 3 3/4. She faces a decidedly tougher crowd here, especially as a 3-year old taking on older for the first time.
Miss Lucky, who finished second to Sumting Wong in the allowance, raced wide throughout against her main rival and this time shifts inside a few stalls in the starting gate and should be able to settle behind the pace set by M B Prize. She only lost that allowance by a length and a half and with the favorite moving out to the 10 position, she could be poised to turn the tables.