3-Day Iowa Festival of Racing Thursday – Saturday
The 3-day Iowa Festival of Racing starts today at Prairie Meadows. Six stakes races with over $1 million in prize money highlight the holiday weekend of racing.
Thursday’s card features the Saylorville Stakes and Iowa Oaks. The Sayolorville Stakes is Race 8 for fillies and mares going 6-furlongs, and She’sabrees will likely go off as the chalk alongside strong betting interest from Dr. Fager’s Gal and Fioretti, who shows solid versatility of pace. Race 9 is the 18th running of the Iowa Oaks (G3) for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles. Thrilled and Family Tree are the class of the field and those two finished 1-2 in the Plum Pretty Stakes at Sunland back in March. Plenty of speed to challenge those two favorites in a open field.
Friday features the Iowa Distaff in Race 8, a 1 1/16 mile race for 3-year-old fillies and up. A pair of fan favorites with local ties will try to pull the upset as Flashy American and Diva’s Diamond challenge race favorite Super Majesty, who set the pace before fading in the stretch at 1 1/8 miles and finishing fourth last time in the G3 DuPont during Preakness week. All Star Bub invades from California for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Last out in the Adoration Stakes (Gd. 3) at Santa Anita, she finished 4 ¾ lengths behind multiple Eclipse award winner Beholder.
Race 9 Friday is the Iowa Derby (G3) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles. Texas Chrome and American Freedom are the favorites. American Freedom won the Sir Barton Stakes on the Preakness undercard for trainer Bob Baffert. Texas Chrome won a restricted stakes at Lone Star two back and he’ll be on the front end with Synchrony as American Freedom stalks and pounces.
Saturday’s Race 8 is the Iowa Sprint Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at 6-furlongs. Storm Power won a local prep Skinner Memorial last out and will be supported as a favorite on the betting board. Wilbo could challenge on the front end in a race with no top speed out front. Wabel moves up in stakes company for the first time but has been first or second in all his one-turn tries.
The Iowa Festival of Racing culminates with Race 9 Grade III Cornhusker Handicap at 1 1/8 miles. Cyrus Alexander makes another trip east from California for Hollendorfer after taking the Lone Star Park Handicap. Grade 2 winner S’marverlous comes off a victory at 9-furlongs in the Mountainview at Penn National last out and is a major player. Code West won the Jim Rasmussen Memorial and should be respected. Shotgun Cowboy has front end speed but is in tougher here.
Prairie Meadows is an oval where the track profile does a complete reversal in the wet. The inside speed favoring oval turns to a wide rallying closer’s paradise in the slop. A 40 percent chance of rain could hit Thursday, but Friday and Saturday look dry and festive for the holiday weekend of racing.