Prairie Meadows offers up two nights of outstanding racing on Friday and Saturday with the Iowa Festival of Racing, with eight stakes worth over $1.2 million in purses.
There are four stakes on Friday night, with the Iowa Distaff, Iowa Sprint, Prairie Gold Lassie and Saylorville each offering up a $100,000 purse.
On Saturday night there are four more stakes highlighted by the $250,000 Iowa Derby and $225,000 Iowa Oaks (G3). Also on the card is the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (G3) and the $100,000 Prairie Gold Juvenile.
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Let’s take a look at a couple of the Saturday night stakes:
The Todd Pletcher trained Falconet (7-2) looks like the filly to beat. She broke her maiden in her second career start at Keeneland in her first trip around two turns. She then was smart looking winner versus Alw-1 optional claimers at Churchill Downs going a one turn mile in her last outing. The runner up in that race was Heartyconstitution who came back to finish second in the Tepin at Churchill Downs in her next outing on July 2 at Churchill Downs.
Her main rival will be Butterbean (5-1) who won the Butterbean over the main track her eon June 11 by 5 ¾ lengths for trainer Ken McPeek. Candy Raid (5-2) has been facing much tougher and Free Like a Girl (3-1) who has won 7 of her 13 career starts but has mostly been beating up on Louisiana breds.
A field of 10 entered but Rattle N Roll will go instead in the Indiana Derby earlier today. The call goes to Conagher who travels two turns for the first time in his career here. Last out he took the field gate to wire to beat Alw-3L optional claimers at Churchill Downs going seven furlongs earning a 104 Beyer Speed Figure. The runner up Gunite came back to win the Maxfield at Churchill Downs in his next outing with a Beyer of 88. The Michael Tomlinson trainee has enough pedigree to handle the added ground. He is by Jimmy Creed out of a Niagara Causeway mare that won going lone and has dropped one other foal to race who is a cheap claimer but a two-time route winner.
Pletcher sends out Major General (2-1) who chased the pace and weakened to finish sixth last out in the Audubon. Three back he was a solid second in the Lexington. Big Blue Line (9-2) wired the field at Churchill Downs, beating first level allowance foes by a length in his first start against winners. He is steadily improving for trainer Paul McGee.
Just six go in this year’s renewal and trainer Brad Cox looks for his third straight win in this race, sending out Warrant (8-5). Cox saddled Night Ops to victory in 2020 and Knicks Go last year. Warrant is cutting back from 1 ½ miles where he ran a second in the Brooklyn (G2) at Belmont Park, unable to run down Fearless in the stretch. He owns a solid pace profile throughout and should be able to handle this group as the likely favorite.
Silver Prospector (5-2) is coming off a sharp win in the Steve Sexton Mile at Lone Star with a career best 100 Beyer. The win snapped a nine race losing streak for the five-year-old.