The future of horseracing? Perhaps that's a bit too dour a thought, but micro festivals like this weekend at Prairie Meadows, where racino kickbacks drummed up $1.0 MM in purse money, can attract nice fields, good crowds and handle.
We have a fast dirt track, with tight corners and fun racing under the lights and this Turk is thinking ahead that next year he'll venture back to corn country for these two days of racing. Grade III events? I've seen weaker Grade I's already this year.
By the way, that fine looking horse in the neon green and purple dot silks of RNB Racing is Shadowbdancing, last year's winner of the previous Grade 2 Cornhusker Handicap and the Place horse from 2009's edition.
Let's get after it!
Prairie Meadows Race 7-8-9-10
While I built a Pick Four Bet, the races themselves I think will be quite interesting, as there are money magnets in every race and a few second tier runners at longer prices looking to knock their blocks off. Hard not to like!
Race 7 may be the weakest of the bunch, a six horse Iowa Oaks. Daisy Devine is the heavyweight contender here; far from unbeatable but pretty solid, with a Grade 2 Fairgrounds Oaks win.
Little Miss Holly will loom at something greater than 3-1; training sharply at CD for trainer Margolis and a last race winner.
Two that intrigue me are Hearts on Fire and All about Allie. Donnie von Hemel's Hearts on Fire is 5 of 5 in the money on Fast dirt, 2 of 2 in the money at the distance and has placed at PrM. 2nd effort off a 45 day layoff. All About Allie is an Arkansas bred Sanders Brothers home bred and trained who has run well at PrM and while lacking class, seems to be gutty. Only two tosses from the field that is only lacking quantity not quality.
In the Iowa Derby we have two Triple Crown nominees and the Preakness Stakes Show horse ready to rumble. I think the class of Astrology and Caleb's Posse will win the day and its a coin toss for me which one wins it.
In the second tier is a Zayat Stable runner for trainer Bob Baffert, Prayers for Relief. He's a lightly raced, off the pace late runner trying dirt for the first time and I think he'll gain name recognition as the year goes on, just not here, but Baffert didn't bring him to lose so you have no choice but take notice and slot him in the money.
Dreaminofthewin may be a bit of a stretch but this is gambling after all. Irish Lion and Chosen Miracle both have the potential to get up for show money as well, and Chosen Miracle is stretching out to a distance his pedigree suggests is just right.
The main event is a strong and deep field for a racino Grade 3 event. Awesome Gem is the headliner. The West Point Thoroughbreds runner has a last race best 101 Beyer. Surprisingly consistent ant in his 8th year but is 0 of 9 at the distance and always more interested in place and show than win. I'm hoping he draws lots of money his way as I'll be looking in a different direction.
The Michael Maker runner Headache and the Michael Biehler runner Stachys both have my attention. Headache is 12 of 15 in the money on fast dirt and comes in off a 1 1/16 CD N3X win. Stachys has won at PrM and is consistent and fast off the pace.
It Happened Again is a former claimer running for Steve Asmussen with Mike Smith, up. That will do something for your position on the tote board! The five year old is very capable and this is his second effort off a long layoff. Beware.
I like Alexis Barba's Victory Pete. Only the 6 year olds second dirt effort and Bejarano goes up here.
The races are later in the day so check the scratches and changes and the weather to make sure nothing impacts your handicapping. This should be a fun night and I hope you approach it as such, I think racing would do well to have more prime time Saturday night racing shows.
Enjoy the day, have fun, Turk Out!