07/18/2009 11:00PM

Asmussen sweeps Prairie stakes


ALTOONA, Iowa - Trainer Steve Asmussen shipped in a colt from his Churchill Downs string and a filly from his Lone Star Park outfit to easily sweep the final two stakes of the Prairie Meadows Thoroughbred meet, the $50,000 Prairie Gold Juvenile and the $50,000 Prairie Gold Lassie. Asmussen's talented duo easily dismissed their opponents in similar fashion in the five-furlong stakes.

Western Smoke, an attractive grey son of Smoke Glacken, sprinted clear at once in the Juvenile and went unchallenged through crisp fractions of 21.86 and 44.91 seconds. Without being asked for his best, as the overwhelming 7-10 favorite, Western Smoke stopped the clock in 57.21 while winning by 6 3/4 lengths. Cainam, an Iowa-bred gelding from meet leading trainer Lynn Chleborad's shed row rallied determinedly up the inside to garner the place spot.

Under jockey Israel Ocampo, Western Smoke earned $30,000 for owner J. Kirk Robison. Meet leading owner Maggi Moss, one of Asmussen's legal representatives, accepted the Juvenile trophy on Robison's behalf.

Vertical Vision, an Oklahoma-bred daughter from stallion Pollard's Vision's first crop, broke sharply, withstood a challenge from the Tom Amoss-trained Bronx City Girl leaving the turn, and pulled away from her seven opponents in the Lassie. Favored Miss Diane, a Kentucky invader from Merrill Scherer's stable, ran on well for second but could only get within five lengths of Vertical Vision.

Vertical Vision, who needed only token right-handed pressure from jockey Alex Birzer to keep her mind on the task, covered the distance in 57.52. Sent off as second choice in the wagering, she paid $6.40.

Owned by longstanding Asmussen client Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, Vertical Vision collected $30,000 in winning her stakes debut.