08/20/2003 11:00PM

'Bird' puts her streak on line


ALTOONA, Iowa - Passionate Bird goes for her fourth straight stakes win - all at different tracks - when she heads a field of eight fillies and mares in Saturday's $40,000 Iowa State Fair Stakes at Prairie Meadows.

Passionate Bird, who has been running in route races, cuts back in distance to six furlongs in the State Fair. A 4-year-old daughter of Birdonthewire, Passionate Bird began her winning streak on July 5 at Canterbury Park in Minnesota, capturing a one-mile turf stakes. She then shipped to Horsemen's Park in Nebraska and stalked the pace before rallying to a 1 1/2-length win in the one-mile Queen's Handicap on July 12. In her most recent start, she scored by a widening 4 3/4 lengths in the 1 1/16-mile Winnipeg Sun at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg on Aug. 3.

Myles Neff trains Passionate Bird, who will also have her fourth straight new rider on Saturday when Lester Knight comes in from Canterbury for the mount. Passionate Bird will be the 120-pound co-highweight under the allowance conditions of the Iowa State Fair.

If the cutback in distance or the hectic schedule proves too much for Passionate Bird, Iowa-bred Only at Night may take advantage.

A front-running 4-year-old daughter of Olympio, Only at Night has won 3 of 7 starts this year. She is trained Suzie Evans. Regular rider David Essman has the call on Only at Night, also at 120.

Burning Memories, who finished second behind Passionate Bird in the Queen's Handicap, could also be a factor Saturday. Burning Memories has 11 career wins, including three minor stakes scores this year in Nebraska for her owner-trainer, Jim Cranwell. Ken Shino has the mount on the 5-year-old Burning Memories.