06/22/2010 12:00AM

Brass Hat the highweight for Cornhusker

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ALTOONA, Iowa - The Iowa Festival of Racing at Prairie Meadows has drawn strong fields for its six stakes, which will take place Friday and Saturday nights. Opening night of the festival will feature the $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap, the $100,000 Iowa Distaff, and the $100,000 Saylorville. The Festival concludes Saturday with three graded stakes: the Grade 2 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker, the Grade 3 Iowa Derby, and the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks.

The two-day festival concludes with the Cornhusker. Nine-year-old Brass Hat leads a field of nine in the 1 1/8-mile handicap and on Wednesday was assigned post 8. Calvin Borel will be in to ride at 117 pounds.

Brass Hat is switching back to dirt after spending the last year running in turf marathons. Other contenders include Mythical Power, winner of the Texas Mile; Slew's Tizzy, who is making his first start since December 2008; and Red Lead, who won the local Cornhusker prep, the Jim Rasmussen. The field is rounded out by Golden Yank, Going Ballistic, Shadowbdancing, King Dan, and Racing Bran.

The Iowa Derby, to be run at 1 1/16 miles, drew a field of six. Winslow Homer will be making his first start since winning the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park in January, and will have a difficult task ahead of him when he breaks from post 4. Among others, he faces Thiskyhasnolimit, a two-time stakes winner at Churchill Downs, and the West Coast invader Concord Point.

Santa Anita Oaks runner-up All Due Respect is part of a field of seven in the 1 1/16-mile Iowa Oaks, including Tap Tap Tapping, who finished second in the Grade 3 Dogwood at Churchill; Harissa, winner of the Sunland Park Oaks; and Remit, who won the Panthers here at Prairie Meadows last time out.

Friday's Iowa Sprint Handicap showcases a competitive field of nine, including Atta Boy Roy, Euroears, Cash Refund, Ez Dreamer, and Majestic Perfection. Atta Boy Roy, highweighted at 123, is coming off a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Aristides and a half-length victory in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap.

In the Distaff, for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, last year's winner, Euphony, will take on five challengers headed by West Coast invader Wynning Ride and last year's Iowa Oaks winner, Hightap.

The Saylorville drew a field of six female sprinters. Morning-line favorite Secret Gypsy will face Miss Heather Lee and Palanka City.