08/26/2009 11:00PM

Classic Night program features 12 stakes


ALTOONA, Iowa - Saturday's Iowa Classic Night, the highlight of the Prairie Meadows mixed meet, features 12 Iowa-bred stakes, seven for Thoroughbreds and five for Quarter Horses, worth a combined $800,000.

The $70,000 Iowa Sorority, for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs, kicks off the marathon card. The Judi Hicklin-trained Brenda's Slew, a daughter of Straight Man, is the expected favorite. Despite running sixth beaten 19 3/4 lengths in the open Prairie Gold Lassie on July 18, her comfortable five-length debut score versus Iowa-breds June 5 left a favorable impression. Fellow maiden winners She's Better Loud and Thatthingofep appear the chief threats.

Two-year-old colts and geldings are up next next in the $70,000 Iowa Cradle at six furlongs. Cainam, a Lynn Chleborad-trained gelded son of Is It True, possesses the best resume in the race. He showed his determination by rallying to finish second in the Prairie Gold Juvenile behind Western Smoke, who returned to win the Charles Town Juvenile.

The recurring theme of the evening will be live entrants from Kelly Von Hemel's stable. In the Cradle, Von Hemel saddles contenders in Launch Light and The Boot.

In the $70,000 Iowa Breeders' Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, the Von Hemel-trained Launch Light Girl, who has never finished worse than second in seven career outings, has a big chance. Champagne Attitude, an Aptitude-sired filly out of Iowa-bred stakes-winning mare One Fine Shweetie, has improved significantly since being stretched out to the Oaks distance of a mile and 70 yards. A winner of two races in a row, she can test Launch Light Girl.

Three-year-old colts and geldings will compete in the $70,000 Iowa Breeders' Derby at 1 1/16 miles. Karl's Speed Demon, who hails from Mike Natale's string, won the six-furlong Gray's Lake Stakes May 25 by 3 1/4 lengths. Most recently, he returned to form when third, beaten 4 1/4 lengths, in the two-turn Iowa Stallion Stakes on Aug. 1. Despite his long stride, there are legitimate queries over Karl's Speed Demon's ability to stay the distance. Potanio, a William Pogue trainee, will make his stakes debut with a serious chance after handling allowance company by 7 1/4 lengths here July 3.

The $80,000 Donna Reed, for fillies and mares at a mile and 70 yards, is next on the program. L D's She's Special, the queen of Larry Dunbar's small outfit, will attempt to circle the field as she did when scoring by six lengths in the June 12 Hawkeyes Handicap. However, the potential lack of early pace is a concern. One who may benefit in this tactical affair is the Doug Anderson-trained filly Raspberry Rumble. She looked strong when brushing aside Launch Light Girl by 2 3/4 lengths in a July 4 allowance prep.

The accomplished Red Hot N Gold, the reigning king of Iowa racing, aims for a repeat victory in the $80,000 Ralph Hayes, conducted over 1 1/16 miles. Conditioned by Kelly Von Hemel, Red Hot N Gold has won four in a row versus Iowa-breds and is an 11-time winner over this surface for earnings of $425,960.

Kate's Main Man, who gave the impression he is finding his form when second, beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Red Hot N Gold, on Aug. 7, and Gilded Leader, the 2006 Iowa Breeders' Derby winner who has raced well at Canterbury Park this summer, could pull an upset.

The $50,000 Iowa Classic Sprint, a six-furlong event, closes the Thoroughbred portion of the evening. Von Hemel trainees Crimson King Cat and Wild L possess abundant class and looked primed for their best efforts. But, the speedster Tiger Would and the reliable closer Tiger Lake have a good chance in the wide open field of 10.