09/09/2009 12:00AM

Copper State returning for Central Iowa


It is difficult to dismiss entirely the chance of any runner entered in Friday's competitive renewal of the $50,000 Central Iowa Stakes at Prairie Meadows, but a trio of classy shippers will probably take the bulk of the betting. The Central Iowa, for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, drew a field of 10.

Copper State, a multiple Grade 1-placed mare from Steve Asmussen's Churchill Downs string, returns to Prairie Meadows after running a solid fourth, 4 1/4 lengths behind Euphony, in the June 27 Iowa Distaff. Her best race came in last year's Grade 1 Go for Wand at Saratoga, when she finished second, beaten just 1 1/4 lengths by champion Ginger Punch. Significantly, Copper State has not won since 2007 and makes only her third start of this campaign.

Maren's Meadow, owned by Iowan Sandra Rasmussen's River Ridge Ranch LLC, has switched from trainer Larry Jones to Mike Natale for her local debut. She possesses tactical speed, which could prove a valuable commodity, and has been freshened since a tenacious effort winning Monmouth Park's Monmouth Beach Stakes by a head on May 25.

Unforgotten, a Grade 2-placed mare trained by Dallas Stewart, makes the trek from Kentucky. A deep-closing daughter of Northern Afleet, she ran well in Arlington Park's Grade 3 Chicago Handicap on July 4. In that seven furlong event, she rallied strongly at 17-1 to finish second, beaten 4 3/4 lengths by Informed Decision.