05/12/2010 11:00PM

Crimson KIng Cat continues comeback

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The $70,000 John Wayne, a six-furlong race for older Iowa-bred males at Prairie Meadows, is the second start in what is likely to be the swan song campaign for Crimson King Cat.

The 6-year-old Crimson King Cat is fortunate to still be racing. X-rays taken last year showed a slab fracture in a knee. Owners Scott and Allison Pope took him back to their Crimson King Farm in Adel, Iowa, and received an early Christmas gift when a new set of X-rays taken in December showed that the fracture had healed.

Scott Pope said Crimson King Cat probably needed his first start off an eight-month layoff, a second in an allowance for Iowa-breds on April 24. Pope expects him to run better with a race under his belt.

Crimson King Cat was fourth in last year's John Wayne, the only stakes sprint for Iowa-breds that he hasn't won in a career in which he has won 8 of 22 starts and $319,000.

Frozen Angel leads the group of eight challengers Crimson King Cat faces. Frozen Angel outfinished Crimson King Cat in a six-furlong allowance on opening weekend of this meet.

Trainer Mike Natale said Frozen Angel is very sharp and carrying about 200 additional pounds of muscle after maturing over the winter.

Other contenders include the front-running Devil's Game and Tiger Lake, who was beaten 1 3/4 lengths by Crimson King Cat when they met last August.