08/23/2007 12:00AM

Eleven stakes, $700K in purses


ALTOONA, Iowa – Prairie Meadows will offer purses in excess of $700,000 on Saturday night when Iowa Classic Night is held for the 14th time. Of the 11 Iowa-bred stakes, seven are for Thoroughbreds and four are for Quarter Horses races. There are eight horses entered who captured a Classic race last year.

The highlight of the night is the Ralph Hayes for older horses. The 1?1/16-mile race, which offers a purse of $75,000, is headed by 7-year-old Sur Sandpit, who has won 2 of his last 3 starts, including the restricted Cyclone Stakes. But it was his last race, when he finished third, beaten a head, in the open Prairie Meadows Handicap that showed his true quality, as he fought valiantly the length of the stretch only to be caught in the shadow of the wire by Wayzata Bay.

Sur Sandpit, who won this race in 2005, will once again have Alex Birzer in the saddle.

The unknown commodity in the race is the lightly raced 4-year-old Ablumin Miracle, who has had to overcome various setbacks that prevented him from getting to the races until mid-July. He has been making up for lost time, however, and is unbeaten in two starts. He will be tested here as he tries both stakes company and two turns for the first time. Carlos Montalvo, who was aboard for gelding’s eye-opening 12?1/4-length maiden victory, has the call.

Also on the card:

* Camela Carson appears to be the one to beat in the $75,000 Donna Reed for fillies and mares. The mile and 70-yard race has a field of eight, including last year’s winner, Elite Lady.

* After testing males in her last start, Judy Faye will try and capture the $65,000 Iowa Sorority for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs. Montalvo will be aboard Judy Faye, the likely favorite, for the first time.

* Two-year-old males will battle it out in the $65,000 Iowa Cradle at six furlongs. Maya’s Storm will likely be favored. After Maya’s Storm disappointing in his debut, trainer Kelly Von Hemel decided to run the colt with blinkers and they appear to have made a huge difference. He has toyed with his opposition in his last two starts.

* Von Hemel has another apparent favorite in Irish Party, who is entered in the $65,000 Iowa Breeders Oaks. Irish Party has dominated statebred competition throughout her career, and the only question is her ability to get the mile and 70-yard distance of this race. This return to the statebred ranks might help solve that problem.

*o A field of eight 3-year-old males has been entered for the 1 1/16-mile $65,000 Iowa Breeders Derby. In what might be the most wide-open race of the night, Ghazi Up rates a slight edge.

* New to the Classic format this year is the Iowa Classic Sprint, which will be run at six furlongs with a purse of $50,000. It appears as though Wild L and Will E Scat, who have taken turns defeating each other this season, will again be the ones to beat.