08/24/2005 11:00PM

Fast pace could set table for Sur Sandpit in Hayes


ALTOONA, Iowa - Six Thoroughbred stakes highlight Iowa Classic Night, an all-statebred stakes card on Saturday.

The evening's feature is the $75,000-added Ralph Hayes at 1 1/16 miles for older colts and geldings. The vastly improved Sur Sandpit is the upset selection in the Hayes, which drew a field of 11, including two entries.

Sur Sandpit has turned the corner since being claimed for $15,000 by trainer Suzanne Evans on May 28. Up to that point, Sur Sandpit had failed to hit the board in any of his five starts in 2005. Since the claim he has won three of his five starts.

Sur Sandpit didn't have any early pace to run at in his last start, as the first half-mile of the one-mile overnight handicap went in a dawdling 50.20 seconds. Despite the slow pace, Sur Sandpit was able to gain third late behind a pair of multiple stakes winners, Silver Axe and Tricky Mocha.

A slow early pace shouldn't be a problem for Sur Sandpit on Saturday, as several confirmed front-runners are entered in the Hayes. Luis Ranilla has a return call aboard Sur Sandpit.

Plum Sober and Wild Wild West appear to be the main dangers. Plum Sober exits the same overnight handicap as Sur Sandpit and finished fourth after tracking the pace. In his previous start, Plum Sober scored a gate-to-wire victory over open allowance company at a mile and 70 yards here on July 19. Cindy Noll has a return call aboard Plum Sober for trainer Jeff Barkley.

Wild Wild West, a 4-year-old gelded son of Slewacide, headed this division earlier in the year after scoring a 4 1/4-length front-running victory in the $60,000 John Wayne Stakes at six furlongs. Wild Wild West is 0 for 5 around two turns, however, and figures to get plenty of pace pressure on Saturday. Terry Thompson rides Wild Wild West for trainer Larry Jones.

Defending champion Cmego and two-time Ralph Hayes winner Take Me Up are also entered Saturday, but both must improve their form to factor into the outcome.

* Thekatcamehome is the likely favorite and the only two-time winner in the evening's first race, the $65,000-added Iowa Sorority for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs. Glenn Corbett rides Thekatcamehome for trainer Dick Clark. Open-length debut winner Duchess of Luck is a major threat. She is trained by Lynn Chleborad.

* Casper Who heads a field of 10 2-year-old colts and geldings in the $65,000-added Iowa Cradle Stakes at six furlongs. Thompson rides Casper Who for trainer Jones. Other leading contenders include Concert King, who is a multiple stakes-placed maiden, and Hesluckytoo.

* Sunriseontheoasis, who will be coupled in the wagering with Bobs Beauty, heads a competitive field of eight 3-year-old fillies in the $65,000-added Iowa Breeders' Oaks at a mile and 70 yards. Trainer Kelly Von Hemel has a pair of uncoupled runners in Starlet Sky and Camela Carson who are capable of scoring in the Oaks, as is the late-running Queansco for trainer Tim Gleason.

* Multiple stakes winner Mingo Mohawk leads a field of eight in the $65,000-added Iowa Breeders' Derby for 3-year-old colts and geldings at 1 1/16 miles. Clark trains Mingo Mohawk, who will be coupled in the wagering with Perfect Pose. Mingo Mohawk will have Corbett, his regular rider, in the saddle. Once again, a pair of uncoupled runners from Von Hemel - stakes winner Will E Scat and the rapidly improving Slewey Armstrong - loom as major threats.

* Switch Lanes looms as a short-priced favorite when she faces six rivals in the evening's co-feature, the $75,000-added Donna Reed for older fillies and mares at a mile and 70 yards. Switch Lanes is the likely pacesetter under Corbett for trainer Clark and owner Maggi Moss.

Switch Lanes was claimed for $25,000 last summer by her current connections and has since won more than $175,000. Gamblers Passion, who upset Switch Lanes in the $70,000 Hawkeyes here June 25, is the main danger to the favorite. Mike Allen rides for trainer Gene Jacquot.