08/25/2004 12:00AM

Friday the 13th on Saturday the 21st


ALTOONA, Iowa - The events that took place during Saturday's card at Prairie Meadows would have seemed more fitting had they occurred eight nights earlier on Friday the 13th.

The evening began with 1-5 shot Pitch and Toss failing to fire and finishing a dull fifth in a maiden special weight event for 2-year-olds, which was won by 10-1 first-time starter Classic Play.

In the second race, 3-5 favorite Sandys Dandy fared no better than Pitch and Toss, finishing a distant fifth behind Dr. Can Do. Trainer Dave McShane and jockey David Essman won both halves of the early daily double, which paid $546.20. McShane is a solid second in the current trainer standings, while Essman had won just 6 of 102 starts prior to Saturday's action.

Third-race favorite Western Cutie held the lead in midstretch but faded to fourth behind Big Mama Pearl ($21) in an Iowa-bred maiden special weight event for fillies and mares.

Things took a turn for the worse prior to the fourth race Saturday. First-time starter On Andy's Birthday reared and flipped during the loading process and landed on jockey Luis Ranilla, who was taken to the hospital and later released with a broken collarbone and several bruised ribs. He will be out of action for six to eight weeks.

After a long delay following the late scratch of On Andy's Birthday, who appeared unhurt, the fourth race was run - but not without incident.

Crafty Diamond, the 4-5 favorite under jockey Jason Eads, ducked out leaving the gate from her inside post position, slamming into Cerveza Lite and forcing that rival to check hard. Crafty Diamond, a 2-year-old filly, then ducked in sharply into the gap where the clubhouse turn meets the backstretch. It appeared as if Crafty Diamond would slam into the inner rail before rejoining the backstretch, but Eads somehow guided her out of the gap and back onto the main track. But, about 20 yards later, Crafty Diamond ducked in sharply again, slamming into the inner rail and going over the top, sending Eads tumbling to the ground.

Apparently uninjured, Crafty Diamond regained her feet and ran loose in the infield for several minutes before being caught. The race was eventually won by 57-1 first-time starter My Hobby for trainer Cody Kelly and jockey Kelly Murray. Eads sustained injuries to his right shoulder and hip and missed Monday's card, then rode one race Tuesday before returning to the sidelines.

Tragedy struck in Saturday evening's fifth race, as 2-1 second choice U S Jetta broke down on the backstretch of the six-furlong allowance, sending jockey Tad Leggett down hard to the ground. Leggett sustained an injury to his left elbow and took off the remainder of Saturday's card, as well as Monday and Tuesday. Leggett was scheduled to see a specialist to determine his status. U S Jetta was euthanized.

Things got no better in the eighth race, the Grade 2, $71,820 MBNA American Central Challenge Championship for Quarter Horses. Iron Clad Cleat, an 8-year-old multiple stakes winner, broke down a sixteenth of a mile from the finish, and jockey Robert Roller was unable to pull him up until a sixteenth of a mile after the wire. Iron Clad Cleat had 20 career wins from 50 starts, good for more than $266,000 in earnings.

The race was won by SLM Snowman for trainer Don Mourning and jockey Jacky Martin.

Clark and Sure Shot Biscuit to enter Hall

Trainer Dick Clark and Sure Shot Biscuit, the richest Iowa-bred ever, are set to enter the Prairie Meadows Hall of Fame this weekend. Clark, who is Prairie's all-time leading trainer, scored his 1,000th career victory here last week and is well on his way to another training title, as he leads the mixed standings by a 30-15 margin through Monday.

Sure Shot Biscuit, a gelding who was retired last August at age 7, is the only Iowa-bred ever to reach the $1 million mark in earnings. Sure Shot Biscuit's career mark of 23-10-11 from 54 starts was good for $1,025,480. Kelly Von Hemel trained Sure Shot Biscuit through most of his career, with his father, Don, sometimes handling the training duties. Sure Shot Biscuit achieved the majority of his success under jockey Terry Thompson, who has made several visits to Prairie during training hours recently while recovering from a broken leg suffered here earlier in the year.

Corbett's lead narrows in jockey standings

The jockey standings, which earlier in the meeting looked like a runaway for five-time defending champion Glenn Corbett, have tightened up. Corbett now holds a 32-26 advantage over Tim Doocy, who captured the Thoroughbred meet title here earlier in the summer in his first full season at Prairie Meadows.