06/26/2007 11:00PM

High Again gets top billing in Oaks


ALTOONA, Iowa - The Grade 3, $200,000 Iowa Oaks and the $100,000 Saylorville Stakes add outstanding depth to Friday night's Iowa Festival of Racing card at Prairie Meadows. The 1 1/16-mile Oaks offers a field of 10 fillies looking to rise in the division, while the six-furlong Saylorville, for fillies and mares, is led by the promising local filly Miss Macy Sue.

High Again, from the barn of Bill Mott, is the horse to beat in the Oaks. High Again won the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss at Gulfstream Park earlier this year, and ran second in the Grade 3 Dogwood at Churchill Downs in her last start.

"She's a very honest filly, and if she takes to the surface she should be fine," said said Ken McCarthy, assistant trainer for Mott's Churchill-based stable. "High Again is doing very well right now, and certainly fits with this field."

Rafael Bejarano rides High Again for the first time.

Marietta is the wild card in the Oaks. Long on talent but with only a maiden win to show in six starts, she comes into the race after a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Selene at Woodbine.

"She had a very troubled trip that day," said her trainer, Eoin Harty. "She ran on to get third, but I certainly think she'll be closer on Friday, and we look forward to seeing how she'll fare."

The Iowa-bred Irish Party scratched out of a statebred stakes race last weekend to run in the Oaks.

"This is really a great opportunity for her," said her trainer, Kelly Von Hemel. "It's a chance to get her a graded stakes win on our home track, and she's earned the right to give it a shot."

Swift Temper, 10th in the Kentucky Oaks, and Le Chateau, fifth in the Fair Grounds Oaks, also deserve a look.

Miss Macy Sue at home in Saylorville

The Saylorville maybe be short on entrants with six, but not on talent. Miss Macy Sue, the first local runner to be named the morning-line favorite in an Iowa Festival of Racing event, comes into the race after winning the Grade 3 Winning Colors at Churchill Downs in a swift 1:08.68 for six furlongs. She is 3 for 3 in 2007.

"She's doing great, blew out in 47 and change the other day, and we're the home team," said Von Hemel, who trains her.

Also in the Saylorville is Ready to Please, who finished fourth as the favorite in the Winning Colors after a very troubled trip.

"She's an easy filly to train, and in her last race she found all sorts of trouble," said her trainer, Todd Pletcher.

Look for a better race out of Ready to Please with John Velazquez back aboard.

Fiery Pursuit will cut back in distance for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Her last six starts were all around two turns. She won the Gradeo2, $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on May 4 at Churchill Downs, but has struggled in her last two starts. The change in distance could help wake her up.

Country Diva, Gleaming Elegance, and Flashy Lady complete the field.

The Saylorville is race 6, the Oaks race 7.