07/22/2011 1:29PM

Horsemen's Park: Iowa invaders look strong in Omaha Stakes


OMAHA, Neb. – Dark Ruler and Schramsberg head a strong list of Iowa invaders descending upon Horsemen’s Park for the one-mile, $50,000 Omaha Stakes as the four-day Festival of Racing draws to a close Sunday afternoon. Announcer Terry Wallace will send the field on its way for the feature, which drew a strong field of 10.

Schramsberg is the likely favorite for the Omaha as he tries to rebound off an uncharacteristic last-place finish in the Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows on June 25. His last two wins have been against very strong company but have been spread out. He captured the grassy Remington Green Stakes in Oklahoma in October and then returned for another turf score in the Grade 3 Connolly Handicap at Sam Houston in late January. Trainer Chris Hartman will bring in Ken Tohill to ride.

Dark Ruler, trained by Nebraska Hall of Famer Don Von Hemel, is riding a three-race win streak and will be making his first stakes appearance with Ken Shino in to ride. An abundance of early speed in this race should set up a good stalking trip for Dark Ruler, who has been placed just off the leaders while taking optional claiming races at Prairie Meadows in his latest starts.

Defending champion Tenth Power, trained by Milton Gaede, drew the outside post 10 for this race but has been in good form of late and also could benefit from a hot early pace. Tenth Power is coming off a 2 3/4-length win in the HBPA Stakes at Lincoln Race Course and will have regular rider Ashley Dill aboard.

The early speed in this race should come from Humble Smarty, winner of the Honor The Hero Turf Express at Canterbury Park in May, Nomorewineforeddie, who was third in the Brooks Fields at Canterbury last out, Wings of War, and locally based Sweet Tigger.

Also featured on the card is the $27,500 Skunktail Stakes for 3-year-old Nebraska-bred colts and geldings. The race drew a field of eight, including the entry of Thee Hemi and Devils Way for trainer Christy Johnson. Another Bumper and Kalebs Ablumin, an uncoupled entry from the barn of Chuck Turco, should vie for the favorite’s role.

◗ The meet got under way Thursday evening as Sookie’s Kookies scored her third straight win by dominating her 3-year-old statebred rivals by five lengths in the $28,800 Fantango Lady Stakes under Jordan Olesiak.