07/03/2001 11:00PM

Iowa Distaff loses Asher, gains competitiveness


ALTOONA, Iowa - The late defection of expected favorite Asher has left the $125,000 Iowa Distaff a wide-open event, with Frankly My Dear and Royal Fair the likely favorites Friday evening at Prairie Meadows.

Frankly My Dear exits the best race, the Grade 1 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 3, in which she finished fifth, beaten 12 1/2 lengths by Lazy Slusan. A 4-year-old daughter of Scarlet Ibis, Frankly My Dear had finished second in stakes competition in each of her two previous starts while being defeated by multiple stakes winners Darkling My Darling and Lu Ravi.

Frankly My Dear has won six of 15 career starts and has more than $300,000 in earnings for her owners, Mt. Brilliant Stable and Greg Goodman. Trainer Michael Stidham has named Robby Albarado aboard Frankly My Dear in the Distaff, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for fillies and mares.

Royal Fair, a 4-year-old daughter of Storm Cat trained by Rusty Arnold, brings solid credentials into the Distaff. In her most recent start, she finished fourth, beaten just 2 3/4 lengths by Saudi Poetry, in the Grade 3 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill on June 16. Before that she nearly pulled off a major upset by rallying to finish second, beaten only a head by Saudi Poetry, in the Grade 2 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap at 19-1.

But Royal Fair's career record is a bit troubling to those looking to make a win wager, as she has finished second in 11 of her 19 starts and has only three career victories. Pat Day has the mount in the Distaff.

Miss Seffens romps

Miss Seffens controlled the pace from start to finish and scored by a widening 7 1/2 lengths over The Happy Hopper in Tuesday's $125,000 Saylorville Stakes.

Under jockey Jon Court, Miss Seffens ($4.60) ran the first quarter-mile of the six-furlong race in a speedy 21.87 seconds, under mild pressure from Via Gras. The Steve Wren-trained Miss Seffens opened a clear advantage approaching the stretch and coasted home under an aggressive hand ride in 1:08.62, about two-fifths of a second off the track record.

The victory was the ninth in 19 career starts for Miss Seffens, a 4-year-old daughter of Dehere. With the $75,000 winner's purse, Miss Seffens has earned $361,578 for owners Karen and Hays Biggs.