07/25/2007 11:00PM

Lack of pace hurts Wayzata Bay's title defense


ALTOONA, Iowa - Wayzata Bay will attempt to become the first two-time winner of the Prairie Meadows Handicap when he faces six others in the 11th running of the $75,000 event.

Trained by Judi Hicklin, Wayzata Bay comes into the 1 1/16-mile race off a fifth-place finish in this track's signature race, the Grade 2 Cornhusker Handicap. The apparent lack of pace in Saturday's race will make Wayzata's Bay's repeat attempt difficult as he does his best running from off the pace. Carlos Montalvo will once again be aboard Wayzata Bay, a 5-year-old son of Roar.

Real Dandy, the highweight in the race at 118 pounds, is another whose chances may be compromised by the lack of early pace. Real Dandy's lone win of the year came in a minor stakes at Sunland Park. Terry Thompson, who captured the riding title at this year's Thoroughbred meet here, will be aboard. Real Dandy is cross-entered in the Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park on Saturday.

Trainer Steve Hobby sends Like an Eagle out in search of his second win of 2007. Like an Eagle finished fifth of six in his last start, while trying turf for the first time and having his blinkers removed. A 4-year-old son of Victory Gallop, he will wear blinkers, return to the main track, and be reunited with jockey Tim Doocy, who was aboard for his lone score of the year.

Sur Sandpit appears to have turned back the clock in his last couple of starts. After being a top Iowa-bred early in his career it appeared as though he'd lost a couple of steps. But after winning his last two starts, including the Cyclones Stakes for statebreds, the 7-year-old Sur Sandpit has a chance to become only the second Iowa-bred to win this race.

The pace is likely to be set by the 2004 winner of this race, the 11-year-old Tricky Mocha, who seems to be the lone speed. Tricky Mocha gets in light at 110 pounds after knocking off $14,000 claimers in his last start.