05/23/2009 12:00AM

Makosi fresh for first try against Iowa-breds

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Nine Iowa-bred 3-year-old fillies meet in the $55,000 Bob Bryant Stakes, a six-furlong sprint at Prairie Meadows.

Favoritism figures to fall to either the former California-based Makosi or Brava Darby. Makosi, who joined trainer Chris Richard's formidable barn in April at Oaklawn Park, has impressed Richard since shipping to Prairie Meadows. The Bob Bryant will mark her first race since running third in a Golden Gate Fields entry-level allowance race last November, and it will be her first try versus Iowa-breds.

"She is coming up to the race in good fashion," Richard said. "Her three workouts here have been exceptional, and although I'd have preferred to have a race in her, I expect a big effort."

Both of Brava Derby's races have come at this meet, and she pulled away to easily win both of them. Bred by Iowa State University, Brava Derby possesses tactical speed and appears ready for the rise in class. She is trained by Lynn Chleborad, who said she enjoyed her "best Oaklawn Park meet ever," and going into the weekend was second to Kelly Von Hemel in the Prairie trainer standings with 12 wins. A win by Brava Derby would give Chleborad her first stakes triumph of the year.

Sakakawea, a consistent daughter of Rossini, is 2 for 2 at Prairie Meadows, including an April 27 allowance victory by a neck in the mud. She represents Ray Tracy's large stable and has a solid chance for an upset.

Rematch in Gray's Lake

The co-featured Gray's Lakes Stakes, a $55,000 event for 3-year-old Iowa-bred colts and geldings, has the look of a rematch between the undefeated Karl's Speed Demon and I Vow To Win, who finished one-two, separated by only a half-length, in a May 12 entry-level allowance race.

Trainer Mike Natale, who has taken over owner Sandra Rasmussen's River Ridge Ranch LLC's runners this season, has witnessed a remarkable turnaround in Karl's Speed Demon's temperament.

"I brought him to Oaklawn at the start of the year and he was so green that I was ready to send him home," Natale said. "With the addition of full cup blinkers and a stronger exercise rider, he came around. He's a big horse with a nice, long stride."

The likely favorite, ridden by Israel Ocampo, Karl's Speed Demon will break from post 3 in a field of six.

I Vow To Win, who won The Iowa Stallion Futurity last August, breaks from the rail and possesses natural speed. Hailing from owner-breeder-trainer Larry Hunt's select stable of Iowa-breds, the gelded son of Broken Vow could force a battle on the front end with Natale's other entrant Mr. Cliburn.

Of those likely to benefit from a rapid pace, the Todd Rarick-trained West Albany makes his third start of the meet, has a solid turn of foot, and will be rallying late under jockey Kyle Kaenel.