06/28/2006 11:00PM

Master Command rolling

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Master Command, trained by Todd Pletcher, has won 4 of his last 5 races.

ALTOONA, Iowa - Rarely does a $300,000 stakes attract eight graded stakes winners, but that's the case in Saturday's Grade 2 , which drew a field of 13.

While many in the 1 1/8-mile Cornhusker field have stronger credentials, the improving Master Command may prove the one to beat for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Master Command, a 4-year-old son of A. P. Indy, scored his first graded stakes victory in his last start, a gate-to-wire 2 1/4-length score in the Grade 3 William Donald Schaefer Handicap at 1 1/8 miles at Pimlico on May 20.

Master Command has won 4 of his last 5 starts, with his only loss during that time coming in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap, where he finished fourth with a wide trip.

Overall, Master Command has a record of 4-2-1 from 8 starts and $178,920 in earnings. Rafael Bejarano picks up the mount on Master Command, who is the starting highweight in the Cornhusker at 117 pounds. He will concede from 1 to 7 pounds to his 12 rivals.

Gouldings Green is another who enters the Cornhusker on the upswing. Trained by Tony Reinstedler, Gouldings Green has scored two straight stakes victories, the most recent via disqualification in the Grade 3 Hanshin Handicap at a mile at Arlington on May 27.

Gouldings Green, a winner of 6 of his 12 starts, figures to get a good stalking trip in the Cornhusker under his regular rider, Corey Lanerie. Gouldings Green will carry 116 pounds Saturday.

Good Reward, a multiple Grade 1 winner on the turf, seeks his first graded stakes victory on the dirt. Trained by Shug McGaughey, Good Reward is winless since the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap, run June 2005 at Belmont Park. In his best effort this season, Good Reward finished third, beaten two lengths, in the Maker's Mark at Keeneland in April. McGaughey said that Good Reward's owner-breeder, the Phipps Stable, wanted to try him on the dirt again.

"He's trained well on [dirt] and he's doing really well," McGaughey said. "If he takes to the dirt he'll be very tough in there."

Mike Smith will ride Good Reward at 115 pounds.

Adding depth to the Cornhusker field are Alumni Hall, who has over $720,000 in earnings and has finished second in back-to-back Grade 3 stakes; Congrats, who is less than $1,100 short of $1 million in career earnings; Three Hour Nap, who won the Grade 3 National Jockey Club Handicap two starts back; and Real Dandy, who won the $750,000 West Virginia Derby last year for trainer Steve Asmussen.

- additional reporting by David Grening