06/29/2004 11:00PM

Menifeeque looks good


ALTOONA, Iowa - Menifeeque looks to be on the verge of winning her first graded stakes Friday in the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows.

Nine 3-year-old fillies run in the $125,000 Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile race that is part of the Iowa Festival of Racing and is being run as a graded stakes for the first time.

Trained by Bill Mott, Menifeeque comes off a second-place finish in the Revidere Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 12. She also finished second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in the $150,000 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs in March. Sandwiched between those races, Menifeeque ran fifth in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico on May 14 after acting up at the gate.

Shaun Bridgmohan rides Menifeeque on Friday, and should be able to work out a good stalking trip from the rail.

The regally bred Home Court makes her first start in a graded stakes in the Oaks. A daughter of Storm Cat out of champion mare Jewel Princess, Home Court won her debut at Saratoga last August, then didn't race for nine months.

Home Court, trained by Ken McPeek, returned to the races with a half-length win against entry-level allowance foes at Churchill on May 16. In her most recent start, Home Court suffered her first defeat, finishing third in a six-furlong overnight handicap at Arlington Park on June 6.

Home Court is bred to relish the distance of Friday's Oaks, and should be primed for a top effort in the third start of her form cycle. Pat Day picks up the mount.

He Loves Me could be the beneficiary of a fast early pace in the Oaks. He Loves Me has rallied to win three of her last four starts, all stakes, with her lone defeat during that period on turf.

In her last start, He Loves Me won by 1 1/2 lengths in Maryland-bred stakes company at Pimlico on Memorial Day. That race was at 1 1/16 miles, and He Loves Me has scored four wins in five tries at the distance. Jozbin Santana comes in from Maryland to ride what will be his first mount at Prairie. Richard Small trains He Loves Me.

Prospective Saint is the likely pacesetter in the Oaks. Trained by Pat Byrne, Prospective Saint won three of her first four career starts, all sprints, before finishing off the board in a turf stakes at Churchill in May. Prospective Saint raced around two turns for the first time in her last start, a three-other-than allowance at Churchill June 17. Prospective Saint ran off to a long early lead but weakened and finished fifth.