06/25/2008 11:00PM

Noonmark heads in Iowa Sprint Handicap


ALTOONA, Iowa - Saturday's Iowa Festival of Racing card, which is highlighted by the Grade 2 Cornhusker Handicap, also includes two undercard stakes.

The six-furlong $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap has drawn a field of 12, although two entrants are cross-entered elsewhere. Maya's Storm was entered in Friday's Iowa Derby as well, and according to trainer Kelly Von Hemel, the decision on where he'll run hadn't been made as of Thursday.

The likely Sprint favorite, Noonmark, has been entered in Philadelphia Park's Don Levine Memorial Handicap, too, but Scott Blasi, an assistant trainer to Steve Assmussen, said that Noonmark will run in the Iowa Sprint.

Noonmark began his 2008 campaign winning the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream Park in January and has run second in his last two starts, the Churchill Downs Stakes and the Aristides there. Robby Albarado will ride Noonmark, who carries top weight of 120 pounds.

Trainer Hugh Robertson is running the uncoupled Lovango and City Number, who will be making his first start of 2008. Lovango cuts back in distance after faltering as a 6-5 favorite in the one-mile Hanshin Handicap at Arlington Park in his last start. Jamie Theroit will ride Lovango, and Julien Leparoux is on City Number.

In the $125,000 Iowa Distaff, Rolling Sea appears to have a class advantage.

"We found the hard way that she doesn't like Polytrack" said Blasi, referring to her disappointing effort in her season debut in an Illinois-bred stakes over the Arlington's Polytrack. "Prairie Meadows has been a springboard to better races for her in the past, and we hope that we can get her back on track."

Albarado will ride Rolling Sea, from post 5 in the seven-horse field.

The improving Over and Under, trained by Dallas Stewart, looks for her second consecutive win at Prairie Meadows. She drew away under jockey Terry Thompson to win the prep for this race.

Fancy Fusaichi, trained by Bill Mott, tries stakes company for the first time. After winning a second-level allowance race two starts back, she had traffic trouble and settled for second as the favorite in her latest start.