03/25/2009 11:00PM

Palanka City seems primed for good effort


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Palanka City came to town this meet for the filly and mare sprint series at Oaklawn Park and on Saturday she will attempt to knock out her final objective here, the $50,000 Carousel. She figures to start as a solid favorite in the six-furlong race, which will share a card with the $50,000 Rainbow Miss for 3-year-old fillies bred in Arkansas.

Palanka City began her Oaklawn stand on Jan. 17, when she dueled on the lead throughout to finish second by a head in the $50,000 American Beauty. One start later, she was a sweeping 1o1/2-length winner of the $50,000 Spring Fever on Feb. 21.

"She really ran a big race last time," said trainer Terry Gestes. "She laid off the pace a little bit and made a nice move and finished very strong. It wasn't too surprising. She's just been doing very well. She has the ability and she showed us that day."

Gestes said Palanka City, a Grade 3 winner of $265,295, has thrived since her last start. She breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 March 18, the second quickest of 17 works at the distance.

"She seems to be super sharp," said Gestes. "Everything seems to be going in the right direction."

Palanka City even drew well, getting a tactical outside post. She will break from gate 6 in the field of seven, and will be ridden by Chris Emigh. Gestes has not yet made concrete plans for Palanka City following the Oaklawn meet, but said she could turn up next at Prairie Meadows.

The chief threat could be Blowing Kisses, who enters the Carousel off a dominant, $40,000 optional claiming win on March 7. She came rolling through the lane to cover six furlongs in 1:10.80 in her first start at Oaklawn.

"She seems like she likes it there," said trainer Larry Jones. "She finished well the other day and, hopefully, she steps it up a notch to the stakes level there."

Blowing Kisses placed in two sprint stakes at Aqueduct prior to her start at Oaklawn. She is a 4-year-old daughter of Vindication and will break from post 3 under Terry Thompson.

Affirmed Truth leads Rainbow Miss

Affirmed Truth, who earlier this meet was fourth to top Kentucky Oaks candidate Rachel Alexandra in the $50,000 Martha Washington, looks good against Arkansas-breds in the Rainbow Miss. She has raced once since her run-in with Rachel Alexandra, wiring a field of second-level statebred allowance sprinters March 5. That race was for fillies and mares, and Affirmed Truth has the added advantage of returning to racing against straight 3-year-olds Saturday. Jon Court has the mount on Affirmed Truth, who drew the rail for trainer Tim Ice.

The chief threats include the Gestes-trained Robin My Girl, who was third in the allowance won by Affirmed Truth, and Time Well Spent, who last summer was a 14-length maiden special weight winner at Louisiana Downs. She invades from Fair Grounds for trainer Michelle Lovell.