05/05/2009 11:00PM

Phelps loaded with top pair


Breeder-owner Isaac "Gene" Phelps has experienced plenty of success during his lengthy participation in racing. But with the classy veteran Wayzata Bay and flashy sophomore filly Don'ttalktome in his stable, things have never been better for the Minnesota native. Both runners reside in trainer Judi Hicklin's barn at Prairie Meadows and are being pointed to stakes races here in the coming weeks.

Wayzata Bay, who last week was named the Iowa Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association's 2008 horse of the year, has been freshened since a subpar effort in the Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 7.

"The Challenger lacked early pace, and he wasn't able to get involved," said Hicklin, who is looking forward to running Wayzata Bay at Prairie Meadows, where he has won five stakes races. His richest lifetime victory was in last June's Grade 2 Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap here at odds of 39-1.

Wayzata Bay, a 7-year-old homebred gelding by Roar, was tentatively pointed for the April 25 Fonner/Gus Bosselman Stakes in Nebraska. However, Hicklin and Phelps decided to pass the race in which he ran second last year.

"I thought it was too much to ask to ship him up from Tampa, settle him in quickly here, and then send him to Fonner," she said. "We'll stay here and go for the Jim Rasmussen Memorial," a race Wayzata Bay won in 2006 and the local prep for the May 23 Cornhusker.

Phelps, who races his horses as managing partner of World Thoroughbreds Racing Inc., keeps his broodmare band at his own farm in Midway, Ky.

"A neat thing about Gene," Hicklin said, "is that he makes all of the decisions on matings and raising his horses by himself. For example, he raced Don'ttalktome's first dam, Withdrawn, and second dam, It's Over. He sent Withdrawn to Cactus Ridge and got a fast filly - Don'ttalktome."

Don'ttalktome dominated the opening weekend's Goldfinch Stakes here April 25 and will try to stretch her speed from six furlongs to one mile in the June 6 Panthers Stakes.