05/13/2012 8:25AM

Prairie Meadows: Cresco Direct Hit collects first stakes win in John Wayne

Shelly McShane/Coady Photography
Cresco Direct Hit, ridden by Terry Thompson, wins the John Wayne by 1 1/2 lengths.

 ALTOONA, Iowa -- Cresco Direct Hit kicked clear from a demanding duel with defending champ and stablemate Mutti Blues to take the $70,000 John Wayne Stakes at Prairie Meadows on Saturday night.

The 7-year-old Cresco Direct Hit, owned by Maggi Moss and trained by Chris Richard, had plenty left after blazing through early fractions of 21.98 and 45.07 seconds to resist the spirited rally of the Lynn Chleborad-trained Cainam to score by 1 1/2 lengths.

The John Wayne, which brought together a deep group of 11 Iowa-breds going six furlongs, was dominated from the outset by the Richard-trained pair. Kate's Main Man, who was returning to a sprint distance for the first time since May 15, 2010 for trainer Randy Morse, stayed on to finish  a non-threatening third.

Wings of War, sent off at 2-1, could not get untracked from a contending position and finished fourth. Mutti Blues weakened in the stretch run and ended up sixth behind 35-1 longshot Runaway Walkaway.

Cresco Direct Hit, claimed by Moss for $7,500 on May 11, 2010, won his first stakes race, earning $42,000 for the leading owner who was winning her third race on the card. Moss, aiming for her 10th straight leading owner title at Prairie Meadows, is off to a 12 for 23 start, which puts her two in front of Black Oak Farm.

Under jockey Terry Thompson, Cresco Direct Hit covered the distance in 1:10.20 and returned $9.40 as the second choice.