05/26/2012 7:42AM

Prairie Meadows: Favorites Salty Strike, River Bear score in co-featured stakes

Coady Photography
Salty Strike, under Shane Laviolette, surges to get up by a nose in the Prairie Rose.

ALTOONA, Iowa -- Salty Strike's determined late bid was good enough for a nose victory over the game pacesetter Starlite Starbrite in Friday night's co-featured $60,000 Prairie Rose Stakes at Prairie Meadows.

Under a stiff drive from jockey Shane Laviolette, favorite Salty Strike ($3.80) registered her fifth lifetime tally and her first outside of her favored Churchill Downs main track. Trained by Ken McPeek for owner Craig B. Singer, Salty Strike managed a rally over a sloppy track, covering the six furlongs in 1:09.85.

Starlite Starbrite blazed through fractions of 21.67 and 44.55 seconds on a clear lead from her five rivals. However, despite Glenn Corbett's strong right-handed drive, she tired in the last 40 yards and was nipped. It was 3 1/2 lengths back to the third-place finisher Yournotthebossofme.

River Bear continued his rich vein of form by taking the $60,000 Prairie Express Stakes by three-quarters of a length from fellow Illinois-based shipper Signsealndeliver.

Uncorking his reliable late kick beneath regular rider Danush Sukie, the 7-year-old River Bear charged home from last place in the field of six. Relishing the slop, he got the six furlongs in a quick 1:09.18.

Sent off the 2-1 favorite, River Bear ($6.40), one of the stars of the Fairmount Park backstretch, also bested defending champ Wiredfortwotwenty and recent Grade 3 winner Outta Tune. Trained by Leroy Hellman for Dana Waier Thoroughbreds LLC, River Bear made it three wins in a row and 16 for his stellar career.

Chicago-based Signsealndeliver surged from fifth on the turn to establish a clear lead at the sixteenth pole but could not resist the winner's move. Third-place finisher Wiredfortwotwenty dueled with City Sage through a 44.52-second half-mile and weakened late. Outta Tune never got untracked from his inside berth and ended up fourth.

Returning to St. Louis with $36,000 for the victory, River Bear has now earned $750,980 and is a likely returnee for the June 30 $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap.