05/23/2013 12:31PM

Prairie Meadows: Five females in quest of first stakes win in Wild Rose

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Saturday’s featured $60,000 Wild Rose, a 1 1/16-mile event for fillies and mares at Prairie Meadows, brings together five runners all looking for a breakthrough versus stakes-level competition.

The Wild Rose is the local prep race for the $100,000 Iowa Distaff, one of six open stakes races comprising the Iowa Festival of Racing on June 28-29.

Maude S, an Arlington shipper trained by Jim DiVito, and Itsabeautifulthing, a relatively new member of Donnie K. Von Hemel’s Churchill Downs-based string, are expected to vie for favoritism Saturday and both are late-rallying mares.

Maude S, who is versatile in regards to racing surface, was in deep when she faded to sixth in the Grade 3 Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne, beaten 16 1/4 lengths by Disposablepleasure.

The 5-year-old Maude S improved steadily during last season, including a rallying third in Arlington’s Grade 3 Chicago Handicap over seven furlongs. A sharp trio of half-mile Polytrack works since May 2 should have her primed for her Prairie Meadows debut. Jockey Jeffrey Sanchez comes in from Chicago to handle the assignment.

Itsabeautifulthing, who has spent time with Christophe Clement in New York and Roger Engel in Texas and Oklahoma, wintered with Von Hemel, running twice at Oaklawn Park. Her best effort came in the mud on Feb. 22, when she bested fellow Wild Rose rival Miss Hockaday by 1 1/2 lengths in a one-mile optional $50,000 claiming race.

ecently, Itsabeautifulthing failed to fire on turf when sixth at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old Itsabeautifulthing can rebound on her return to the main track, where she is 3 for 4 during her 11-race career.

The opposition is headed by the Canterbury shipper Lava Girl and the Oklahoma-based Miss Hockaday.

Lava Girl, who recently joined trainer Bernell Rhone’s stable, began her career with Doug O’Neill in California and has spent time with Todd Pletcher and David Fawkes in Florida. The lightly raced 6-year-old Lava Girl was sharp in the mud on Monday morning, when she worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.40.

Miss Hockaday, who may be the deepest closer of all in a group lacking early speed, swept past her rivals last Saturday when winning a 1 3/16-mile starter allowance by 2 3/4 lengths at Will Rogers Downs. Conditioned by Ace Hare, the 6-year-old Miss Hockaday had been freshened before her last start and finished with good energy.

The job of pacesetter may fall to 8-year-old Back to Hurstland, who showed some tactical speed on May 2 when easily winning a $5,000 claiming race in the slop by 8 1/4 lengths.