07/25/2013 12:52PM

Prairie Meadows: Golden Ticket fresh for Prairie Meadows Handicap

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ALTOONA, Iowa – Golden Ticket, whose steady improvement last summer culminated in a dead heat for the win with Alpha in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Travers Stakes, is on the march again, and Saturday’s $100,000 Prairie Meadows Handicap at 1 1/4 miles is his next tour stop.

After returning to his best form when he was second, 6 1/4 lengths behind always-in-command winner Fort Larned and four lengths in front of Ron the Greek, in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 15, the Ken McPeek-trained Golden Ticket has been freshened.

Golden Ticket, a 4-year-old ­Speightstown colt, has a pair of good five-furlong moves at his Louisville base in July and makes the trek north as a prohibitive favorite. Jockey Terry Thompson, who steered the McPeek-trained Flashy American when she romped in the June 28 Iowa Distaff, will ride Golden Ticket for the first time.

The accomplished trio of Worldly, Global Stage and Red Lead head the challenge to Golden Ticket in the Prairie Meadows Handicap, and all three have credentials.

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Worldly, who won this race in 2011 when trained by Paul McGee, makes his first start under the care of Brendan Walsh. After a pair of lackluster efforts at Fair Grounds this winter, Worldly was sold to owner Chad Schumer. A stoutly bred A.P. Indy horse, who is out of the multiple Grade 1 winner Urbane, Worldly returns with a string of solid morning drills at the Churchill Downs Trackside training center. He will be piloted by Glenn Corbett.

Global Stage showed an affinity for the surface July 4 when he crushed a group of six allowance rivals by 7 1/4 lengths in race at one mile and 70 yards. He returns from Canterbury Park for owner-trainer David Wolochuk, and Jake Barton takes the mount.

Red Lead, who was thrashed when he ran sixth and last in the June 29 Cornhusker, looked sharp breezing four furlongs in 47.20 seconds last Saturday. A 7-year-old gelding who has won 13 races and earned $782,677, Red Lead can threaten with his best effort for trainer Chris Hartman. The stable’s regular rider, Ken Tohill, will be aboard.

The field of six is rounded out by Tiz Ready, a Lynn Chleborad trainee who ran fifth in the Cornhusker, and the Ray Tracy-trained Tapilu, a deep-closing sort who rises significantly in class.

The Prairie Meadows Handicap is scheduled to be run at 9:37 p.m. Central.

Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
Golden Ticket can look great absolutely crushing the field in his comeback race 1/26 at GP or flat and disinterested two races later 3/30 in G3 Skip Away over same surface. If he is not on at least his A- game he could get Upset.