04/18/2013 3:50PM

Prairie Meadows: King Henny brings class edge into Golden Circle


In a break from tradition, Prairie Meadows will open its 2013 stakes schedule Saturday evening with the $60,000 Golden Circle, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds which attracted five colts and geldings.

The Goldfinch, a six-furlong stakes for 3-year old-fillies, usually kicks off the stakes calendar. The stakes was moved this season to next Saturday, April 27.

Saturday’s Golden Circle is headed by two-time stakes winner King Henny. He faces a good group that includes, the improving Fair Grounds shipper Favorite Uncle and Vannistelrooy Star, winner of a competitive waiver claiming race at Oaklawn on Feb. 2.

King Henny, victorious in Remington Park’s $100,000 Clever Trevor last November and in Oaklawn’s Gazebo on March 2, possesses the most class and experience. Trained by Steve Asmussen, King Henny has good tactical speed which should serve him well beneath jockey Terry Thompson.

Favorite Uncle, who ran fourth in his first try on grass in the Black Gold on March 2, is a solid closer with both lifetime wins on dirt at this six-furlong distance. Trainer Tom Amoss, who has enjoyed plenty of success at Prairie Meadows in recent years, ships in Favorite Uncle from

Churchill Downs. Alex Birzer, the leader rider at Prairie Meadows last season, has the call.

Vannistelrooy Star was overmatched when fourth at 76-1 behind the undefeated Black Bear in an April 12 allowance test at Oaklawn. He should fit better in this small field for owner-trainer Tim Martin.

The Golden Circle is rounded out by pace factors Sugar Business, a quick Minnesota-bred, and the undefeated Vervata, who makes his 3-year-old debut.