05/22/2013 12:49PM

Prairie Meadows: Pair of stakes serve as festival preps


ALTOONA, Iowa – With the highlight of this meet, the Iowa Festival of Racing, just more than a month away, Prairie Meadows cranks up its stakes calendar Friday evening with a pair of six-furlong sprints, the $60,000 Prairie Rose and the $60,000 Prairie Express.

The five fillies and mares in the Prairie Rose will be trying to establish their credentials for the $100,000 Saylorville on June 28. The Prairie Rose drew the Illinois-bred Missjeanlouise, the locally based Kentucky-bred Lulu Wong, and a trio of top Arkansas-breds, All About Allie, Believe Me, and Jan’s Perfect Star.

Missjeanlouise, sent in from her Arlington Park base by trainer Roger Brueggemann, ran evenly in her seasonal debut when second in Hawthorne’s $88,800 Third Chance Handicap, a six-furlong race for Illinois-breds on April 27. Her ability to rally behind a quick pace should stand her in good stead.

Lulu Wong, a $32,000 claim by top owner Maggi Moss on Jan. 18, ran an excellent race in her local debut when second by a half-length in a May 4 optional claimer to her talented stablemate Behavioral. Conditioned by the meet’s leading trainer Chris Richard, Lulu Wong possesses tactical speed.

The lightly raced Jan’s Perfect Star, shipped up from Churchill Downs by trainer Randy Morse, is strictly the one to catch. She dusted Arkansas-bred competition in her first two starts and then set torrid fractions of 21.51 and 44.66 seconds before finishing third, beaten just 1 1/4 lengths, to Glamour Puss in a tough May 4 Churchill Downs optional claimer.

All About Allie seeks to regain her best form after a sixth-place finish in the April 11 Carousel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. She is 6 for 12 at six furlongs.

Believe Me enters off a career best 2 1/4-length win here in a May 10 optional claiming race.

Prairie Express: Flashpoint one to beat

The Prairie Express is the local prep for the June 29 $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap. Headed by the Steve Asmussen-trained Flashpoint, the Prairie Express has lured six accomplished sprinters, any of whom can win off his best performance.

Flashpoint, a Grade 3 winner in 2011 when trained by Wesley Ward, won the $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint on March 2 but was outrun when sixth in the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn on April 13. Signalling his readiness, Flashpoint, a 5-year-old Pomeroy horse, shows four solid breezes at his Lone Star Park base since the Count Fleet.

Conchacer, a $40,000 claim March 29 by trainer Chris Hartman for Robson Thoroughbreds, and J J Garbar, a Midwest Thoroughbreds homebred handled by Brueggemann, enter off solid wins at Hawthorne. Conchacer has shown an affinity for the surface here in three recent workouts capped by a five-furlong move in 1:00.43 on May 17. Arriving in career-best form, J J Garbar tackles stakes competition for the first time and has a useful turn of foot.

Speedsters City Sage, an impressive winner of an optional claimer here on April 28, and the popular 9-year-old Humble Smarty, who is 3 for 5 this year including a 4 1/2-length tally last time in the $51,000 Route 66 at Will Rogers Downs, are both capable of ensuring a rapid pace.