07/26/2012 1:04PM

Prairie Meadows: Shadowbdancing tops small, competitive field in Handicap


ALTOONA, Iowa – Saturday night’s $100,000 Prairie Meadows Handicap, a 1 1/4-mile stamina test for older horses, drew a difficult-to-separate field of five headed by 2010 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap champion Shadowbdancing.

Shadowbdancing, the longstanding star of Chicago-based trainer Terrel Gore’s stable, added the $60,000 Jim Rasmussen Memorial Stakes to his stellar local r é sum é before finishing fourth in the June 30 Cornhusker, 5 3/4 lengths behind the winner, Fort Larned. Assigned high weight of 118 pounds for Saturday’s race by Prairie Meadows racing secretary Fred Hutton, the 7-year-old Shadowbdancing will be piloted by Quincy Hamilton.

Although Shadowbdancing has always shown tactical speed, the pacesetting role may fall to the improving Illinois-bred Hope for Today. Trained by Chris Block and ridden by this meet’s leading rider, Alex Birzer, the 4-year-old Hope for Today showed an affinity for Prairie Meadows when cruising to a four-length win in a one-mile optional-claiming race over a sloppy track June 15.

It Happened Again will be returning to Iowa for this track’s perennial leading owner, Maggi Moss. It Happened Again regained his best form July 11 when capturing the $100,000 Golden Bear Stakes at Indiana Downs by six lengths. Unable to show his best in three previous tries over this surface, It Happened Again may have his best shot on Saturday if he can stay the 10 furlongs.

Achaemenes, who will van in from Arlington for trainer Doug Mathews, also fits in this spot and is another who likes to attend the pace. He enters off of a gutsy nose win in a one-mile optional claimer at Churchill Downs.

Infrattini, a 4-year-old Include gelding, represents Paul McGee’s Churchill-based stable, which won last year’s Handicap with Worldly. Ridden by Ken Tohill, who recently garnered his 3,000th career win here, Infrattini’s ability to rally behind steady fractions may prove beneficial.

Scheduled as the eighth race on the card, the Prairie Meadows Handicap has a scheduled post of 9:37 p.m. Central.