07/16/2009 11:00PM

Ravensworth will run late


OMAHA, Neb. - The $50,000 Omaha Stakes caps off the Festival of Racing, a four-day celebration of the sport that concludes the mini meet here Sunday afternoon.

The Omaha is the last of five races on the card, and a strong field of 10 older runners is entered in the one-mile race. Ravensworth, one of several invaders from Prairie Meadows, rates a slight nod in this wide-open affair.

Trained by Doug Matthews, Ravensworth is coming off a win over optional claiming company in his last start June 26 in Iowa. In what appears to be a fairly speed-loaded event, Ravensworth should have the ability to rate just off the leaders and uncork his late run with local rider Chris Fackler set to ride from post 2. Ravensworth was a strong-closing fourth in this race last year, beaten just over a length.

The speed of the race appears to be The Big Wave, another Iowa invader who has never tried the mile distance. Trained by Lynn Chleborad, The Big Wave was third in the six-furlong Prairie Express Stakes and rebounded to win an optional claimer on June 19. He will have Alex Birzer aboard from post 4.

Joining The Big Wave on the front will likely be Orientate Express, El Medwar, and Halo Flamingo, winner of this race last year.

Canard, shipping in from Canterbury Park with trainer David Van Winkle, is coming off a series of middle-distance turf races and should be another making a strong late move in this field. Although winless in seven starts this year, Canard has been a strong competitor and most recently was fourth, beaten two lengths, in the Brooks Fields Stakes at Canterbury on June 6. Jesus Ponce will have the mount from posto9.

* The card opens with a stakes race as a short field of five 3-year-old Nebraska-breds meets in the one-mile, $27,500 Skunktail Stakes. Reach One More, a four-time stakes winner this year in Nebraska, should rule as a heavy favorite coming off an 11-length win in the State Fair Board Stakes on June 6. Regular rider Mike Ziegler will be aboard.

* Apple Crumble shook off a strong challenge into the stretch and posted a 1 1/2-length win in the Fantango Lady Stakes on Thursday as the meet opened with mild temperatures and the usual strong crowd of about 8,000. Ridden by Jordan Olesiak, Apple Crumble grabbed her fifth win of the year and fourth stakes win for trainer Jason Wise. She covered the distance in 1:42.60 over a track rated good, which was still drying out from morning rain.