06/29/2001 11:00PM

Saylorville kicks off six-stakes festival


ALTOONA, Iowa - Miss Seffens and The Happy Hopper lead the field for Tuesday's $125,000 Saylorville Stakes at six furlongs, which opens the Iowa Festival of Racing at Prairie Meadows.

The festival, which is in its third year, runs through Saturday and features six open stakes races worth a total of $1.2 million, culminating with the Grade 3 $400,000 Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap on Saturday. Two $75,000-added stakes for Iowa-breds will also be run during the festival.

The festival drew several of the sport's stars last year, including Captain Steve, who captured the Iowa Derby, and Sir Bear and Skimming, who ran one-two in the Cornhusker.

This year's star is Dixie Dot Com, who arrived here Saturday for trainer Bill Morey. He will be favored in the Cornhusker following two impressive victories at Lone Star Park.

Miss Seffens enters Tuesday's Sayorville off a fourth-place finish behind the streaking Hallowed Dreams in the $100,000 Valid Expectations at Lone Star on May 28. In her previous start, Miss Seffens scored by four lengths against allowance company at Churchill Downs.

Overall, Miss Seffens has a career record of 8-1-1 from 17 starts, good for $286,578 in earnings for owners Kaaren and Hays Biggs. Jon Court will be in Kentucky to ride Miss Seffens in the Sayorville. She is trained by Steve Wren.

The Happy Hopper has finished fourth in graded stakes in each of her last two starts. A multiple stakes-winning 5-year-old, The Happy Hopper is the richest member of the Sayorville field with career earnings of $698,561. Owned by Linda and Kerry Ozment and trained by Bob Holthus, The Happy Hopper has 10 wins.

Last year, The Happy Hopper finished second in the Saylorville to Bourbon Belle. Luis Quinonez, the second leading rider at the meet, rides The Happy Hopper on Tuesday.

A pair of local hopefuls add intrigue to the Saylorville. Iowa-bred champion Nut N Better comes into the race off back-to-back stakes wins for trainer Fred Falldorf, while Via Gras captured the $50,000 Prairie Rose Stakes here on May 12 for trainer Don Von Hemel.

o Fancy Prancer ran her record to two wins in as many starts in Friday's $50,000 Prairie Gold Lassie Stakes for 2-year-old fillies going five furlongs.

Fancy Prancer ($5) cruised home by five lengths under Ken Shino in 57.18 seconds. Go and Look finished second, and it was another two lengths back to Devil's Rush in third.

Greg Tracy trains Fancy Prancer for owner Stan Ryan.