06/27/2010 12:00AM

Shadowbdancing captures Cornhusker

Jack Coady/Coady Photography
Shadowbdancing wins the Grade 2 Cornhusker Handicap under eddie Razo Jr. at Prairie Meadows Saturday night.

It's about 330 miles from Altoona, Iowa, to the southwestern tip of Lake Michigan, but at the finish of Saturday night's Cornhusker Handicap, Prairie Meadows might as well have been in Chicago. There was Arlington-based Shadowbdancing holding clear Arlington-based, Illinois-bred Racing Bran to win the by one length.

Aboard the winner was longtime Chicago rider Eddie Razo, summering this year at Prairie Meadows, while Chris Emigh, in from Chicago for the races, piloted Racing Bran.

Razo, in fact, might have made all the difference. Shadowbdancing finished second in the 2009 Cornhusker after setting a swift pace. The local Cornhusker prep on May 29 followed a similar script. But where Shadowbancing led through a half-mile in 46.68 seconds that evening, Razo held him off the lead through a half-mile in 47.79 Saturday night. On a lightning-fast dirt strip, that represented a very modest pace, and when Shadowbancing surged three-wide to the lead partway around the far turn, there was no catching him.

"The horse, last time he was a little rank, but today he settled really nice down the backside," Razo said, "At the three-eighths pole, I said 'Go ahead.' He's a very nice horse."

Shadowbdancing's 10th win was his first at 1 1/8 miles. A 5-year-old horse by Montbrook, he has now earned more than $622,000 for owners Robert and Nancy Bartels. Veteran trainer Terrel Gore has 532 career wins; this was his second in a graded stakes.

Racing Bran made the early lead, with King Dan two-wide in second, and Shadowbancing three-wide in third around the first turn and down the backstretch. Racing Bran set fractions of 23.64 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 47.79 to the half, and 1:11.68 for six furlongs. Fractional times one race earlier in the Iowa Derby were 23.36, 45.76, and 1:09.77 - no wonder Shadowbdancing and Racing Bran ran one-two for the Cornhusker's final three furlongs.

The only closer to make any progress was 23-1 Golden Yank, who rallied wide for third; Favored Mythical Power made no impression and finished fourth. Co-third choices Red Lead (6th) and Brass Hat (8th) never were factors.

The winner, bred by Ocala Stud Farm, paid $22.80 to win and was timed in 1:48.24 for the nine furlongs.

Gore said just after the race that Shadowbancing could make his next start in the West Virginia Governors at Mountaineer Park, a race the horse won last summer.