06/26/2007 12:00AM

Silent Pleasure returns in festival


Silent Pleasure, unraced since capturing the April 28 Texas Mile for his fourth straight victory, is one of 10 older horses entered to run Saturday in the $300,000 Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap, the annual highlight of the racing season at Prairie Meadows.

The Grade 2 Cornhusker is one of three Saturday stakes at Prairie Meadows and is the hub of the Iowa Festival of Racing for the coming weekend. Two $125,000 stakes, the Iowa Sprint Handicap and the Iowa Distaff Breeders' Cup, will precede the Cornhusker on a 10-race Saturday card. In all, eight stakes worth $1.2 million will be run Friday through Monday at the Altoona, Iowa, track.

Horses are shipping from all over to compete in the Festival, including Silent Pleasure, who is based in Louisiana with trainer Howard Scarberry. After winning the Grade 3 Texas Mile, Silent Pleasure was scheduled to run back in the May 28 Lone Star Park Handicap but was scratched after he apparently was bit by a spider in a hind ankle.

Silent Pleasure, with Tracy Hebert to ride, drew post 3 in the 1 1/8-mile Cornhusker. Other notable entrants invading from elsewhere include three from Churchill Downs: Smokeyjonessutton (post 4, Julien Leparoux), Patriot Act (Robby Albarado, post 5), and Jonesboro (post 7, Jamie Theriot). Also, More Than Regal (post 8, Luis Quinonez) and Barbican (post 10, Mark Guidry) will be coming from Keeneland, while Dry Martini (post 9, Elvis Trujillo), trained by Barclay Tagg, will be shipping from New York.

The balance of the Cornhusker field is Wayzata Bay, Alpha Tejano, and Deputy Glitters.

The six-furlong Iowa Sprint could have Fleet Valid, shipping from Maryland for trainer Michael Trombetta, as a slight favorite. A winner in 4 of 7 starts, Fleet Valid will be ridden by Leparoux and break from post 1 in a field of nine.

Two starts back, Fleet Valid earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 110 in an allowance victory at Delaware Park. Two of his rivals, both shipping from Churchill, also have earned huge Beyer Figures recently: Benny the Bull got a 111 in a May 28 allowance win, while Cougar Cat earned a 110 finishing second to Fabulous Strike in the June 2 Aristides BC.

The 1 1/16-mile Iowa Distaff has three Kentucky shippers looking good among its field of six, with Leah's Secret likely to come favored over Plaid and Soul Search.

First post Saturday is 6:30 p.m. Central, with the Cornhusker, the eighth race, scheduled to be run at 10. The Iowa Sprint goes as the sixth, and the Iowa Distaff is the seventh.