06/27/2007 11:00PM

Soul Search, Leah's Secret add class to Distaff


ALTOONA, Iowa - The Prairie Meadows meet peaks Saturday as the $125,000 Iowa Distaff and the $125,000 Iowa Sprint support the Grade 2 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap on an outstanding night of racing. The 1 1/16-mile Distaff has a tough field of six, while nine will run in the six-furlong Sprint.

Second in the Grade 1 Spinster last fall at Keeneland, Soul Search will be making just her second start of 2007 in the Distaff. She ran fourth in the Grade 3 Doubledogdare at Keeneland.

"We've entered her in some races that just didn't go," said trainer Neil Howard. "I do think she'll be sharp Saturday night and should be closer to the pace."

Coming off a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Allaire duPont Breeders' Cup Handicap at Pimlico, Leah's Secret could be difficult to hold off. Mark Guidry gets back aboard, and Guidry rode last fall when Leah's Secret won the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland.

Trainer Steve Asmussen will saddle Plaid, who seeks her third stakes win this year. A 6-year-old daughter of Deputy Commander, Plaid is as honest as they come, and she won the Wild Rose at Prairie Meadows on June 2 last out.

"She's been a very, very good mare for us, and I'm sure she won't disappoint us," said Asmussen. Terry Thompson will ride.

Brownie Points also has a big shot in the Distaff. She ran second in stakes in both her 2007 starts, and ran third in the 2006 Iowa Oaks.

"In an evenly matched field like this, it's often the horse that gets the best trip," said her trainer, Donnie Von Hemel. "Drawing the rail certainly didn't hurt."

Luis Quinonez will try to get that good trip for Brownie Points.

Dynabin and Turbulent Thinking round out the field.

Cougar Cat inherits leading role

With three-time Sprint champion Coach Jimi Lee out with a leg injury, the Iowa Sprint appears wide open. Cougar Cat, the 2-1 morning-line choice, might be the one to fill the void.

Second to Fabulous Strike in the Grade 3 Aristides at Churchill in his last, Cougar Cat looks to be rounding into top form.

"He's had some foot problems in the past, but we seemed to have gotten over those," said trainer Ronny Werner. "I think he's ready to give his top effort."

The speed in the Sprint appears to be on the rail with Fleet Valid and Magnus One breaking from posts 1 and 2.

Robert Roe, the trainer of Magnus One, makes no secret about his plans in the Sprint.

"Prairie Meadows is a speed-favoring track, and if we can get the lead we could be tough to catch," he said.

Although Magnus One was caught after making the lead in both his last two starts, Roe believes he knows why.

"I'm pretty sure the Polytrack at Arlington isn't his best surface," he said.

After winning a six-furlong allowance race at Churchill in 1:07.66, Benny the Bull is hard to ignore. Jeff Talley trains Benny the Bull and Guidry is likely to take him back off the expected quick early fractions.

The Iowa-bred Wild L is an interesting longshot in the Sprint. He won his last two impressively, and Prairie Meadows leading trainer Dick Clark is hooking up with leading rider Glenn Corbett.

The Sprint is race 6, the Distaff race 7.