07/15/2009 11:00PM

Stakes close out Prairie meet


Prairie Meadows concludes its Thoroughbred meet Saturday with a pair of hotly contested juvenile stakes races, the Prairie Gold Juvenile and Prairie Gold Lassie. An abundance of shippers add intrigue to both $50,000 five-furlong events.

Representatives from Steve Asmussen's powerful stable will likely will be favored in each race and will test the mettle of trainer Kenny Smith's pair of highly-regarded, locally-based 2-year-olds.

For the Prairie Gold Lassie, which is restricted to fillies, Asmussen sends in Vertical Vision, an Oklahoma-bred daughter of Pollard's Vision, from Lone Star Park. She dusted a field of seven fillies by 6 3/4 lengths while winning her maiden on June 26. Kentucky shippers Miss Diane, a Merrill Scherer trainee who won her lone start at Churchill Downs by a neck on June 19, and the Tom Amoss-trained Bronx City Girl, a quick filly who handily defeated maidens at Mountaineer on June 15, will attract attention.

Smith, who has enjoyed great success with his juveniles here in recent years, leads over Hattie Mae in the Lassie. She was untested in her only lifetime start here June 15, cruising home by 4 1/4 lengths. His best young colt, Gamblin' Jerry, a late June foal by Cactus Ridge, battles seven opponents in the preceding Prairie Gold Juvenile.

Asmussen's Western Smoke possesses the best resume in the Juvenile as he acquitted himself well when fourth in the Grade 3 Kentucky Juvenile at Churchill Downs during Derby week.

U Appeal To Me, who makes the trip from Arlington for Michael Stidham off a sixth in Woodbine's $150,000 Victoria Stakes, and Bet Your Boots, a Minnesota-bred son of the red-hot stallion Birdstone, who scorched Canterbury maidens by 17 lengths, add plenty of depth.