08/29/2001 11:00PM

Title-holder back for Classic Night


ALTOONA, Iowa - Sure Shot Biscuit, the two-time defending Iowa-bred Horse of the Year, headlines the eighth annual Iowa Classic Night at Prairie Meadows on Saturday.

Iowa Classic night is a 10-race program consisting entirely of stakes for Iowa-breds, worth a total of over $450,000.

Sure Shot Biscuit will be a prohibitive favorite in the 1 1/16-mile, $75,000-added Ralph Hayes when he faces six rivals, including his entrymate My Baby. A 5-year-old gelded son of Miracle Heights, Sure Shot Biscuit is the richest Iowa-bred ever, with earnings of $862,073.

Sure Shot Biscuit returns from Arlington Park, where he faded to fourth as the 6-5 favorite in the 1 1/8-mile Buckpasser Stakes over a muddy track under Chris McCarron on Aug. 18. Regular rider Terry Thompson, who has been aboard Sure Shot Biscuit for all five of his wins in 2001, regains the mount for trainer Kelly Von Hemel.

Sure Shot Biscuit sports a career record of 21-3-5 from 36 starts, including several stakes victories against open company. It would take something unforeseen for Sure Shot Biscuit to lose on Saturday.

The Biscuit's sister

The evening's best race may be the $75,000-added Donna Reed for fillies and mares at a mile and 70 yards. Sure Shot Biscuit's full sister, Nut N Better, will face defending champion Lady Tamworth and Sumthintotalkabout, who upset her in the six-furlong Iowa State Fair Stakes here Aug. 11.

Nut N Better was Iowa's 3-year-old filly champion last year and captured the Iowa Breeders' Oaks on Classic night in 2000. She has retained her form this year, with a record of 3-1-1 from seven starts with all four of her losses coming against open company, including three in stakes.

Nut N Better scored a length victory in the six-furlong Mamie Eisenhower stakes here June 24, defeating both Lady Tamworth and Sumthintotalkabout, who ran second and third. Regular rider Kelly Murray has a return call aboard Nut N Better in the Donna Reed for trainer Mike Shaughnessy and her owner-breeders, Shady Bend Thoroughbreds.

Sumthintotalkabout turned the tables on Nut N Better in her most recent start, holding on for a half-length victory in the Iowa State Fair Stakes against open company. Sumthintotalkabout looms the controlling speed on the stretch-out under Cindy Noll.

Lady Tamworth, the richest Iowa-bred mare ever with more than $532,000 in career earnings, has had an off year in 2001. A 6-year-old, she has won only one of her 12 starts, but that victory did come in her most recent race, against allowance company and at the Donna Reed distance. She may hold an advantage over her main rivals around two turns.

Don Howard has the call on Lady Tamworth for trainer James Arnett.

Sorority starts night off

Dazzling Crypto is the one to beat in the evening's opening race, the six-furlong Iowa Sorority for 2-year-old fillies. Dazzling Crypto is the only two-time winner in the field and comes off a smashing 10 1/2-length victory against males here on Aug. 3. Terry Thompson has the mount for trainer Paul Pearson and her owner-breeder, River Ridge Ranch.

Take Me Up on rise for Breeders' Derby

The 1 1/16-mile Iowa Breeders' Derby drew a competitive field of seven, including the River Ridge Ranch entry of Take Me Up and Le Numerous, who will likely be favored.

Take Me Up is a lightly raced and improving gelding who finished third against open company in the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Derby here on Aug. 18 in his most recent start for trainer Paul Pearson. Dale Baze has the mount.

Le Numerous tries two turns for the first time Saturday after defeating older allowance rivals here by a neck in a six-furlong event Aug. 17. Glenn Corbett, the meet's leading rider, has a return call on Saturday.

Speedster Weahrushhah and late-runners Tcs Express Prince and Who Devil Who all have a chance in a wide-open event.

Sharkey's Review tops Breeders' Oaks

Sharky's Review will be the prohibitive favorite in the final Thoroughbred stakes of the evening, the Iowa Breeders' Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and 70 yards.

Sharky's Review has won four of her five career starts, with her only loss coming against open company when she finished third behind multiple stakes winner Unbridled Elaine in the $150,000 Iowa Oaks here on July 5.

In her most recent start, she rallied to defeat males by a half-length in the Iowa Stallion Stakes on July 28 at Saturday's distance. Luis Quinonez, who has ridden Sharkey's Review in all of her starts, will be in for the mount for trainer Mark Bader.

* The $65,000-added, six-furlong Iowa Cradle for 2-year-old colts and geldings drew a wide-open field of 10 in which four maidens are entered and no starter has more than one win.