06/27/2007 12:00AM

Traffic trouble an Iowa Derby worry

Email
Michael J. Marten/Horsephotos
Delightful Kiss breaks from post 13 in Friday's Iowa derby.

ALTOONA, Iowa - With a field of 14 entered for Friday night's $250,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows, the winner may be determined by who gets the best trip.

The 1 1/16-mile Iowa Derby highlights Friday night's portion of the three-day Iowa Festival of Racing, which comprises eight stakes with purses totaling $1.2 million. Saturday's card is topped by the Grade 2, $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap, the meet's biggest race, while Friday's program also includes the Grade 3, $200,000 Iowa Oaks. The festival wraps up on Monday with two $50,000 2-year-old stakes.

Delightful Kiss, winner of the Grade 2 Ohio Derby in his last start, should be the Iowa Derby favorite. "I didn't think he could get beat in the Ohio Derby, but this race is tougher," said Pete Anderson, the colt's 75-year-old trainer.

Delightful Kiss is a confirmed closer, and the size of the field has Anderson concerned. "Breaking from the 13 post is not exactly what I wanted, but he's doing fine, he's a good shipper, and we're ready to go," said Anderson.

Delightful Kiss, the only horse Anderson trains, is owned by Hobeau Farms.

Greeley's Conquest, out for his fifth consecutive win, is the only horse in the race with a win over the track, having captured the Prairie Mile on June 9.

"He seems to like the track, and he's come back great" said trainer Gary Thomas. "But with 14 head you never know."

Trainer Todd Pletcher will be sending the talented but lightly raced Winstrella to Iowa, and is very glad he drew the rail.

"Having the rail should mean we'll have a good position going into the first turn," Pletcher said. "He's never been two turns, but he's a very manageable horse, and distance won't be a problem - avoiding traffic problems will be."

John Velazquez will be in to ride.

Going Ballistic, winner of the $100,000 USA Stakes on the turf at Lone Star in his last race, will try the dirt once again.

"The surface doesn't concern me as much as the field size," said trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

Going Ballistic has been facing the likes of Curlin, Any Given Saturday, and Teuflesberg, and could be a live overlay.