05/24/2001 12:00AM

A year later, 'Biscuit' still the one to beat

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ALTOONA, Iowa - Defending winner and highweight Sure Shot Biscuit heads a short field of five in Saturday's $75,000 Precisionist Handicap at Prairie Meadows.

Sure Shot Biscuit, a 5-year-old gelding, enters the 1 1/16-mile Precisionist off a five-length score in a one-mile allowance here on May 6. A two-time defending Iowa-bred horse of the year, Sure Shot Biscuit sports a record of 18-3-4 in 31 career starts. He has earned over $645,000 for owner Okoboji Racing Stable, making him the richest Iowa-bred ever.

Sure Shot Biscuit proved he could compete with open company last year by capturing the Precisionist as well as an allowance race on the turf at Keeneland in the fall. He also was stakes placed at both Horseman's Park and Hoosier Park. Regular rider Terry Thompson has the call for trainer Kelly Von Hemel.

Sure Shot Biscuit will carry 119 pounds, conceding four to seven pounds to his rivals.

If Sure Shot Biscuit gets hooked in a speed duel by either Bravo Bull or Kombat Kat, both Battle Mountain and Vilaxy are capable of rallying for the victory.

Battle Mountain is winless in six starts this year but has finished on the board in five of those races, including his most recent start in the $100,000 Bosselman-Gus Fonner Handicap on April 28. In the 1 1/16-mile Bosselman, Battle Mountain rallied from last in a nine-horse field to be beaten a nose.

Don Von Hemel trains Battle Mountain, a 7-year-old gelding who finished third in last year's Precisionist and has over $455,000 in career earnings. Battle Mountain will carry 115 pounds, including jockey Perry Compton.

Vilaxy ran fifth in the Bosselman Handicap, beaten less than two lengths. In January, Vilaxy, who is trained by Harry Hahn, rallied for a six-length victory in the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup Handicap at Sam Houston. Vilaxy has 8 wins from 38 starts and has earned $434,490 for his owner-breeders, Allen Guillotte Sr. and Allen Guillotte Jr. Sidney LeJeune will be aboard Vilaxy at 115 pounds.

Thistledown

Three Ohio-bred stakes winners who have disappointed lately - Lady Cherie, Beatmichiganagain, and Shamrock Slew - try to get back on track in Saturday's $40,000 Brent's Princess Stakes at Thistledown. The Brent's Princess is a six-furlong race for state-bred fillies and mares.

Lady Cherie won four stakes last season and was taken out of training by trainer Michael Nance on Aug. 4 after finishing fourth in a River Downs stakes. She has made two starts this year, the most recent of which was a fourth-place finish in the six-furlong Angenora Stakes here April 21.

Lady Cherie recorded a bullet five-furlong work on May 11, and will be very hard to handle if she regains her form. Lady Cherie carries 113 pounds and will be ridden by her regular rider, Julio Felix.

Beatmichiganagain was the Ohio-bred 2-year-old champion in 1999 when she won three stakes. This year, she was unplaced in the six-furlong Gold Beauty Handicap at Hialeah on March 17 after setting the early pace. She won a six-furlong allowance at Beulah Park and then disappointed as the favorite in the Angenora in her last race.

Beatmichiganagain worked at Churchill Downs on May 20. Beatmichiganagain carries 116 pounds, and William Troilo rides her for trainer Greg Foley.

Shamrock Slew won three stakes last year and won her first start of this year at Beulah Park on April 14. On May 5 she was never in the hunt in the Alyssa Handicap at Beulah Park as the 3-5 favorite.

Trainer Bobby Guciardo has named Jeffrey Skerrett to ride Shamrock Slew at 116 pounds.

Mandy G steps into the stakes ranks after a 10-length victory in her career debut at River Downs, and may fit well. Edgar Donaghey rides for trainer Diane Donaghey at 113 pounds.

- Chuck Scaravilli