By Emily Shields
The biggest day of the year at Prairie Meadows is Sunday, July 5, with four stakes races including two Grade 3 events. The $100,000 Iowa Derby, $100,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (G3), and the $100,000 Iowa Oaks are races 8 – 10 on the program.
The Iowa Oaks drew a field of seven, with #4 Strong Flag the 5-2 favorite for trainer Steve Asmussen. Ricardo Santana, Jr will ride the daughter of Strong Mandate, who has just one win in six starts but that victory came over 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park in March. She has since run in stakes company (sixth) and allowance company (fourth) at Churchill Downs.
#7 Dynasty Of Her Own (7-2) ships in from Golden Gate Fields for trainer Jonathan Wong. The daughter of Shanghai Bobby is four for five lifetime, and is coming off a win in the California Oaks on May 31. She is a two-time stakes winner at two different tracks, sprinting and routing.
#6 Ocean Breeze (4-1) is coming off a thrilling maiden win at Churchill Downs going 6 ½ furlongs. She scored by over eight lengths and gets Martin Garcia back aboard for this. The well-bred daughter of Curlin is owned by Gary and Mary West.
#5 Aurelia Garland (4-1) puts blinkers on for this. The daughter of Constitution returned off a one-year layoff from breaking her maiden to run third twice in a pair of Churchill Downs allowance races. She has been favored in two of her three starts, and should appreciate this surface.
#3 Flat Out Speed (6-1) is the local horse, unbeaten in four starts on the track. Three of those were stakes wins, and this filly by Flat Out has been favored three times. Lynn Chleborad trains for Poindexter Thoroughbreds LLC.
In the Cornhusker, a nine furlong race for older males, the fvorite is #3 Night Ops (5-2) for Brad Cox. He faces older horses with class such as Dunph on the outside and Rated R Superstar from stall 7.
The Iowa Derby is not graded, but the field includes Santa Anita Stakes winner Billy Batts, who was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) in November.
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