Iowa Oaks (Grade 3)
Racing Dudes Top Pick: #3 Tapajo
Racing Dudes Value Play: #5 Livi Makenzie
Analysis: Saturday’s action starts off with a very evenly matched race for three-year old females. We’re going to select the horse with the home track advantage; Tapajo (KY). Tapajo has dominated the two local preps for this one, and with the lack of a star shipping in it looks as though she can handle this field. A couple of recent Churchill Downs winners, Ice Cream Silence (KY) and Uptown Bertie (KY), look to be her biggest challenge. Ice Cream Silence was very impressive in winning an ungraded stakes last time out, but the heavy hitters in that field scratched out of the race. Livi Makenzie (KY) is our value play, and a horse that always runs a solid race. She also ships in from Churchill off a second place finish to Ice Cream Silence in the before mentioned stakes race. Ize in Trouble (KY) and Emona (KY) round out the field.
Iowa Derby (Grade 3)
Racing Dudes Top Pick: #1 Hansen
Racing Dudes Value Play: #5 Truetap
Analysis: This one looks like a paid workout for Hansen (KY). If he shows up with his A, B, or even C game he should win this easy. If for some reason Hansen fails to run well, local favorite Alsvid (KY) will have the best shot to take him down. Much like Tapajo, Alsvid has won the two local preps for this race. Louisiana Derby winner Hero of Order (KY) is also in this field, but he’s done next to nothing since winning that race. It’s hard to imagine him putting up much of challenge against Hansen. Steve Asmussen enters Truetap (KY) here, who was second to Alsvid last time out. Truetap is an improving horse, but again shouldn’t be any trouble for Hansen. Macho Bull (KY) rounds out this field of five.
Cornhusker Handicap (Grade 3)
Racing Dudes Top Pick: #3 Successful Dan
Racing Dudes Value Play: #5 Awesome Gem
Analysis: Even though this race only drew a field of six, it should still be a good one. Successful Dan (KY) is the obvious choice here, but I don’t think he’s a slam dunk like Hansen will be. Still, he should win the race. He’s won seven of ten lifetime, and was DQ’d in a race he also won. The only question mark I see with him is his spotty race history. He’s been a horse that has had a little trouble staying healthy in the past. His biggest challengers may be two horses that have already won this race before; Headache (KY) and Shadowbdancing (FL). Headache hasn’t made a start since November, but Shadowbdancing won the local prep for this one. Both horses love this track. Awesome Gem (KY) is also a horse you can’t forget about. At nine years old, this gelding is a pure joy to have in horse racing and Prairie Meadows fans are lucky to get to see him again this year. He’s won almost three million dollars in his lifetime, and is still able to compete at this level. He’s as classy at they come. Fort Larned (KY) ships in from Churchill off a disappointing eight in the Stephen Foster, but this is the class drop he may need. Rounding out the field is Taptowne (KY), who is the only horse I consider to be a total throw out in this one.