The names of 218 Thoroughbreds, including a pair of defending champions, fill the nominations for the 2019 Iowa Festival of Racing, which will be run on Friday July 5 and Saturday July 6 at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, IA.
Post time for both days of the 2019 Iowa Festival of Racing will be at 6 PM CT. The first four races of this year's festival, the $300,000 Grade III Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap, the $200,000 Grade III Iowa Oaks, the $250,000 Iowa Derby, and the $100,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap, will highlight the card on Friday night July 5.
One evening later, on July 6, the $100,000 Iowa Distaff and the $100,000 Saylorville top the Saturday program, which will also include the $65,000 Hawkeyes and the $65,000 Cyclones for Iowa-breds.
As for the defending champions, they are 2018 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker winner Remembering Rita, who scored a 19-1 upset over Dalmore and McCraken, and 2018 Iowa Sprint Handicap winner Done Deal, who defeated Apprehender and Wilbo at odds of 5-1.
Remembering Rita, a five-year-old horse owned by Jeral Keith Adams and trained by Doug Anderson, turned heads at Prairie Meadows last season with an impressive three-race win streak over a short six-week period of time.
The son of Spring At Last-Deep South (Unbridled's Song) broke his maiden over the Prairie Meadows surface on May 25, returned to beat allowance/optional claiming foes on June 13, and came back less than a month later to defeat seven rivals in the Cornhusker on July 6 under regular rider Alex Birzer.
Remembering Rita, currently stabled at Prairie Meadows, began his 2019 campaign with one victory from four starts at Oaklawn Park. In his most recent outing, he finished second by a neck to Chris And Dave, also nominated for the 2019 Cornhusker, in the Jim Rasmussen Memorial Stakes here on May 27.
This year's Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap nomination list also includes the last two winners of the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs in Seeking The Soul (2019) and Pavel (2018).
Done Deal, the now six-year-old son of Macho Uno-Missbelle O's Tale, capped a four-race winning streak with his 2018 Iowa Sprint Handicap victory. The gelding trained by Ian Wilkes did not finish on the board in any of his three starts after leaving Iowa and has not competed since last October.
The Iowa Derby nominations list features 2019 Triple Crown series competitors such as Alwaysmining, Everfast, and Laughing Fox as well as 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Knicks Go.
The Iowa Oaks nominations include 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Jaywalk, 2019 Black Eyed Susan runner-up Ulele and 2019 Kentucky Oaks third-place finisher Lady Apple.
With Prairie Meadows filling its racing cards a week in advance, post positions for The Iowa Sprint Handicap, The Iowa Oaks, The Iowa Derby, and The Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap will be drawn in the racing office on the morning of Friday June 28.
One day later, on Saturday June 29, post positions will be determined for The Saylorville and The Iowa Distaff, the final two races of the 2019 Festival.
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