Prairie Meadows Picks & P4 Analysis for Friday July 2: Cornhusker Handicap (G3) Day

Trainer Brad Cox sends his accomplished runner, Knicks Go, to the Cornhusker Handicap (G3). See what the connection's chances are looking like as our J.N. Campbell puts together a P4 ticket ...
Trainer Brad Cox sends his accomplished runner, Knicks Go, to the Cornhusker Handicap (G3). See what the connection's chances are looking like as our J.N. Campbell puts together a P4 ticket ...

The Prairie Meadows Racing Festival kicks off the July 4th Weekend with a night program that should get everyone in the racing world tuned up for a great weekend. Our turf-man has you covered ... join him as he constructs an affordable Pick 4 ticket that is sure to give you a chance to cash. Not only is the Cornhusker Handicap on tap (G3), but the Iowa Derby and Iowa Oaks should add value to this particular sequence. Have a go!

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Saturday, be sure to check out our Free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

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LATE PICK 4 SEQUENCE: RACES 6-9

Race 6: Iowa Derby, $250k, Dirt, 1 1/16th

To kick off this rave of a sequence, we have a good group of 3-yr-olds who are shipping in for this contest. It was disappointing to hear that Proxy #1 will not be making the trip, after coming down with an illness. We hope to see that beautiful chestnut back on the track very soon.

Still, the remaining 8 runners should make for an interesting lot to speculate on. Tops on my list is the Brad Cox-trainee, the very talented Snow House #8. This is a colt out of Twirling Candy, who should garner respect simply because he is a Juddmonte homebred. His conditioner has him pointed in the right direction after a nice win in an OC75k event on the dirt at Churchill last time. That was a commanding performance in that he just took over the race on the backstretch and never looked back. The addition of frequent flier jockey Joel Rosario makes him even more dangerous. It would be a dream to get this horse for 8/1, a true steal of a deal. It probably will not happen, but one can hope.

I am a little hesitant to back Steve Asmussen’s Super Stock #2 because I am concerned that he has the makings of a “one hit wonder.” His father is part-owner in this son of Dialed In, and it was so gratifying to see the connections assemble in the winner’s circle at Oaklawn after that signature win in the Arkansas Derby. I thought he would runback nicely in the Derby, but it was not to be. The Texas Derby, next out, was another regression, and in many ways was telling. Finishing out of the money was unacceptable, and I say that knowing full-well that the conditions at Lone Star were absolutely dreadful. I just do not trust this one, and I am leaving him off my ticket.

One other that I am quite bullish on, is the Florida veteran of Tampa and Gulfstream, Bill Mott’s Nova Rags #9. I have liked this horse on occasion, and he clearly has the talent to take on the best of the best. Sure, he has missed when the chips were down, but I am not going to hold that against him. Let’s call a spade a spade … he was never going to beat Pletcher’s Known Agenda in the Florida Derby (G1) and Promise Keeper in the Peter Pan (G3). Facing Saffie Joseph’s Drain the Clock in the Woody Stephens (G1) was also an exercise in futility, since that horse had all the moxie, and then some. I want to give this son of Union Rags another chance, and with Mott’s everyday rider in town, Junior Alvarado, he should do well.

I know I am leaving out a couple of the PRM locals, like Karl Broberg’s Flash of Mischief #4, Doug Anderson’s Stiletto Boy #5, and Cox’s Gagetown #7, but it cannot be helped. Economics of the ticket dictate some cost-cutting maneuvers … more to come!

Selections: 8/9 (2-Deep)

 

Race 7: Iowa Oaks, $225k, Dirt, 1 1/16th

The female version of the 1st Leg is upon us, and we have a barnburner on our hands—as 7 will go. I am debating in my head whether Army Wife #1 will run like she did in her last performance in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico on Preakness Weekend. If Mike Maker has her jazzed, like he did last time, she is going to be one rough customer to tangle with. She has some late speed that is absolutely a trump card when the race is on the line. The fact that Rosario is at PRM makes her even more formidable. Maybe the Three Diamonds Farm is the “Single” in this sequence, and it is as simple as that. Sometimes in this business, handicappers “overthink” to the detriment of the ticket, and instead should just keep it as straightforward as possible. The only antidote to Maker’s prize seems to be Steve Asmussen’s Pauline’s Pearl #2. She is an alum of the KYOaks, finishing well-back in that Grade 1 event. She just could not make the class jump from Oaklawn’s Grade III Fantasy. But this is a HOF conditioner’s charge we are talking about here, so respect is deserved. Ricardo Santana, a traveling salesman of a jockey much like Rosario, is on the premises, so we shall see what he can do. Still, I am hunting a “Single” here, and I shudder to think what will happen if I do not use some good sense. Keep it simple … mantra …

Selection: 1 (Single)

 

Race 8: Cornhusker Handicap (G3), $300k, Dirt, 1 1/8th

Here is a real conundrum … much like the last race, but even more so in here, we have a heavy favorite coming to PRM. Knicks Go #5 needs little introduction, and back to that logic of “keeping it simple,” it makes sense to “Single” him as well. But in this spot, I am concerned. In 2020 and into 2021, once the Korea Racing Authority transferred their horse from Ben Colebrook to Brad Cox, the front-runner never looked back as he rattled off 4 wins in-a-row—culminating in the Pegasus WC (G1). Since then, in the Saudi Cup (G1) and the Met Mile (G1), this son of Paynter has not looked himself. Allowances can legitimately be made, of course. The shipping to the Middle East … pace scenarios … cutback in distance at Belmont to a 1-turn … on and on and on … My thinking, from a betting perspective, is that this is the opportunity to play against him. This might be sacrilege … I think he is regressing a bit.

Certainly, with Rosario as pilot, “Knicks’” regular rider, he looks tough, but I actually like the 1-2 finishers from the 14 May Pimlico Special (G3). Both Last Judgement #4 for Mike Maker, and Modernist #7 from Bill Mott’s keep, have major upside. Don’t sleep on their back class because they have game. The former won in Baltimore, and prior to that, the gelding out of Congrats competed in a solid slate of races. As for the latter, he was an alum of the elongated Derby Trail in 2020, and has the ability to get this distance, as seasoned rider Junior Alvarado rides. He is the only jock to ever take this colt’s reins, so nothing like consistency. I am up for backing this pair, which should give us a shot for a triumph against Cox’s heavy, heavy, heavy favorite.

Selections: 4/7 (2-Deep)

 

Race 9: ALLW31k, Dirt, 1 Mile

The finale … the anchor … Leg 4 of this sequence … just so happens to be a wide-open Allowance race. Picking a winner out of this lot is quite a crap shoot, as we have a group of runners with fairly equal experiences on the track at Prairie Meadows. I particularly like Karl Broberg’s entry, Catechism #6 since she is accomplished and is just searching for the right pace scenario. She will be my top selection because End Zone Athletics (Broberg’s own ownership syndicate) has them ready to run, always. The conditioner, based in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, relies on a strong group of assistants wherever he competes, and these hardworking-types are seminal to his operations. Just in case that this older filly is not as penitent as she can be, I am tossing in the rest of the field. Honestly, I am hoping the longest shot on the board comes in because that would be some major icing on this cake … er, ticket … ah, you know what I mean. Hitting the “All” button, not ashamed one bit …   

Selections: 1-8 (All)

.50 LP4 COST: $16.00

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Enjoy some Racing Festival Action from Prairie Meadows! The tradition of Cornhusker Handicap Day marches on …

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