ALTOONA, Iowa -- Locally based longshot Ez Dreamer broke sharply and turned Saturday evening's $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap into a procession. Unchallenged at any stage under jockey Glenn Corbett's confident handling, the Kory Owens trainee was well within himself setting honest fractions of 21.80 seconds and 44.15 in the six-furlong sprint. He maintained his advantage thereafter when winning by 3 1/4 lengths.
Sok Sok, trained by Steve Asmussen, stayed on willingly to finish a clear second, two lengths in front of the 7-year-old veteran Semaphore Man. Defending champ Native Ruler and 5-2 favorite Bold Start, who had won Churchill Downs's Grade 3 Aristides on May 30, failed to menace and finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Spending his first season at Prairie Meadows this year, Ez Dreamer's original target was the Grade 2 Cornhusker Handicap run two races later on Saturday's card. However, a dull performance when fifth in the 1 1/16-mile Jim Rasmussen Stakes here on May 23 forced a change in trainer Owens's plans.
Ez Dreamer, a 4-year-old Arizona-bred colt by In Excess, signaled a return to form when scoring impressively here in a June 15 six-furlong allowance sprint in a time of 1:08.78. Showing no ill effects of that effort twelve days ago, Ez Dreamer brushed aside this accomplished field in a meet-best 1:08.26.
Owned and bred by the Owens family's Triple AAA Ranch, Ez Dreamer banked $75,000. Dismissed in the betting, he returned a generous $50.40 to his backers.
Euphony holds off Bear Now in Distaff
Turning for home in the $125,000 Iowa Distaff, the anticipated battle between the pacesetting Bear Now and stalking 6-5 favorite Euphony was set to unfold. Exhibiting a keen burst of acceleration, the Donnie K. Von Hemel-trained Euphony seized command and fended off Bear Now's renewed effort to score by a well-measured length.
Despite carrying an impost of 123 pounds under regular rider Cliff Berry, seven more than multiple graded-stakes winner Bear Now, Euphony responded tenaciously under right-handed pressure to win for the ninth time in her stellar 11-race career. The Albert Stall-trained Bear Now finished a length in front of a solid effort by Day of Victory, a Bob Holthus trainee.
Euphony, victorious in Arlington Park's Grade 3 Matron Handicap on My 23 in her most recent outing, is owned and bred by Josephine Abercrombie's Pin Oak Stable LLC. Getting the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:42.71, the well-managed, highly athletic 4-year-old daughter of Forest Wildcat added $75,000 to her lifetime earnings and paid $4.40 to win.