Race Preview: Iowa Derby - Prairie Meadows, June 29, 2013

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Matt Carter

June 28th, 2013

The second of the graded stake races on Saturday night at Prairie Meadows is the Grade 3 Iowa Derby for three-year-olds. The eight and one-half furlong race drew a field of seven led by morning line favorite Manando.

It took awhile for Manando to get going, especially for a horse trained by Bob Baffert. It took four races for the Bluegrass Cat colt to break his maiden and has won two of five since. One of those races was a last place finish in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby, but another was a seven and one-quarter length score that would absolutely crush in the Iowa Derby. One thing is for sure, Manando will be on the engine early.

The concern with the favorite is that he seems to not have a lot left late in his races. Five times in his nine career starts Manando has finished third after being on or close to the lead early. While he is the fastest horse in the race, he may face enough early pressure to soften him up late. If that's the case then look to Bashaar upset.

Bashaar finished second to Our Double Play, also in the Iowa Derby, in the Prairie Mile last out, but jockey Joe Johnson had to move earlier than he wanted and could not over take the winner. He won back-to-back races from off-the-pace earlier this year at Oaklawn Park after trailing by nine lengths and six lengths early.

Betweenhereandcool and Looking Cool are the two others expected to be sitting back early and could also upset with their best effort. Betweenhereandcool looks to have more tactical speed and could get first run on the leaders.

Hopefully they time their run just right or else Manando may have a romp on his hands.

Post time for the Iowa Derby on Saturday night is 10:18 pm ET and is the second leg of the late pick-4, which starts with the Iowa Oaks and includes the Grade 3 Cornhusker featuring Silver Max, Prayer for Relief and Taptowne.