How to bet the 2021 Iowa Derby and Oaks

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

June 30th, 2021

The signature night of racing of the Prairie Meadows meeting will come on Friday night with a trio of lucrative tilts on the slate. I will focus on the three-year-old races, which appear to be mostly straightforward.

Race 6 -- Iowa Derby

A total of nine sophomores will contest the 1 1/16-mile dirt event. I will tab a pair of runners for success in the field, led by #9 Nova Rags (5-1) for Bill Mott.

Grade 1-placed stakes winner has kept excellent company this campaign with solid results, and Nova Rags' last couple of efforts should have him primed for a big showing on Friday. Peter Pan S. (G3) runner-up prepped for this test with a third-place finish in the Woody Stephens S. (G1) at Belmont Park going seven furlongs. Junior Alvarado retains the mount.

I am not in love with #6 Rightandjust (6-1) to win the race, but I like the colt’s chances to make the frame for Wilson. Capable son of Awesome Again ran a good one in the Texas Derby at Lone Star most recently, and any improvement off of that performance will make him dangerous in the stretch at a fair price.


  • $20 win on #9 Nova Rags ($20)
  • $10 exacta box: 6,9 ($20)
  • $.50-cent superfecta: 9 with 1,6 with 1,6 with all ($6)

Race 7 -- Iowa Oaks (G3)

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Pauline's Pearl wins the Fantasy Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Seven talented three-year-old fillies will vie in the 1 1/16-mile affair. The well-bred #2 Pauline’s Pearl (2-1) comes in fresh and lands in a fine spot to kick off the second half of 2021. After displaying consistent progression this season, Fantasy S. (G3) heroine has trained steadily since the middle of May to prepare for this try. Stonestreet homebred is tactical, and Pauline's Pearl will be tough to deny with anything close to her top effort. Santana will ride the Tapit gray.

#5 The Grass is Blue (5-1) is a bounce-back candidate in her first since joining the Mott shedrow. Chestnut by Broken Vow has a nice turn of foot and lands in a field with ample pace in the fold. Kentucky-bred will rally late for a piece of the pie with Alvarado signed on.


  • $30 win on #2 Pauline’s Pearl ($30)
  • $2 trifecta: 2 with 5 with all ($10)
  • $2 trifecta 2 with all with 5 ($10)