Cornhusker Handicap 2015 at Prairie Meadows

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - The Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap goes down this Saturday, June 27 from Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. Horses three years old and upward will take to Prairie Meadows dirt track and race 1 1/8 miles in search of the winner's portion of the $300,000 purse.

11 older entries will line up in the Cornhusker Handicap - race 7 on Prairies Meadows Saturday card. Post time is 9:25 PM. Let's take a peek into the past performances of all 11 combatants for this intriguing Grade 3 stakes.

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2015 Cornhusker Handicap Race Favorite Entries

Carve 7/2 - defending champion in this race had three straight wins at this time last year. He has been decent since and enters off consecutive runner-up finishes in graded stakes races ahead of this weekend. Last time out was in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap May 25 and before that was in the Grade 3 Oaklawn Handicap in April. He's also had a fourth in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap this year, a win in the minor Fifth Season Stakes in January and a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile to end his 2014 campaign. Carve now has seven wins, four seconds and four third place finishes in 22 career starts and has placed in three of his last four starts overall. Shaun Bridgmohan has been tabbed to ride the morning line favorite from gate 2.

Tapiture 4/1 - Steve Asmussen pupil has four graded stakes wins, four seconds and two four place finishes in 15 career starts and is coming off consecutive third place finishes - the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap last time out May 25 and the Grade 3 Oaklawn Handicap in April. Before that was an uncharacteristic fifth in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap in March and a good second to Goldencents in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. He's also had a respectable second in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx September 20 which followed a nice two race win streak - the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby August 2 and the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs last June 14. Tapiture has two wins, two second and two third place finishes in his last seven start overall - competitive virtually every time out but will be looking for his first win since August with Ricardo Santana guiding the second betting choice from gate 6.

Cornhusker Handicap 2015 | Remaining Contenders

Golden Lad 9/2 - Todd Pletcher trainee has looked good at times the last 18 months - he has seven wins and two runner-up finishes in 14 career starts. His best result came in March, 2014 when he won the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park and he enters this week having won two of his last three starts - both minor stakes races. Last time out was a win by an impressive five lengths in the Mountainview Handicap at Penn National May 30 and the other win over that span came in February in the Essex Handicap. He had a fourth in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap sandwiched in there. Golden Lad has certainly been competitive at times and hopes to be again Saturday from gate 4 with Javier Castellano in the reins.

Page McKenney 6/1 - Mary Eppler trained gelding made his graded stakes debut April 18 and finished a respectable third in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic which was followed by a good second in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special May 15. That makes 15 straight starts in which he's placed - eight wins, five seconds and two third place finishes over that span. He's also had two minor stakes scores at Laurel Park this year - the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial March 21 and the John B. Campbell Handicap February 14. Page McKenney has been mighty impressive lately and looks for his first ever graded stakes win. Horcacio Karamanos will get the call from post 9 Saturday.

Call Me George 8/1 - Grant Forster trainee won the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds in March - by far his best result to date. He's also posted a pair of third in stakes action including the Grade 3 Hawthorne Gold Cup in November. Call Me George enters off a fourth in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational here June 6 which followed an eighth in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs May 1. He has failed to place in his last two starts and will be out to regain his form from the New Orleans Handicap three starts back when he leaves from post 3 with Ramon Vazquez in the irons.

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Jessica's Star 10/1 - Grade 3 Iowa Derby winner on this track a year ago has five wins and three second place finishes in 11 career starts for trainer Michael Stidham and is coming off one of those wins - the minor Jim Rasmussen Stakes on this track May 25 which followed his only three off-the-board finishes. He has won all three starts on this track and off a victory here six weeks ago is expected to be in the mix again Saturday. Jessica's Star will depart from gate 8 Saturday - the jockey hasn't been named yet.

Ulanbator 12/1 - Ian Wilkes trained colt has 16 career starts with four wins, two seconds and three third place finishes. He did finish second in the Grade 2 Matt Winn Stakes last June and was third in the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes last July but has failed to place in four graded stakes tries since. He enters off an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Churchill Downs May 28 after failing to place in his previous three starts. Ulanbator enters in less than spectacular form looking to regain the form he had last year at this time when he departs from the rail with Chris Landeros in the saddle

Lahshad 15/1 - finished second last time out behind Jessica's Star in the minor Jim Rasmussen Stakes May 25 which followed a pair of third place finishes - the minor Milwaukee Avenue Handicap April 25 and an Allowance Optional Claiming April 8. Before that was an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Hawthorne in December. Lahshad steps into graded stakes company for the first time Saturday having posted five wins, six seconds and two third place finishes in 27 career starts. Mitchell Murrill will get the mount from gate 10.

Gavroche 15/1 - Eoin Harty trained gelding has two wins and two third place finishes in seven career starts. He makes his stakes debut Saturday off an Allowance score at Tampa Bay March 28, a third in a similar race in February and a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming in January. Gavroche takes an enormous step up in company Saturday from an unfavorable outside post with Julio Felix in the irons.

Smack Smack 20/1 - started his career by winning four of his first five starts including the minor Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington Park in November, 2013 and a pair of minor stakes on this track in the summer/2013. He enters off consecutive third place finishes - the minor Jim Rasmussen Memorial May 25 and an Allowance Optional Claiming May 3 - both results on this track. Before that was two straight fifths including the Grade 3 Iowa Derby here a year ago. Smack Smack has been OK in his career but tries for a first ever graded stakes score when he leaves from post 7 with Ken Rohill aboard.

Ecleto Red 20/1 - has 21 career starts with nine wins, two seconds and a third place finish but has won four of seven starts this year with a third place finish. He makes his stakes debut this weekend on the heels of a two race win streak on this very track - an Allowance Optional Claiming May 17 and a Starter Optional Claiming in April. Ecleto Red makes a huge leap up in competition Saturday in pretty good from - from post 5 with Alex Birzer guiding him.

2015 Cornhusker Handicap Entries & Odds

Race 7 on Prairie Meadows's Saturday card with a Post Time of 9:25 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Ulanbator C. Landeros I. Wilkes
2 Carve S. Bridgmohan B. Cox
3 Call Me George R. Vazquez G. Forster
4 Golden Lad J. Castellano T. Pletcher
5 Ecleto Red A. Birzer L. Chleborad
6 Tapiture R. Santana, Jr. S. Asmussen
7 Smack Smack K. Tohill D. Von Hemel
8 Jessica's Star A. Canchari M. Stidham
9 Page McKenney H. Karamanos M. Eppler
10 Lahshad M. Murrill R. Dobbs, Jr.
11 Gavroche J. Felix E. Harty

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