Tin Badge Faces State-Breds in Gray's Lake Stakes
The three races offer an opportunity for the best three-year-old Thoroughbreds in North America to showcase their talents in front of a worldwide audience.In contrast, the audience will be much smaller for Saturday’s $63,150 Gray’s Lake Stakes at Prairie Meadows, but the six-furlong race is nevertheless a nice spot for Iowa-bred three-year-olds to seek a stakes win.
Six horses have been entered, and on paper the horse to beat is Tin Badge. A son of The Deputy, Tin Badge went 3-for-3 against fellow Iowa-breds at Prairie Meadows last year, including a decisive five-length triumph in the Iowa Cradle Stakes going six furlongs.
Given the winter off, Tin Badge returned to action against open company at Oaklawn Park and found the competition much tougher; he finished sixth in an allowance race to start the season, then improved mildly to fourth place in the Bachelor Stakes. Most recently, Tin Badge finished last of five in the Golden Circle Stakes at Prairie Meadows, but it’s possible that he didn’t handle the sloppy, sealed track. Returning to state-bred company and a dry track on Saturday could be exactly what Tin Badge needs to return to the winner’s circle.
Artie’s Rumor, a well-bred son of Artie Schiller, finished third behind Tin Badge in the Iowa Cradle Stakes but disappointed at a short price in his 2018 debut, finishing fourth after setting the pace in a six-furlong allowance race for Iowa-breds at Prairie Meadows on May 20th. The top two finishers from that race—Holt County and Sure Fire Friend—will be back again for the Gray’s Lake and could provide the stiffest challenges to Tin Badge. Holt County in particular could be a threat given that his trainer, Karl Broberg, is winning at a 27% rate at the current Prairie Meadows meet, while his jockey—Ramon Vazquez—is the leading rider of the meet with 39 victories and a 26% win rate.
The lightly-raced Hilton Magic won his debut against Iowa-breds at Prairie Meadows on April 28th, then finished third in an open allowance race on May 13th, in the process establishing himself as a promising young runner. Completing the field is Back the Blue, who finished second behind Holt County in a Prairie Meadows maiden sprint on April 26th before winning a similar race going a mile on May 10th.
The Gray’s Lake Stakes is the eighth race of the day, with a post time of 5:07 p.m.