It may be called the Iowa Festival of Racing at Prairie Meadows, but so far it's been a Kentucky roadshow. Jim Hine's Ruby Surprise made it three in row for Kentucky-based horses the evening of July 2, winning the $100,000 Iowa Distaff at the Altoona, Iowa track. On June 30, Bourbon Belle got back on the winning track in taking the $100,000 Saylorville Lake Stakes, and on July 1, Claiborne Farm's Trip took the $150,000 Iowa Oaks.
Ruby Surprise, trained by Robert Holthus, tracked the early pace set by Lines of Beauty and Sunnie Do It early on in the 1 1/16-mile track through early splits of :23.52 and 1:10.71. Ruby Surprise, under regular rider Joe Judice, began to make headway on the top pair on the turn, and as Sunnie Do It weakened in early stretch, Ruby Surprise came to Lines of Power on the outside and eventually wore her down in the lane to win by a length. Final time was 1:43.88.
Ruby Surprise, a 5-year-old mare by Farma Way added $60,000 in earnings, lifting her 2000 total to $206,201. Earlier in the year she won the Humana Distaff (gr. II) on Kentucky Derby Day over Honest Lady and in her last start finished fourth in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. III). Both races were at her home base of Churchill Downs. (Chart, Equibase