William Slevin's 4-year-old colt Lord of the Game pounded home to win Saturday's $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) by a head over three tightly-bunched finishers,.In hair-rasing fashion, the stalking son of Saint Ballado got up in the final strides for jockey Eusebio Razo Jr. to record his seventh career victory while completing the 1 1/8-mile event in 1:49.94.Clinging to the 6-5 favorite Lord of the Game by a slim margin was Silver Axe, rallying from dead last at the three-quarter pole while making his way along the inside rail with rider Tim Doocy. It was a nose back to Mambo Train with Alex Birzer, who finished a head in front of Southern California shipper Habaneros and jockey Danny Sorenson. Lord of the Game, who won the Hanshin Handicap (gr. III) May 28 is out of the A.P. Indy mare She's a Winner. WinStar Farm, LLC foaled the horse in Kentucky on February 1, 2001.Slevin, an automobile proprietor from South Barrington, Ill. and the owner of the 2 Blondes Inc., a stable named after his wife and daughter, claimed Lord of the Game for $10,000 from WinStar on Dec. 31, 2004, a race the horse won by nearly 23 lengths. "It's the first time he's ever been really surrounded coming down the lane," said winning trainer Tommy Tomillo of Saturday night's win. "He really digs in when he gets pressured. He's amazing; it's like hitting the lottery. When he won by 22 lengths, I thought this horse might be any kind of horse, so we just brought him along slow. In the morning, he'll work; you don't even know he's around. He goes out there and looks like he's galloping.""It's been a wild ride," Slevin added. (Lord of the Game) is just amazing; he's a monster. He's just got the attitude to be a champion. He's a true fighter."Lord of the Game was my first claim – ever," Slevin continued, "so, there's a little beginner's luck here. There are a lot of things that hold true in the car business and the horse business. You've got to be willing to buy inventory; some things don't work out as good as others. Tommy's got a ton of experience and I've known him for a long time. He said, 'Let's try it.' So, this is kind of like 'let's try it.' So far, we're doing ok."Cryptograph made a late rally, but not in time and edged Skipaslew for fifth by a neck, three-quarters of a length behind the first four. Skipaslew, the 2-1 second choice, lost ground traveling wide around both turns. Scooter Rains and Tricky Mocha trailed.The dark brown colt earned $180,000, bringing his career earnings to $349,400. Musique Tojours was a late scratch before the race.Lord of the Game paid $4.40, $3.80 and $3.60. Silver Axe returned $7 and $5.60. Mambo Train's show was $14. The Cornhusker was elevated to grade II status in 2005.(Chart, Equibase)In the other feature Saturday night, Platinum Ballet captured the $125,000 Iowa Distaff Breeders' Cup for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel.The 4-year-old gray filly – owned by Wayne Sanders – finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of the top three odds favorites in a field of seven Breeders' Cup eligible fillies and mares, covering the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:43.76. She was last away from the starting gate under jockey Perry Compton, but made up ground just before going around the dueling Candybedandy and Ide Be a Lady in the late stages for her fifth career victory.Josh's Madelyn advanced along the rail with Platinum Ballet on the final turn, angled out, and closed eagerly for second place. "Josh's Madelyn had a little traffic trouble at the top of the stretch, but that was good riding on Perry's part, kind of keeping her bottled up there," said Von Hemel. "She's a better horse than she was last year and we got a little lucky."Favored Casual Attitude, ridden by Prairie Meadows leading jockey Tim Doocy saved ground in the stretch, but finished fourth, 1 3/4 lengths behind third place Ide Be a Lady. Platinum Ballet is a gray/roan daughter of Skip Away-Main Edition, by Nureyev, bred in Kentucky by Patchen Wilkes Farm LLC. She had four in the money finishes in five starts coming to Saturday's race.
The Iowa Distaff Breeders' Cup victory paid $75,000, bringing Platinum Ballet's bankroll to $230,240. Platinum Ballet paid $12.40, $4.60 and $4.20. Josh's Madelyn returned $4.20 and $4.00. Ide Be a Lady's show was $4.20. (Chart, Equibase)