The steady veteran Jonesboro angled off the rail for the drive, wore down pacesetting Shadowbdancing in deep stretch to win the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO) June 27 in Iowa.
The millionaire 7-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Sefapiano earned his 14th lifetime win in 40 starts by 1 3/4 lengths over Shadowbdancing, who threatened to steal the 1 1/8-mile main track event. Clifton Berry drove the chestnut to victory in 1:48.01 for owner Michael Langford and trainer Randy Morse.
Shadowbdancing, with Randall Meier aboard, held second by six lengths over even-money choice My Pal Charlie , who brushed early and raced in tight quarters. Victory Pete, who nearly went down after veering out in traffic on the clubhouse turn, recovered to rally wide on the far turn but settled for fourth. Victory Pete, who averted disaster with jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard, severely hampered the chances of Red Hot N Gold and others as well. Stewards conducted an inquiry into the mishap but made no change in the order of finish.
Jonesboro, who settled nicely into second behind Shadowbdancing going into the first turn, appeared to escape the trouble. Those two showed the way through fractions of :23.60, :47.48, and 1:11.33 as Secret Getaway and Stonehouse tracked them. Never far behind Shadowbdancing, Jonesboro was under firm handling from Berry and proved to be too much for the front-runner after engaging for the lead. My Pal Charlie, the 120-pound high weight ridden by Robby Albarado, rallied into contention for a minor share in the lane, but could not threaten the first two.
Jonesboro won the Texas MIle (gr. III) at Lone Star Park April 25 when Morse first teamed Berry with him. They came back with a huge effort in running second to It's a Bird by a head in the Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) one month later.
Bred by Jayeff B Stables from the Top Command mare Mom's Command, Jonesboro earned $180,000 for the victory, boosting his career total to $1,380,575.
Sent off as the third choice, Jonesboro carried 119 pounds and paid $12.60, $5.20, and $2.60. Shadowbdancing, who won the leading local stakes prep leading up to the Cornhusker impressively on the front end, returned $9.80 and $4. The $2 exacta was worth $113.60. The grade II winner My Pal Charlie, coming off a fourth-place finish in the Shadwell Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I), paid $2.60 to show.
Victory Pete was followed by Secret Getaway, Stonehouse, Red Hot N Gold, and Wayzata Bay, who won the 2008 Cornhusker.
Earlier on the program, favored Euphony, ridden by Berry, outfought Bear Now to win the $125,000 Iowa Distaff by one length for her sixth consecutive victory.
Pin Oak Stable's homebred 4-year-old daughter of Forest Wildcat was coming off a win in the Arlington Matron (gr. III) May 23. Donnie Von Hemel trains Euphony, who has won nine of 11 lifetime starts. Bear Now finished second, one length in front of Day of Victory.
Ez Dreamer, at odds of 24-1, won the $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap in front-running style by 3 1/4 lengths. Glenn Corbett rode the Arizona-bred 4-year-old son of In Excess to victory for trainer Kory Owens and owner Triple AAA Ranch. Sok Sok finished second, two lengths ahead of Semaphore Man.