Fox Hill Farm’s Winslow Homer was supposed to make his highly-anticipated return in an allowance race next month. But the 3-year-old son of Unbridled's Song is doing so well that trainer Tony Dutrow has decided to bring him back in stakes company, and with that he is an unexpected headliner in a field of six in the $250,000 Iowa Derby (gr. III) June 26 at Prairie Meadows.
Winslow Homer has not raced since he scored the Holy Bull (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 23. A little more than a week after that he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right cannon bone and had surgery to repair the injury by Dr. Larry Bramlage at Rood and Riddle Equiine Hospital near Lexington. The gray/roan colt did his rehab at Tom Simon’s Vinery Farm before coming back to Dutrow’s barn in April.
Stabled at Delaware Park, he has had six works since returning, including his final Iowa Derby tune-up June 20 when breezing five furlongs in 1:00 flat. Dutrow is over the moon about the way his charge has come back from the injury and is hopeful he will make some of the major 3-year-old races this summer.
“I feel like he didn’t lose much fitness during his time off,” Dutrow said. “It was really only 60 days he missed. It wasn’t much at all.”
Winslow Homer, who was bred in Kentucky by Overbrook Farm and is out of the Summer Squall mare Summer Raven, has won three of his four lifetime starts. Prior to the Holy Bull, he romped by 12 1/2 lengths in an allowance race at Philadelphia Park in his 2-year-old finale. Ramon Dominguez, who was aboard for the Holy Bull score when Winslow Homer defeated Jackson Bend and briefly established himself as a contender for the Triple Crown series, will be in the irons again.
Steve Asmussen, a two-time winner of the 1 1/16-mile Iowa Derby, will send out Thiskyhasnolimit for Bob and Cathy Zollars, and Mark Wagner. The son of Sky Mesa won his season debut going seven furlongs at Churchill Downs in the May 15 Matt Winn Stakes while returning from a nearly six-month layoff. As a juvenile, he broke his maiden and won the one-mile Iroqious Stakes (gr. III), both at Churchill. Shaun Bridgmohan, also a two-time winner of this event, will ride.
Another contender is Donegal Racing’s Vow to Wager, who finished third to highly-regarded Colizeo last out in the grade III Northern Dancer Stakes June 12 at Churchill. The Broken Vow colt won the John Battaglia Stakes via disqualification in February and was fourth in the Matt Winn. Robby Albarado will be aboard for trainer Dale Romans.
While Vow to Wager will likely not be the favorite, Romans could have the horse to beat in the $200,000 Iowa Oaks (gr. III) one race earlier. Mark Stanley’s Quiet Temper was eighth in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and fourth last out in the June 5 Acorn (gr. I) at Belmont, beaten 3 3/4 lengths.
The daughter of Quiet American scored her biggest win in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) back in March, one race after missing by a nose in the Silverbulletday (gr. III). As a juvenile, she romped in the grade III Delta Princess Stakes. Robby Albarado will have the mount on Quiet Temper, who will carry 121 pounds.
Also carrying 121 pounds will be Harissa, winner of the Sunland Park Oaks in March and fourth last time out in the Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II) at Pimlico, which were her first two starts in dirt. The David Hofmans trainee began her career in California racing on synthetics and has been training at Santa Anita for the 1 1/16-mile Iowa Oaks, which drew a field of seven.
The Iowa Festival of Racing program also includes the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (gr. II). First post for the nine-race card is at 6:30 p.m. CST.
$200,000 Iowa Oaks (gr. III, Race 6, 8:46 p.m. CST), 3Yo Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Tap Tap Tapping (KY), F Lenclud, 115, D R Vance
2. Quiet Temper (KY), R Albarado, 121, D L Romans
3. Remit (KY), S Bridgmohan, 115, S M Asmussen
4. Seeking the Title (KY), C H Borel, 115, D Stewart
5. All Due Respect (FL), M E Smith, 115, K Walsh
6. Harissa (KY), M Garcia, 121, D E Hofmans
7. Shotgun Gulch (OK), M C Berry, 115, C R Trout
$250,000 Iowa Derby (gr. IT, Race 7, 9:18 p.m. CST), 3YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Down With Dixie (KY), C H Borel, 116, P J McGee
2. Vow to Wager (KY), R Albarado, 122, D L Romans
3. Thiskyhasnolimit (KY), S Bridgmohan, 119, S M Asmussen
4. Winslow Homer (KY), R A Dominguez, 122, A W Dutrow
5. Forestry Type (KY), J Alvarado, 116, D Bennett
6. Concord Point (KY), M Garcia, 116, B Baffert