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2016 cornhusker handicap preview entries and odds

´╗┐Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel in Altoona, Iowa will play host to the Grade 3 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap this Saturday, July 2. A purse of $300,000 will be on the line for horses three years old and upward willing to go 1 1/8 miles on Prairie Meadows dirt track.

Nine older horses will take to the track in the Cornhusker Handicap - race 9 on Prairie Meadows Saturday schedule. Post time is 4:50 PM. Here is a glance into the past performances of all nine combatants for this Grade 3 stakes.

2016 Cornhusker Handicap Race Preview at Prairie Meadows

Cyrus Alexander 7-2 - Jerry Hollendorfer trained colt has four wins, four seconds and two third place finishes in 15 career starts. Last time out was a nice win by 2 1/2 lengths in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap May 30 after he has failed to place in his previous three -a fourth in the minor Santana Mile April 2, an eighth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 12 and a disappointing sixth in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes February 6. Before that was a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming January 8, an Allowance Optional Claiming score in December and two straight off-the-board finishes including a fourth in the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes on this track in June. Cyrus Alexander has been up and down in his career so far and looks to build on his best career effort by far when he departs from the outside post 9 with Martin Garcia guiding the tepid morning line favorite.

S'maverlous 4-1 - Michael Maker trained gelding has placed in 17 of 22 career starts - nine wins, four second and four third place finishes. He enters off a nice win in the minor Mountainview Handicap at Penn National June 4 which followed a disappointing fifth in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic and a good two race win streak - the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at 20-1 odds in his stakes debut March 16 and an Allowance Optional Claiming March 3 - both at Fair Grounds. He placed in nine of 10 starts prior to those wins including five wins over that span. S'maverlous has been impressive the last year and hopes for his fourth win in five starts Saturday from post 7. Florent Geroux has been tabbed to ride the race highweight and second betting choice.

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Shotgun Kowboy 9-2 - R Trout trained gelding has six wins, three seconds and a third place finish in 13 career starts. He posted three consecutive impressive wins last summer including the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park in September and the minor Oklahoma Classics Cup in October but failed to place in his next three starts including a fourth in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park March 19, a fifth in the minor Duncan F. Kenner Stakes at Fair Grounds in February and a seventh in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in November. He has since recorded consecutive respectable seconds - in the Grade 3 Texas Mile May 6 and behind Cyrus Alexander in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap May 30. Shotgun Kowboy has been pretty good in the past and hopes build on a couple of decent efforts. Luis Quinonez will be in the saddle trying to snap a five race losing streak - from post 3.

Domain's Rap 5-1 - has 56 career starts with 13 wins, 14 seconds and eight third place finishes. He won three straight races to start his year including an Allowance Optional Claiming at Oaklawn Park February 21 and went on to a sixth in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap April 16. Last time out was a second in the minor Jim Rasmussen Memorial Stakes on this track May 30. Domain's Rap has been worse than second just one time in his last nine starts - competitive every time out and will be out for his first graded stakes score Saturday. Ramon Vazquez has been tabbed to ride from gate 2.

Hawaakom 6-1 - Wes Hawley trained gelding has six wins, four seconds and six third place finishes in 25 career starts and makes just his fourth stakes start Saturday. He had a seventh in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes in April, an OK third in the minor Maxxam Gold Cup in February and a ninth in the 2013 LeComte Stakes. He enters off an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Churchill Downs May 30 which followed a third in a similar race on that track May 12. Hawaakom now has placed in six of his last seven starts overall and hopes for his first stakes score Saturday. He leaves from gate 4 with Miguel Mena aboard.

Code West 6-1 - won the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes in June, 2013 and has been up and down since. He enters off a nice win over Domain's Rap in the minor Jim Rasmussen Memorial Stakes on this track May 30 which followed an eighth in the Grade 2 Haygard Fayette Stakes in October (he was fourth in that race in 2014), a second in the minor Remington Green Stakes in September and a third in the minor Governor's Cup Stakes in August. Code West has been inconsistent indeed and hopes that his win last time out is a sign of things to come. He tries for his second straight stakes win from gate 6 Saturday with Israel Ocampo in the saddle.

Smack Smack 10-1 - won four of his first five career starts (three stakes) but hasn't quite been the same since. He finished sixth in this race last year and went on to win four of his next five races including the minor Zia Park Championship November 25, the minor Veterans Stakes on that track November 2 and the minor Governor's Cup at Remington Park in August. He enters off a somewhat disappointing fourth in the minor Jim Rasmussen Memorial here May 30 after a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming here May 15 and consecutive runner-up finishes in Allowance Optional Claiming races at Oaklawn Park in April. Smack Smack looks for his first win this year and first ever graded stakes score from the rail Saturday. Shane Laviolette rides.

Pain and Misery 12-1 - Don Von Hemel trained gelding has four wins, five seconds and three third place finishes in 16 career starts. He was decent at this time last year when he finished third in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby, second in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile and won the minor Charles Taylor Derby at Albuquerque in June and has been decent since. He enters on the heels of consecutive runner-up finishes - the minor Sunland Park handicap May 1, the minor Winsham Lad Stakes in April, a third in the minor Curribot Handicap in February and a sixth in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes in December. Pain and Misery has shown form in the past and hopes to once again as he chases his first graded stakes score from post 5. Ken Tohill has the mount.

Eton Ridge 15-1 - David Anderson trained colt won two straight minor stakes races at Fonner Park in April and was last seen running a somewhat disappointing fifth in the minor Jim Rasmussen Memorial Stakes here May 30. He failed to place in his previous two starts as well. Eton Ridge had looked good in lesser company before last time out and hopes to rediscover that form in his first ever graded stakes race - from gate 8 with David Mello in the irons.

Abu dhabi grand prix betting nerves are all that can stop nico now


It was two years ago that the Formula One circus pitched its tents in Abu Dhabi with everybody bemoaning the idea of double points for the final race of the season.

Lewis Hamilton was leading the Championship, should have had the title already wrapped up, but Bernie Ecclestone's bright idea had given his Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg one last chance. Wrong, wrong, wrong, we all said.

Well how Lewis must wish there were double points at stake this weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit. Some 12 behind Rosberg as the season enters its 21st race, time has all but run out on his late charge to retain his drivers' title.

Hamilton has driven brilliantly these last few months and you can expect him to do so again. He's [1.61] to take pole position in qualifying and [1.63] to be the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner.

Yet even if he follows his triumphs in America, Mexico and Brazil by collecting all 25 points on offer with his fourth win in a row, all Rosberg has to do is finish in the top three. No wonder the German starts the weekend [1.26] to be crowned Drivers Champion for the first time in his career.

In 20 races so far this season, Rosberg has finished off the podium only five times. Fourth in Germany and Austria, he was fifth in Canada, seventh in Monaco, and had his only complete disaster in Spain where he crashed out after two laps. Not that a repeat of that experience would help Hamilton too much - he was out of that race on the first lap!

So can anything make it worth backing Lewis at [4.7] to somehow steal his third title in a row and the fourth of his career? Well, think back to 2014, and maybe history can repeat itself. Rosberg started that race on pole, but finished it limping along outside the points because of electrical failures on his car. Hamilton, meanwhile, cruised round in first place to clinch the chequered flag in style.

Don't count on that happening again, though. As Mercedes Executive Director Paddy Lowe has been boasting, this has been the team's best year ever for reliability both technically and operationally. The cars have nearly always worked, the pit crews have consistently done their jobs smoothly.

If anything does go wrong, it will be down to the driver himself, and that's where there's a slight glimmer of hope for Hamilton. The Yas Marina Circuit is one of the more intricate layouts, with lots of corner sequences. One slight error going through the first bend can throw the car out for the next couple and ruin an entire lap.

Could Rosberg suffer an attack of nerves as he nears the finishing line to his title dream? Might he try too hard to be perfect and so make a costly blunder?

It's the only thing that could help Hamilton now. Not unless Bernie suddenly decides to bring back double points.

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