Officiating Defeats Stubborn Fleetridge In Prairie Meadows Cornhusker

Getting a perfect trip under Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, Vegso Racing Stable’s Florida homebred Officiating wore down recent $15,000 claim Fleetridge in deep stretch to win the Grade 3, $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap  on Saturday night in Altoona, Iowa.

Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., Officiating – a 4-year-old by Blame out of Come a Callin, by Dixie Union – hit the wire 1 1/4 lengths to the good of Jon Arnett-trained Fleetridge, with 7-10 favorite Warrant third and Flash of Mischief fourth in the field of six older runners.

Officiating, carrying 118 pounds and in receipt of three pounds from Warrant, stopped the timer in 1:50.04 for 1 1/8 miles on a fast track. He paid $18.80 to win, an overlay from his morning line odds of 4-1.

The Cornhusker was the third Grade 3 win and fifth overall from 19 starts for Officiating, his previous graded scores coming in the Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream Park last December and in the Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct in March.

Breaking from the No. 1 post, Flash of Mischief led the way early but was quickly joined by Fleetridge and Wilmer Garcia to his outside. Those two battled through fractions of :23.70, :49.52 and 1:13.31, with Officiating sitting in the catbird’s seat just behind that pair in third.

Castellano asked his mount to take on the leaders turning into the stretch, but Fleetridge proved to be a stubborn rival, holding a narrow advantage at the eighth pole (after a mile in 1:37.60) and only yielding in the final sixteenth of a mile to Officiating.


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