In the week leading up to the divisional round of the National Football League playoffs, a number of owners and trainers were hoping to kick off the current campaign with a winner or two in some of the tougher allowance races at Charles Town.
Last Saturday night in the two-turn allowance feature, Great Vintage rallied from midpack and three-wide to capture the seven-furlong event in 1:24.79 as an overlooked 7-1 shot in the six-horse field. Favored Paco Smart set the early tempo but gave way in the lane.
A five-year-old Great Notion gelding out of a Horatius mare trained by Jeff Runco for owner Linda Zang, Great Vintage bided his time through the early stages then rallied three-wide on the far turn and through the lane to score by two lengths in his seasonal debut. The Maryland-bred runner now owns three wins in seven lifetime starts and banked over $60,000.
One night earlier, Quality Jack displayed plenty of early speed and romped home five lengths clear in a one-turn maiden special weight event. A three-year-old gelded son of Elusive Quality trained by Ronney Brown for owner-breeder Shade Tree Thoroughbreds, Quality Jack gained command before the opener in 21.4 and maintained a clear lead to the wire while stopping the timer in 51.99 for his first win in seven lifetime starts. His first three outings were at Calder Race Course in southern Florida.
Several races later on the same card, Wink At The Girls benefited from a ground-saving journey to capture a two-turn allowance for older runners as the 7-2 fourth choice. An eight-year-old Halo’s Image gelding trained by Murray Rojas, Wink At The Girls saved ground down the backside and through the far turn, slipped through an opening on the rail and prevailed by a neck over Disco Indy in 1:17.96 for the 6 1/2-furlongs. It was his 16th win in 57 career outings and pushed his lifetime earnings to nearly $630,000.
In the very next race on the card, Portfolio lived up to her role as the 7-5 favorite in a two-turn allowance event for fillies and mares when she rallied from just off the pace to score by three lengths in 1:19.32 for the 6 1/2-furlongs. A six-year-old Indian Country mare trained by Kevin Patterson for owner Kory Peter, Portfolio surged to command with a three-wide bid on the far turn and edged clear late to her first win in two starts this year and her seventh victory in 23 career outings.
One night earlier on the Thursday card, Golden Set lived up to his billing as the 3-5 favorite in a two-turn allowance event for state-bred older horses when he wore down King Of Bop early and then held sway late to score by two lengths in 1:26. A five-year-old Tapit gelding trained by Jeff Runco for owner David Raim and ridden by Eclipse Award finalist Jose Montano, Golden Set prevailed by two lengths in his seasonal debut. It was his sixth win in 18 lifetime starts and pushed his career earnings to nearly $180,000.
But two races earlier on the card, Ok Listen Up delivered a sharp score when she wore down 6-5 favorite Heir Gone Wild to prevail by a determined nose in 1:25.85 in a seven-furlong allowance for fillies and mares.