While the buzz surrounding the Triple Crown series evaporated soon after Oxbow thumped Orb in the Preakness Stakes, the stakes schedule resumed one week later at Charles Town with the Fancy Buckles Stakes for fillies and mares.
Heading into the $50,000 Fancy Buckles last Saturday night, much of the attention focused on the freakishly fast three-year-old filly, Jax And Jill and the reigning queen of state-bred distaffers, Down Town Allen. Jax And Jill had won her seasonal debut on May 1 by getting 4 1/2 furlongs in 52.02, but Down Town Allen arrived as the two-time defending champion of this event and she was made the even-money choice while Jax And Jill was the solid 6-5 second choice.
When the gate opened in the latest renewal of the Fancy Buckles Stakes, Jax And Jill displayed the best early speed as expected and gained command leaving the chute and by the opener in 21.4. Down Town Allen, whose best nights have often come in two-turn stakes here, stayed close to the leader down the backside with Fear The Facelift not far behind in third.
Jax And Jill continued to show the way through the far turn and was put to a drive at the head of the lane looking to dispose of the favorite, but Down Town Allen was not about to surrender. The local queen found another gear in the final sixteenth of a mile and overhauled Jax And Jill in the final yards for a neck victory in 51.27. Fear The Facelift settled for third in a good try behind the top pair.
Down Town Allen has won both of her starts this year and she now sports a 17-5-4 slate and $740,000 bankroll from 32 career outings for owner-breeder-trainer John A. Casey. Along the way, Down Town Allen has won 15 stakes and she is not only the defending champion of the Cavada Stakes on West Virginia Breeders Classics night, she apparently has no intentions of yielding her title as the queen of the state-bred fillies and mares to Jax And Jill or anyone else anytime soon.
In a two-turn allowance for older males, Silver Menace posted a mild upset when he prevailed as the 8-5second choice despite a prolonged, three-wide bid. A four-year-old Silver Wagon gelding trained by Katherine Ritvo, Silver Menace egded clear to a two-length score in 1:18.69 for his second win in three starts this year and fourth win in 11 career outings, pushing his lifetime bankroll to nearly $100,000.
In a one-turn maiden special weight affair for fillies and mares, Rise Against easily lived up to her role as the 1-9 favorite when she simply romped home eight lengths clear in 51.90 in her seasonal debut for trainer Hugh McMahon. Rise Against had been accustomed to facing maiden special weight foes at Belmont Park, Gulfstream Park and Monmouth, but last weekend she cruised to an effortless victory in her local and seasonal debut, her first win in eight lifetime tries.
In the opening race on the card, Knight In Calling showed speed early and enough determination late to score by a length as the 4-5 favorite. The juvenile daughter of Offlee Wild had been third and fourth in two prior starts at Pimlico before prevailing in her local debut in 53.67 for trainer Dane Kobiskie.