[cleeng_content id="501599214" description="Read it now!" price="0.49" t="article"]CHARLES TOWN – After bitter cold temperatures forced the cancellation of the Tuesday and Wednesday cards at Charles Town last week, live racing returned to the Jefferson County oval Jan. 30 when temps never dipped into single-digits.
In the fourth race on the card, a two-turn allowance for West Virginia-bred fillies and mares seeking their third lifetime tallies, Spa Creek, ridden by Jevian Toledo, was made the solid 3-5 favorite in her seasonal debut for trainer Jeff Runco. The daughter of former Eclipse champion sprinter Smoke Glacken enjoyed a busy campaign in 2013, winning twice in 10 starts. But she was seeking to end a six-race skid dating back to her first allowance score last July.
When the gate opened, Spa Creek broke well from the rail but opted to allow Kluvyabye, under jockey Katie Crews, to assume command passing the finish line the first time, with Last Train just off of her flank. Spa Creek settled into a good spot along the rail in third as Kluvyabye led the field through the clubhouse turn and by the opener in 23.4 seconds and then down the backside and by the half-mile mark in 48.2.
Entering the far turn, Kluvyabye soon had company from Spa Creek as the favorite advanced to make her presence known nearing the eighth pole as Last Train backed out of it. I’m Good started a belated rally, but would eventually settle for third as Spa Creek overhauled Kluvyabye in the lane and drew clear to a three-length score in 1:26.23 for seven furlongs.
Triumphant in her seasonal debut for Runco and co-owners Coleswood Farm and David Raim, Spa Creek now owns a 3-3-2 slate and $72,500 bankroll from 11 lifetime tries.
She broke her maiden last May, won an allowance last July then finished second three times and third twice in five subsequent attempts to garner her third victory. But last Thursday evening the daughter of Smoke Glacken prevailed with something left in reserve.
Two races later in another two-turn allowance, this one for state-bred 3-year-olds seeking their second lifetime victories, much of the public’s attention focused on two geldings. Late Caller, a son of Stroll trained by Jean Rofe, was made the tepid 9-5 favorite while Captain Klink, starting from post 10 after drawing in belatedly off the also-eligible list, was the 2-1 second choice for owner-trainer-breeder James W. Casey.
Soon after the gate opened in that event, Pub Pub Pub broke alertly to gain the early advantage and Captain Klink was away in good order to stalk the leader, while Late Caller was reserved well off the early tempo and could do no better than fourth.
Pub Pub Pub, ridden by J.D. Acosta, led the field through the clubhouse turn and down the backside with Captain Klink racing right at his throat-latch and Uncle Jack, under jockey Erick Ramirez, just behind the top pair. Pub Pub Pub was hounded by the second choice every step of the way, but through the lane he refused to be overtaken by Captain Klink in the final yards and lasted for a nose victory for a 7-1 upset while covering the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:20.18.
A sophomore son of 1998 Derby winner Real Quiet trained by Geoffrey Schneider for owner Henry Schneider, Pub Pub Pub kicked off his current campaign with a determined victory. He had ended his freshman season with a maiden special weight tally and now owns a 2-2-1 slate and $45,000 bankroll from six career outings.
Captain Klink, and Greatness gelding and another Casey homebred with potential, has finished second in each of his two starts this year and has a 1-2-1 slate and $33,000 bankroll from four starts. He had won at first asking last October then finished third in the West Virginia Futurity before opening the current campaign with a solid, second-place effort.
Speaking of West Virginia-bred 3-year-old colts and geldings, a pair of them actually appeared on the Experimental Scale. Giovanni Boldini, runner-up in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf for trainer Aidan O’Brien, was easily the highest weighted state-bred at 122 pounds, while the unbeaten Amherst Street, a winner of all five of his starts at Charles Town last year was given 107 pounds on the scale.
Bred by Charles “Buck” Woodson at his 40-acre Buckstud Farm near Charles Town, Giovanni Boldini, a $190,000 weanling purchase who was later pin-hooked at a yearling sale for $675,000, won twice in four starts and took second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf behind Outstrip and third in the Group I Vincent O’Brien at the Curragh last summer.
Giovanni Boldini, named for an Italian artist, is expected to have a busy schedule this spring and could return to the United States for several graded stakes since he has always displayed a fondness for firm turf courses.