Better weather offers respite for local horse racing schedule

Last Thursday evening a pair of allowance races and one early maiden special weight event helped highlight the last bitter cold night of the spring. One day earlier the daytime high approaches 70, but on Thursday temperatures rarely eclipsed the freezing mark.

In the last allowance event of the card, a one-turn dash for fillies and mares, Euro Indian Girl notched her second straight tally when she edged clear late to a length score in 52.83. A 4-year-old daughter of Eurosilver trained by Ronney Brown for owner Team Cobra, Euro Indian Girl has won two of four starts and earned $40,000 this year and now sports a solid 3-4-2 slate and $65,000 bankroll from 11 lifetime tries.

One race earlier on the card, Only Simon stalked the pace through the clubhouse turn and down the backside and eventually edged clear to a length score in a two-turn allowance event for older males. Trained by Tim Grams for owner Dennis Finger, Only Simon notched his second win in three starts this year by covering the 6 1/2-furlongs in a solid 1:20.04. It was his second win in eight career outings.

Several races earlier, Glendowner kicked off the card by capturing a two-turn maiden special weight event in atypical fashion for this oval. Away a step slow and last entering the clubhouse turn, Glendowner rallied widest of all down the backside, swept to command on the far turn and edged clear late to a two-length score in 1:21.43 for the 6 1/2-panels. The Awesome Again gelding is trained by Jose Corales for owner-breeder Frank Stronach.

Last Wednesday evening, on a night when temperatures dropped from a daytime high near 70 degrees to just above freezing by the end of the card, Charles Town offered a pair of interesting, state-bred maiden special weight events going two turns, one for each gender.

In the opener, Thunder Clan rallied from well off the pace to forge a narrow victory in a seven-furlong affair for state-bred fillies and mares. The 4-year-old Lion Heart filly trained by Jeff Runco for owner Smart Angle notched her first win in two starts this year and now owns a 2-6-3 slate and $75,000 bankroll from 14 career outings. Thunder Clan covered the seven panels in a modest 1:30.03 and got the better of her favored stablemate.

Pearl Street, who spent the first eight starts of her career in England, settled for second for the second straight time for Runco. The daughter of Street Sense raced between horses down the backside and on the far turn and surged to command briefly before being nailed late by her uncoupled stablemate. She had failed to hit the board in any of her eight starts in England last year.

Several races later on the Wednesday card, Solo Flight rallied from well off the pace to capture a two-turn maiden special weight for state-bred 3-year-old colts and geldings. The sophomore son of Not For Love owned, bred and trained by Runco raced four-wide on the far turn and eventually wore down Little Big Sime in the final yards for a neck victory in 1:22.95 for the 6 1/2 furlongs.

One night earlier on the Tuesday card, Feelin Great made a good first impression when he rallied from just off the pace to capture a two-turn maiden special weight event for state-bred older runners. A 4-year-old Albert The Great gelding owned, bred and trained by J. Michael Baird, Feelin Great sat just off the leaders down the backside, swept to command entering the far turn and drew clear to a five-length score under wraps while covering the 6 1/2-furlongs in 1:20.54 to easily prevail in his career debut.

Several races later on the Tuesday card, Late Caller posted a 6-1 upset in a two-turn allowance for state-bred 3-year-old colts and geldings. A sophomore son of Stroll trained by Wayne Pott, Late Caller covered the seven panels in 1:27.49 to notch his first win in three starts this year and his third victory in eight career tries, pushing his bankroll toward $60,000.

In what is becoming a bizarre, common theme through the early stages of 2014, the best efforts by West Virginia-breds are being delivered outside of the state’s two tracks.

Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream Park in Florida, Flat Jack finished a good second in a six-furlong maiden special weight event for 3-year-old colts & geldings. The sophomore son of Flatter out of a Personal Flag mare, is trained by Thomas Albertrani of Bernardini fame for owner West Point Thoroughbreds.

Flat Jack and his nine rivals were expected to have no chance against the Peter Walder-trained Whats Up Big Guy, who was made the 3-5 favorite in his career debut. But while that colt was away a step slow from the gate and never really reached contention, Flat Jack pressed the early pace, surged to command at the top of the lane and then was overhauled late by 16-1 outsider and first-timer Little Daddy in 1:10.19.

It was a promising seasonal debut for Flat Jack, who had been a nondescript seventh in his career debut at Saratoga last summer then was a good second against maiden special weight company at Belmont Park last October. Flat Jack delivered a good effort for a West Virginia-bred colt facing open company, but that has hardly been the exception to the rule through the first three months of the year.

 

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