Down Town Allen wins again; nears $1M in earnings
CHARLES TOWN – Venerable racehorse Down Town Allen has already ensconced herself as the all-time leading earner for owner and trainer John A. Casey.
Now the 7-year-old bay mare has set her sights on eclipsing the $1 million mark in career purse earnings, a rarity for West Virginia-bred racehorses.
Under a patient ride by jockey Matt McGowan, odds-on favorite Down Town Allen led every step Saturday night against open company in a $31,000 allowance race at Charles Town before holding off a late bid by a 10-1 challenger.
Down Town Allen covered seven furlongs over a dirt track rated fast in 1:26.70, turning back a determined Dangerous Vixen by a half-length, followed by Queen’o’daball another three lengths back in third.
Post time second choice Tiz the Route, a speed horse many figured to vie for the early lead, broke slowly and pulled up immediately before walking off.
Down Town Allen returned $2.80 to win on a $2 wager.
“The only one we were concerned about evidently didn’t come out of the gate,” McGowan said. “The original plan was to sit and stalk off her. But when I looked inside she wasn’t there. (Down Town Allen) took the front end and did her classic ears up and slowed it down a bit. I hate to say it, but I can because the race is over, she kind of toyed with them after that.”
The victory was the second this year for Down Town Allen after she opened her 7-year-old season scoring by 3 1/4-lengths April 19 over fellow state-bred females in the $50,000 Original Gold Stakes at Charles Town.
“The last two years since they’ve brought her back she’s just been a lot more game,” McGowan said. “Before she was doing really well and competing, but now she just wants it. She’s an older mare and she just feels like she wants to prove it.”
Down Town Allen, named for the son of her owner, breeder and trainer, has 21 career victories from 37 lifetime starts and more than $842,000 in earnings.
Casey said he plans to follow a similar path to last season, when his leading charge opened her 2013 campaign with a victory in the Original Gold before taking down both the Fancy Buckles and Sadie Hawkins stakes, both featuring $50,000 purses for West Virginia-bred females.
The Fancy Buckles (June 14 at Charles Town) is run at 4 1/2 furlongs and the Sadie Hawkins (Aug. 16 at Charles Town) is contested at seven furlongs, the same length as both her races thus far this year.
Casey said the ultimate goal is to get her back in the $200,000 West Virginia Cavada Breeders Classic – also seven furlongs – this fall at Charles Town. Down Town Allen won the Cavada in 2012, but had to scratch the day of the race last fall due to a foot bruise.
“I don’t know if I can get her up enough to go 4 1/2, but I’m going to try,” Casey said about the Fancy Buckles. “She won it last year. I ran her seven furlongs and then she cam back and won it.”
Casey said he is unlikely to try Down Town Allen out of state this summer, as he has done in the past.
In August 2010, she won the $85,000 West Virginia Secretary of State going six furlongs at Mountaineer Park. But the following July she finished seventh in the $100,000 Jenny Wade Handicap going five furlongs on the turf at Penn National.
Last August, Down Town Allen showed good early speed in the $100,000 West Virginia Secretary of State before fading to finish eighth of 10.
“I’m not going to try that this year,” Casey said. “One year she did good up there, but I’m going to save her here for the big money.
“I’ve never had one make that much money in my life,” Casey said, when asked about the potential for $1 million in earnings. “It would be nice. I’ve had some nice horses that could run, but they didn’t usually last this long. She’s getting a little age on her, but she’s still running. She’s getting better with age, I think.”