On the night that California Chrome failed to secure his place among racing immortals when he settled for fourth in the Belmont Stakes, Charles Town offered a bevy of races that perhaps rekindled local horse racing enthusiasts’ passion for the Sport of Kings.
In the opening race on the Saturday program, Tadashi (Carlos Marrerro) lived up to her role as the 4-5 favorite in a one-turn, maiden special weight event for state-bred 3-year-old fillies when she overhauled longshot leader Miss Mountaineer for a length victory. The sophomore daughter of Rock City covered the 4 1/2-furlongs in 54.05 for her first tally in six career outings.
In a race that featured four first-time starters, Tadashi was clearly the most logical choice among the experienced runners. She had been second twice and third once in her five prior outings and had been second behind Rubys Red Rocket in her most recent start.
Dancing Waves had been sixth and eighth in her two starts, while The Real McCoy had finished second once and third once in 12 prior outings but had grown accustomed to running last recently and would do so again on Saturday.
While Tadashi notched her first win in six starts for trainer Freddie Johnson and owner-breeder Wind N Springs Farm, Miss Mountaineer delivered a promising effort in her career debut while showing speed and running second, while Love Is Love rallied from well off the pace to finish third at first asking. Bellzee Dear, the other half of the favored entry with Tadashi, had little to offer in her debut.
Several races later on the card, in a one-turn maiden special weight event for fillies and mares, experience was hardly a factor in the outcome as Fast Sense easily prevailed as the 2-5 effort in her career debut.
A 3-year-old daughter of Street Sense trained by Tim Grams for owner Stanley Dunn, Jr., Fast Sense made a very favorable first impression as she gained command soon after the break and sprinted home seven lengths clear in 52.47 for the 4 1/2-furlongs.
Fast Sense, bred by Brandywine Farm and Darley Stable of Kentucky, had been aiming for a freshman debut last fall with a series of good workouts from the gate here. But Grams opted to turn out her for the winter and bring her back for the spring and Saturday night she delivered a stellar debut that was arguably the best performance on the card. Her next victory against allowance company should be close at hand.
Several races later on the card in a one-turn allowance feature for state-bred fillies and mares, a race that included the runner-up in last year’s $250,000 West Virginia Breeders Cavada, the local gathering had a difficult time finding a favorite in the field of eight distaffers. They would eventually settle on Sheza Crafty Cat, who was returning to allowance company after winning two of her previous three starts against claimers.
But when the gate opened in that event, Unhinched (Gilberto Santiago) wasted little time gaining the upper hand. The 5-year-old Eavesdropper mare darted to a three-length lead down the backside and by the opener in 21.3, maintained a clear lead through the far turn and by the half-mile mark in 46 flat and then held safe her rivals through the lane for a three-length score in 52.94.
Trained by Lyn Venham for owner-breeder Gary Carter, Unhinched notched her first win in six starts this year and now owns a 4-2-5 slate and $96,500 bankroll from 25 career outings. Sheza Crafty Cat lasted for the place spot as the tepid 2-1 favorite, while Penn National invader Golden Bucket rallied wide late for the show spot. Red Penny Princess, who finished second in last year’s Cavada, settled for fourth as a 20-1 outsider.
Then in the finale, a one-turn dash for maiden $5,000 claimers, Corfe Castle picked the ideal spot to make her seasonal debut. The 3-year-old daughter of Windsor Castle trained by Lewis Craig for owner Michael E. Jones, Jr., overcame the outside draw easily to gain command leaving the chute and opened a three-length lead on 4-5 favorite Salute Me Back turning for home and cruised home to her first win in four tries by covering the distance in 53.84.