In the races leading up to the Sadie Hawkins and the latest victory in the stellar career of local state-bred mare, Down Town Allen, several runners performed admirably in the blend of allowance, claiming and maiden races on the Saturday card.
One race prior to the Sadie Hawkins, Minescape, a 5-year-old son of Mineshaft trained by Ollie Figgins, III, lived up to his billing as the lukewarm 2-1 favorite when he led throughout to capture a three-turn allowance/optional $12,500 claiming race. It was the third win in nine starts this year for Minescape, who now owns a 7-6-5 slate and $187,000 lifetime bankroll from 37 career tries.
One race earlier, The Camden Comet, ridden by Jose Montano, also made good on his 6-5 favoritism when he rallied three-wide on the far turn and closed with authority to capture a two-turn event for $10,000 claimers in 1:18.54. A 5-year-old Not Fort Love gelding trained by Charles Frock for owner C and B Stables, The Camden Comet now owns a 3-3-1 slate and $55,000 bankroll from nine seasonal starts and sports a 6-4-1 slate and $156,000 earned in 15 lifetime outings.
Several races earlier on the card, King of the Castle (Travis Dunkelberger) also made good on his role as the 5-2 favorite in his career debut when he led throughout to capture a two-turn maiden special weight event for state-bred 2-year-olds by two lengths in 52.48. A juvenile son of Windsor Castle trained by Larry Curtis for owner Chester Stables, LLC, King of the Castle darted to command in a 22-flat opener and never looked back to score at first asking.
Then in the opening race on the Saturday card, history buffs could certainly appreciate the victory posted by Ulysses S. Grant (J.D. Acosta) who toyed with a maiden $10,000 claiming group.
Sent out as the 3-10 favorite, Ulysses S. Grant gained command soon after the start and widened his margin with every stride en route to an 11-length score in 1:28.48 for the seven furlongs. It was the first victory in 11 career starts for the former Union General and President of the United States namesake.
One night earlier on the Friday card, Jump the Horizon (Montano) easily earned top billing when he bided his time early then pounced on the leaders on the far turn and then drew off to a seven-length score in a two-turn maiden special weight event for state-bred 3-year-olds. The sophomore son of Jump Start trained by Jeff Runco won at second asking after running second in his career debut four weeks earlier.
One night earlier the first two races on the Thursday card would get plenty of attention. In the opener, Rope (Cecily Evans) eventually wore down favored Mr. Ripken (Christian Hiraldo) for a neck victory in a two-turn allowance, then Sandshot Castle (Montano) shook off two years of playing the bridesmaid to prevail in a one-turn maiden special weight event as the 4-5 favorite for trainer Ronney Brown in his 15th attempt to garner his diploma, with 50-1 outsider Lion of Mine gaining the place spot.
– Ted Black has covered thoroughbred and harness racing in West Virginia and Maryland for more than two decades. Black is president of the Maryland Racing Media Association.