Comeonletsplay, Banner Yield post impressive undercard scores
CHARLES TOWN – On a night when Lucy’s Bob Boy solidified his recent return to good form by capturing the $50,000 Frank Gall Memorial for state-bred older runners tuning up for the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic on Oct. 18 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, a handful of other runners performed well in varying races on the undercard.
One race prior to Lucy’s Bob Boys’ sharp Gall tally, his third in six starts this year and his 19th win in 25 outings over the local strip, Banner Yield captured a one-turn open allowance race.
A 7-year-old Kokand gelding trained by Douglas Martz for owner-breeder Crest Hill Farm, Banner Yield gained command soon after the break and led throughout for his second straight tally, covering the 4 1/2-furlongs in a solid 51.93 over the muddy strip.
Granted, while Banner Yield hardly boasts the same reputation as Lucy’s Bob Boy, the state-bred gelding has won four of his last five outings over the track and now sports eight wins in 16 local tries. He has made three starts at Tampa Bay Downs – two on turf – where he could do no better than sixth.
Banner Yield has performed well against state-bred competition and last weekend he upended open allowance foes for his eighth career tally.
One race earlier on the card, Comeonletsplay lived up to his role as the 6-5 favorite in a two-turn allowance for state-bred 3-year-old colts and geldings when he surged clear late to a two-length score in 1:20.63 for the 6 1/2-furlongs.
A Luftikus gelding owned, bred and trained by John A. Casey of Down Town Allen fame, Comeonletsplay notched his second win in six starts this year and now sports a solid 3-5-1 slate from 12 lifetime tries.
In fact, Comeonletsplay is probably even better than he might appear on paper. The homebred gelding has spent much of his career chasing the undefeated Amherst Street in state-bred stakes, finishing second to that colt four times.
Following a nondescript fourth-place effort in the Robert Leavitt Memorial, ironically a race in which Amherst Street scratched out of, Comeonletsplay regained his winning ways over the off going last weekend.
Two races earlier on the Saturday card, Kela’s Game Face rebounded from a fourth-place finish as the 9-5 favorite against similar to capture a one-turn dash for $5,000 claiming fillies and mares which had never won four races. The 5-year-old Kela mare prevailed for the second time in nine starts this year by covering the 4 1/2-furlongs in 53.36 and she now owns a 4-4-3 slate and 22 career outings.
One race after the feature, fans who stayed around for the finale were treated to a good stretch drive as First Chapter wore down favored Bubba Bear to capture a seven-furlong event for $5,000 claimers that had never won three races.
A Canadian-bred son of Lewis Michael trained by Tim Grams for owner Minshall Farms, First Chapter notched his second win in 10 starts this year and now owns a 3-2-3 slate from 17 career outings.
While Lucy’s Bob Boy, Banner Yield and Comeonletsplay are prepping for the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic, one talented 3-year-old filly that is expected to arrive here next month for the Grade 3, $500,000 Charles Town Oaks is slated to compete this Saturday in the Grade 2, $300,000 Prioress at Saratoga.
Miss Behaviour, a Jump Start filly trained by Phil Schoenthal for owner-breeder Cal McWilliam, recently finished second behind Sweet Reason in the Grade 1, $500,000 Test Stakes at Saratoga and now she is heading back to the Spa for another graded stakes.
Miss Behaviour captured the Grade 2 Matron Stakes last fall at Belmont Park and has finished second in two graded stakes this year, while her lone tally from four outings was in the Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.
Miss Behaviour is probably better at this weekend’s Prioress distance than in the seven panels of the Oaks, but she has ample early speed and could get the jump on her rivals turning for home.
She has repeatedly fired bullet workouts over the Laurel Park surface in the morning and is poised for another big effort in the Prioress and that should also set her up perfectly for the Charles Town Oaks.
– 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.