CHARLES TOWN — Charles Town capped July with a bevy of allowance races that will serve as preps for numerous state-bred stakes in August leading up to the West Virginia Breeders Classics in October.
Last Saturday the highlight of the program may been the opener, a maiden special weight event for state-bred three-year-olds hoping to follow in the hoofprints of Hidden Canyon and In The Fairway, slated to face off this weekend in the Robert Leavitt Memorial.
When the gate opened, favored Captain Driver broke very alertly to duel for command down the backside, surged to a clear lead on the far turn and then drew off to a four-length score. It was the first win in five tries for the gelding owned and trained by Cecil Dickinson.
On the Friday card, Margaret High posted a 10-1upset in an allowance when she gained command on the far turn and then held safe the bid of even-money choice Blisstokiss to score. Trained by Donald Shuler for owner-breeder Edward Krishack, Margaret High notched her second win in eight starts this year.
Bandola restored some order to the chaos when she led throughout to prevail as the 3-5 favorite in an allowance. Trained by David Wells for owner Moshe Mark, Bandola notched her fourth win in eight starts this year. She was also claimed from Wells by trainer Sandra Dono for $12,500.
Last Thursday, Time of the Sword posted a mild 4-1 upset in an open maiden special weight event. Trained by Rodney Jenkins for the Centennial Farms, Time of the Sword notched his first win in two career outings.
Haitian Nation lived up to her role as the 3-5 favorite in an allowance for fillies and mares when she prevailed. Trained by Kieron Magee for owner Helen Marshall, Haitian Nation posted her third win in eight starts this year.
Local racing fans certainly recall the brilliant performance that Dance to Bristol delivered in the $200,000 Sugar Maple Stakes in April and they are familiar with what the talented filly has done since for trainer Ollie Figgins, III.
On Sunday at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, Immortal Eyes continued his winning ways when he led throughout to capture the $100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes by a neck over Javerre. Trained by Damon Dilidovico for owner Robert Abbo, Immortal Eyes has won three straight races at Monmouth, four of seven starts this year and $865,000 bankroll from 45 lifetime outings. He has won 9 of 11 races at Charles Town and holds the track record of 50.09 for 4 1/2 furlongs.
On Monday afternoon at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York, Dance to Bristol continued her winning ways when she won the Grade II, $200,000 Honorable Miss Stakes for fillies and mares. Dance to Bristol brought a five-race win streak into the Honorable Miss Stakes.
She overcame early troubleand traffiuc late and rallied bravely to capture the stakes by a head.
Owned by Susan Wantz, Dance to Bristol was checked anmd steadied between horses down the backside and got shuffled back to last briefly, then still appeared in traffikc on the far turn and faced a wall of horses turning for home.
But at the furlong pole, Dance to Bristol found room between horses, shifted gears in the final 100 yards and then wore down the speddey Classic Point to win by a head for her second straight graded stakes score and sixth consecutive victory overall.
She has won six of seven starts this year and earned nearly $500,000, and has a stellar 9-7-0 slate and $620,000 bankroll from 17 career starts.