Special to the Spirit
CHARLES TOWN — A compact field of West Virginia-bred fillies took center stage on Saturday night in the $50,000 Sylvia Bishop Memorial at Charles Town. The Sylvia Bishop, named in honor of the first female trainer in North America saw Jax And Jill easily garner most of the attention as the prohibitive 1-9 favorite. Trained by Scott Lake for owner-breeder Robert Cole, Jr., she has been virtually unbeatable in local outings but had run second twice to the older Down Town Allen.
Jax And Jill broke alertly and gained command as she strolled through a 24-second opening quarter. She continued to maintain the lead down the backside then rapidly widened her advantage through the far turn and drew off in the lane to a six-length score.
Jax And Jill has won four of six starts and earned nearly $120,000 this year. The talented filly has plenty of early speed and appears tractable and may get another shot at Down Town Allen in the Cavada Stakes on West Virginia Breeders Classics night October 19.
Earlier on the card, Thirtyeghthailmarys posted a mild 5-2 upset in an allowance for the boys. Trained by Jeff Runco for owner Shaw Farms, Thirtyeghthailmarys notched his third win in six career outings.
Earlier in a compact, competitve state-bred allowance, Red Hot Diva rallied from well off the pace and widest of all late to prevail by a neck in a four-horse blanket finish. Trained by Ollie Figgins, she overhauled a gritty Blisstikus late for her second win in six starts this year.
Trident Hero displayed plenty of speed and grittiness to capture a maiden special weight event in his career debut. Trained by Stephanie Beattie, Trident Hero broke well to battle inside of one rival down the backside and through the far turn then sprinted clear late to a three-length score.
At Saratoga Race Course in New York, Dance to Bristol rallied from just off the pace and then outfought favored Book Review to capture the Grade I, $500,000 Ballerina Stakes by a head. Trained by Ollie Figgins, III, Dance to Bristol has now won three straight graded stakes, five straight stakes and seven straight races overall and punched her ticket to the $1 million Breeders Cup Filly-Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.
Sent out as the 8-5 second choice, Dance to Bristol settled into fourth early, bided her time for the opening half-mile, launched a four-wide bid on the far turn, swept to command at the top of the lane and then outfought the late bid of Book Review for a head triumph. A modest $42,000 yearling purchase by Susan Wantz, Dance to Bristol has won 10 of 18 career outings and banked over $900,000.
Dance to Bristol actually began her stakes skein in April when she captured the Sugar Maple Stakes at Charles Town. She posted her first graded stakes tally at Belmont Park in June, posted a Grade II score in the Honorable Miss Stakes at Saratoga last month then notched her first Grade I score with a determined tally in the Ballerina. She is scheduled to run next in the Gallant Bloom Stakes at Belmont on Sept. 21.