With both the Grade II Charles Town Classic and Grade III Charles Town Oaks slated for the same card later this month, Charles Town has offered local runners ample time to prepare for any of the supporting open and West Virginia-bred stakes on the card.
Last Saturday night’s feature occurred much earlier on the card than normal and still proved to be very formful when 1-5 choice Stowe Angel gained command soon after the break and led throughout en route to a six-length score.
A sophomore daughter of Warrior’s Reward trained by Jeff Runco for owner David Raim, Stowe Angel notched her second straight tally and now sports three wins in four career outings after getting the seven panels in 1:27.48. She graduated at first asking last fall and has only tasted defeat once in her brief career.
Then several races later in a one-turn maiden special weight dash for state-bred three-year-old boys, Rocket Sound broke alertly to gain command from post nine and led throughout en route to a sharp, four-length score. Second in his career debut, Rocket Sound graduated on Saturday night as the even-money second choice for trainer Manolo Mangual.
Speaking of the Charles Town Oaks, earlier last Saturday at Saratoga, Gamine, clearly the nation’s best sprinting three-year-old filly, drew off from Venetian Harbor to capture the Grade I, $300,000 Test Stakes by getting the seven furlongs in a wicked 1:20.83. In years past the top two finishers in the Test have quickly bypassed the Oaks, but Baffert is certainly no stranger to sending Grade I winners to the Jefferson County oval.
One night earlier in the penultimate race on the Friday card, Bold Valor forged a 7-1 upset in a two-turn allowance for state-bred males. A three-year-old Creative Cause gelding owned and trained by Ronney Brown, Bold Valor rallied from just off the pace for a three-length score in 1:26.46 for the seven panels. It was his third win in seven starts this year and 11 outings overall.
Several races earlier in a two-turn allowance for fillies and mares, Bridging The Gap maintained the solid start to her campaign when she posted a mild 8-5 upset in the compact field. A sophomore daughter of Fiber Sonde owned and trained by John McKee, Bridging The Gap led throughout for a two-length score by getting the seven furlongs in a sharp 1:25.30 for her third win in six starts this year and fifth victory in 10 career tries to push her lifetime earnings just shy of $100,000.
Then one night earlier in the penultimate race on the Thursday program, Fancy Concho rebounded from a second-place finish as the 2-5 favorite in a prior allowance by gaining command soon after the break and lasting for a neck victory over Night Train Wayne in their rematch. A three-year-old gelded son of Fiber Sonde owned, bred and trained by Tim Grams, Fancy Concho now owns two wins and two second-place finishes from four starts after getting the 4 1/2-furlongs in 52.29.
Several races earlier in a one-turn allowance for older males, Ruling gained command soon after the break, opened a four-length lead turning for home then lasted for a length score in his local debut. A sophomore son of Maclean’s Music trained by Greg Compton, Ruling forged a mild 5-2 upset when he notched his third win from six starts by getting the dash distance in 51.82.