While many sports enthusiasts were making plans for their respective Super Bowl LV parties last weekend, Charles Town offered a quartet of live racing cards that helped owners and trainers kick off the first week of February with several very promising performances.
Last Saturday night in the penultimate race on the card, Rocket Appeal gained command soon after the break and led throughout to forge a mild 8-5 upset in the two-turn affair for state-bred males. A four-year-old Officer Rocket gelding trained by Marshall Campbell for owner Lester Thornton, Rocket Appeal rebounded from a pair of second-place efforts to record his third win in six career tries and pushed his lifetime earnings past $60,000 after getting the seven panels in 1:28.43 as the second choice.
Then several races earlier in a one-turn allowance for older males, River Crosroad Rvf (Arnaldo Bocachica) engaged in a spirited duel with Adding Machine virtually from gate to wire and finally edged past that one to score as the 6-5 favorite. A four-year-old Fiber Sonde gelding trained by Jeff Runco for owner Rolling Hills Racing LLC, River Crosroad Rvf notched his second win from seven starts by getting the 4 1/2-furlongs in 53.24. He had bolted on the far turn in two of his previous four local tries but remained on a straight path last weekend.
Saturday morning at Charles Town, the local scene lost one of its best state-bred distaffers when Parisian Diva suffered a fatal left hind leg injury during a routine gallop. A homebred daughter of Freedom Child trained by Stacey Viands for owner-breeder Melinda Golden, Parisian Diva had been second in her lone start this year and concluded her career with a 9-4-2 slate and $272,000 banked from 17 career outings. She was the champion West Virginia-bred three-year-old filly in 2019 when she won six of nine starts, including three stakes, and earned over $180,000.
Two nights earlier in the Thursday feature, Social Chic (Arnaldo Bocachica) lived up to his billing as the 1-5 favorite in a two-turn allowance for state-bred three-year-olds when he swept to command on the far turn then edged clear in the lane to a two-length score for his third straight triumph. A sophomore son of Upstart trained by Jeff Runco for owner Smart Angle, Social Chic has won three of six career outings and banked just over $60,000 after getting the 6 1/2-furlongs in 1:20.89.
Several races earlier in a one-turn allowance dash for older boys, Laughing Cat (Wesley Ho) broke best of all and led throughout to a three-length score as an overlooked 6-1 shot. A five-year-old Fiber Sonde gelding owned, bred and trained by John McKee, Laughing Cat prevailed smartly in his seasonal debut and now owns a 3-4-1 slate and $70,000 banked from 11 career outings after getting the 4 1/2-furlongs in 52.90.
One race earlier in a one-turn maiden special weight for fillies and mares, Charitable Any (Wladamir Rocha) broke alertly to gain command at the outset and was never threatened en route to a five-length score as the 5-2 second choice. A five-year-old daughter of Charitable Man owned and trained by Michael Pearson, Charitable Any graduated in her sixth career outing after getting the 4 1/2-furlongs in 54.15.
Then one race earlier in the Thursday opener, Gallinella (Christian Hiraldo) lived up to her role as the 7-5 favorite in a formful event when she overcame a slow start to sit just behind dueling leaders She Gives Me Fits and Well Spent down the backside, swept to command on the far turn then drew clear in the lane to a three-length score. A Maryland-bred, five-year-old daughter of Friesan Fire trained by Dale Capuano for owner H. Neil Glasser, Gallinella has won both of her starts this year and now owns a 4-5-6 slate and just over $130,000 banked from 21 lifetime outings after getting the 6 1/2-furlongs in 1:21.41.
One night earlier in the Wednesday feature, Mean Bean (Jason Simpson) returned from an 11-month layoff to overhaul the speedy Rush To The Castle in the final strides for a head victory in a two-turn allowance for state-bred older males. A nine-year-old Garnered gelding owned and trained by Glenn Harrison, a Ranson mailman by day, Mean Bean prevailed in his seasonal debut and now owns an 11-12-7 slate and over $270,000 banked after getting the 6 1/2-furlongs in 1:20.62 as the 4-1 fourth choice in the field of six.
Then one race earlier in another allowance affair for fillies and mares, Malibu Splash (Christian Hiraldo) overcame post eight and a prolonged duel with 5-2 second choice Brigantine Island to finally prevail by a head in a gritty performance from the top two distaffers in the field. A four-year-old daughter of Nicanor owned, bred and trained by Tim Grams, Malibu Splash recorded her first win of the new year and now owns a 4-5-2 slate and over $90,000 banked from 17 career tries after getting the 6 1/2-furlongs in 1:20.89.
Earlier that afternoon at the Fair Grounds in Louisiana, More Abundance finished a solid third in a 5 1/2-furlong race for $12,500 claimers on the turf. A nine-year-old West Virginia-bred Street Magician gelding trained by Joe Sharp, More Abundance now sports a balanced 5-5-5 slate and $140,000 banked from 34 career outings. He began at Charles Town and won his second lifetime start in a one-turn maiden special weight event, but he has spent much of his time at other venues on the east coast.