On the weekend in which millions of Americans ventured to various destinations or simply opted to stay close to home for backyard barbecues, Charles Town offered the latest renewal of the Fancy Buckles Stakes for West Virginia-bred fillies and mares that capped a competitive three nights of live racing at the Jefferson County oval.
Heading into the latest renewal of the Fancy Buckles, much of the attention focused on Gandhi’s Castle who was made the 4-5 favorite for trainer Kevin Patterson and Our Diamond Girl, who is trained by Tim Grams, coincidentally the conditioner of the race’s namesake. When the gates opened in the Fancy Buckles, Good Karma, Gandhi’s Castle and Our Diamond Girl all broke alertly to press the pace down the backside and before the opening quarter in 22 flat it was the favorite who backed out.
Midway on the far turn, Our Diamond Girl collared Good Karma as College Kid joined the fray three-wide. Inside the eighth pole, Our Diamond Girl forged a clear lead and she edged away from College Kid for a two-length score while stopping the timer in 52.97 for her fourth win in five starts this year and sixth win from 10 career outings, pushing her bankroll past $125,000 for trainer Tim Grams and owner-breeder Grams Racing.
One race earlier in a two-turn, open allowance for older males, Command the Cat (Rashawn Latchman) pressed the pace through the early stages then edged clear in the final strides to a two-length score as an overlooked 7-1 shot. A four-year-old Master Rick gelding owned, bred and trained by John McKee, Command the Cat notched his second win from eight starts this year and now owns a 5-3-7 slate and over $105,000 banked from 20 career outings after getting the 6 1/2-furlongs in 1:20.25.
Then two races earlier in a two-turn allowance/optional $15,000 claiming event for older boys, Dazzle Me (Ramon Maldonado) rallied from well off the pace and nailed pace setting favorite Lady Valentina in the final strides for a neck victory. A five-year-old Flat Out mare trained by Mike E. Butts for owner John Kenworthy, Dazzle Me notched his third win in seven starts this year and now owns a 10-2-6 slate and over $175,000 banked from 47 career tries after getting the seven furlongs in 1:27.51.
Then one race earlier in a two-turn allowance for state-bred older males, Candy Invasion (Antonio Lopez) rallied from well off the pace and widest of all to forge a length score as the second choice. A sophomore son of Normandy Invasion owned, bred and trained by John A. Casey of Down Town Allen fame, Candy Invasion notched his third win from five starts this year and seventh overall by getting the seven panels in 1:27.88 over a muddy track.
One night earlier in the Friday feature, Youthinkthatsfunny (Rashawn Latchman) forged a mild upset when he toppled older foes to capture a two-turn allowance for state-bred boys. A sophomore son of Fiber Sonde owned, bred and trained by John McKee, Youthinkthatsfunny notched his first win in two starts this year and now sports a 4-1-1 slate and just over $125,000 banked from seven lifetime tries. Fourth in his seasonal debut in the Coin Collector Stakes in early May, he was the champion West Virginia-bred two-year-old male in 2020.
Several races earlier in a one-turn maiden special weight dash for state-bred fillies, I’m a Total Diva (Denis Araujo) narrowly prevailed as the 4-5 favorite following a prolonged duel with first-timer Jacks Sister Jill (Darius Thorpe) for a nose victory in a genuine gate-to-wire throwdown. A sophomore daughter of Fiber Sonde owned, bred and trained by John McKee, I’m a Total Diva notched her first win in six tries by edging Jacks Sister Jill by a nose in 53.52 for the 4 1/2-furlongs over the sloppy going.
Two races earlier in another two-turn maiden special weight event for state-bred males, Ponticello (Denis Araujo) rallied from well off the pace and widest of all to splash home two lengths clear as the 5-1 fourth choice. A sophomore son of Gio Ponti trained by Raimondo Schiano-DiCola of Gabriel’s Smile fame, Ponticello graduated in his seventh start this year and 11th career outing by getting the 6 1/2-furlongs in 1:22.83 over the sloppy surface.
One night earlier in the penultimate race on the Thursday card, Missionsninetynine (Gerald Almodovar) recorded a 6-1 upset when he led throughout to a three-length score in a two-turn allowance for state-bred males. A sophomore son of Super Ninety Nine owned, bred and trained by James W. Casey, Missionsninetynine notched his second win from five tries by getting the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:19.90.
Several races earlier in a maiden special weight event for state-bred males, Boss E Boogs (Wladimir Rocha) held safe 4-5 favorite Allen Can Do It for a 37-1 shocker. A sophomore son of Limehouse trained by Joseph Stehr for owner-breeder Tabitha Brady, Boss E Boogs graduated at second asking by getting the 4 1/2 furlongs in 53.14 as a genuine longshot.
Then several races earlier in the Thursday opener, a one-turn allowance dash for state-bred fillies and mares, Peppa Starr (Antonio Lopez) easily forged a mild upset as the 3-1 second choice when she gained command at the break and romped home five lengths clear. A sophomore daughter of Fiber Sonde trained by Javier Contreras, Peppa Starr recorded her third victory in five career outings by getting the 4 1/2 furlongs in a rapid 51.40.