By Ted Black
Speicial to the Spirit
While on-site spectators were still on hold last weekend for the track’s trio of live cards, Charles Town offered plenty of competitive overnight events last week as fans planned their return to the oval beginning with tomorrow night’s program.
In last Friday’s feature, V.I.P. Ticket rallied from well off the pace and then widest of all in the lane to edge Jeff Runco trainees Boaster and Opera Nite for a nose victory in a two-turn allowance for older males. A Maryland-bred son of Windsor Castle trained by Jerry O’Dwyer, V.I.P. Ticket closed willingly in the lane to notch his first win from three starts this year and now boasts a 5-2-6 slate and over $150,000 banked from 19 career outings after getting the 6 1/2-furlongs in 1:19.52 as one of two co favorites at 2-1 in the field.
Several races earlier in a one-turn allowance race for state-bred three-year-old males, Mywalktofreedom gained command soon after the break and led throughout to prevail by four lengths as the 9-2 fourth choice. A sophomore son of Fiber Sonde trained by John McKee for owner-breeder Cynthia O’Bannon, Mywalktofreedom notched his first win in two starts this year and now owns two wins from four career outings after getting the 4 1/2-furlongs in 51.87.
Last Thursday in the penultimate race on the card, a one-turn allowance dash for state-bred fillies and mares, Good Karma just lived up to her role as the tepid 5-2 favorite when she sat just off the leaders on the far turn then split rivals to gain command inside the eighth pole and just outlasted the late bid of 50-1 outsider Diamond Train for a neck score. The sophomore daughter of Windsor Castle owned, bred and trained by Ronney Brown notched her second win from four starts after getting the 4 1/2-furlongs in 53.51.
Then one race earlier in another one-turn allowance event for fillies and mares, Blip Says Bye recorded her second straight win over the strip when she shook off One Fat Kat early then held safe the late bid of Nice n’Broad for a two-length score. A four-year-old daughter of Fed Biz trained by Tim Grams for owner E.H. Lane III, Blip Says Bye has won both of her local starts since she arrived from Oaklawn Park after getting the 4 1/2-furlongs in 52.30 as the 8-5 choice.
One race earlier in a one-turn starter allowance event for older, hard-hitting former claimers, Strong Like Bull forged a mild 9-2 upset when he overhauled 6-5 favorite Phonemyposseagain in the lane. An eight-year-old Benny The Bull gelding trained by Jeff Runco for the Rockingham Ranch, Strong Like Bull notched his first win from three starts this year and now sports 10 wins and nearly $160,000 banked after getting the 4 1/2-furlongs in 52.40.
CharlesTown announced last week that the Grade II, $600,000 Charles Town Classic for older horses and the Grade III, $200,000 Charles Town Oaks for three-year-old fillies will now both be contested on Friday, August 28. The Classic was postponed from its original date in April by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the Oaks is actually being run three weeks earlier than normal. It will mark the first time in its nearly 100-year history that Charles Town will offer two graded stakes on the same card.
Last Saturday afternoon Belmont Park hosted the latest edition of the Belmont Stakes for three-year-olds, although the diluted version of this year’s event kicked off the Triple Crown series rather than capped it. The race was also condensed from one-mile and one-half to a one-turn one-mile and one-eighth event and its historical significance will likely get denoted with an asterisk in subsequent years.
Nevertheless, New York-bred Tiz The Law easily lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite in the Belmont when he bided his time in third down the backside then swept to command at the head of the lane and drew clear to a four-length score over Dr. Post by getting the nine furlongs in a sharp 1:46.53. Trained by Barclay Tagg for the Sackatoga Stable - same connections of Funny Cide - Tiz The Law cemented his status as the top three-year-old in the land although he will now have to wait 10 weeks before seeking success in the Kentucky Derby.