VIP TICKET - 05-01-21 - R07 - CT - Finish  002.jpg

V.I.P. Ticket (Gerald Almodovar) rallied from well off the pace and widest of all to capture the $75,000 Confucius Say Stakes for West Virginia-bred older males in 1:27.31 on Saturday night.

On the same evening in which novice and serious horse racing fans alike had already witnessed Medina Spirit capture the 147th edition of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Charles Town offered a pair of $75,000 stakes for West Virginia-breds, the Confucius Say for older males and the It’s Binn Too Long for state-bred three-year-old fillies over a resurfaced strip.

In the second of those two stakes last Saturday night, the $75,000 It’s Binn Too Long Stakes for three-year-old fillies, Door Buster (Denis Araujo) forged a 15-1 upset when she rallied from well off the pace and overhauled Shutupn’kissme (Wesley Ho) in the lane for a length score. A sophomore daughter of Speightster trained by Ollie Figgins III for owner Jay Reese, Door Buster notched her second straight score and more than doubled her career earnings to $80,000 from six lifetime tries by getting the 4 1/2-furlongs in 53.13.

“When she won here [on March 3] I told Jay I thought her next spot would be this stakes race,” said Figgins, perhaps best known locally as the conditioner of Grade I winner Dance to Bristol. “She had raced well in her career debut here last fall going one turn. We gave her a chance to be a good horse at Laurel and she raced well over there. But she’s going to stay with three-year-olds from now on and just state-breds, too.”

One race earlier in the $75,000 Confucius Say Stakes for state-bred older males traveling the two-turn distance of seven furlongs, V.I.P. Ticket (Gerald Almodovar) benefited from an early speed duel involving 2-5 favorite Penguin Power and James W. Casey homebreds Hero’s Man and Rush to the Castle then rallied widest of all in the lane to overhaul a gritty Mean Bean for a neck victory by getting the seven furlongs in 1:27.31, a modest time over the resurfaced strip.

A five-year-old Windsor Castle stallion trained by Jerry O’Dwyer for owner-breeder Dr. Alexandro Rubim Dias, V.I.P. Ticket recorded his first win in three starts this year and now owns a 7-4-11 slate and over $275,000 banked from 29 career outings. His victory in the Confucius Say was his sixth win in 10 local starts and second stakes tally, having prevailed last fall in the $50,000 A Huevo for state-bred older males going three turns.

“I thought there was a lot of speed in the race and when I saw those two horses go after [Penguin Power], I thought I had a pretty good chance,” said Almodovar. “I thought he finished up really well. He’s better going longer. He really wants to go three turns here.”

One race earlier in a two-turn allowance for state-bred males, Doctor McCoy (Antonio Lopez) notched his first win in five starts this year when he just outlasted the late bid of 4-5 favorite Freedom Rider (Arnaldo Bocachica) for a nose score. A four-year-old Charitable Man gelding trained by James W. Casey for owner-breeder James M. Casey, Doctor McCoy now owns a 2-6-1 slate and over $70,000 banked from 13 lifetime tries after getting the seven furlongs in 1:29.04 as the 3-1 second choice.

Just before the live card got underway at Charles Town, Medina Spirit forged a 12-1 upset in the 147th edition of the Kentucky Derby when he led throughout to edge 26-1 outsider Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie and favored Essential Quality. Trained by Bob Baffert of American Pharoah and Silver Charm fame among numerous others, Medina Spirit gained command soon after the break and led throughout for a determined, gritty neck score while getting the one-mile and one-quarter in 2:01.02 over a lightning fast track for his second win in five tries this year and third triumph in six career outings and now gives Baffert a chance to attain his third Triple Crown winner.

Then one night earlier in the penultimate race on the Wednesday card, a one-turn allowance for three-year-olds and up, Be Be Bop (Arnaldo Bocachica) lived up to his billing as the 4-5 favorite when he broke well to sit just off longshot leader Kukulkan early, overhauled that one turning for home then edged clear late under urging to a two-length score. A four-year-old Bobalicious gelding trained by Anthony Farrior for owner James Wolf, Be Be Bop remained unbeaten in five starts this year and now owns six wins from nine lifetime tries.

Three races earlier in a two-turn maiden special weight event for fillies and mares, Lightfoot Miss (Christian Hiraldo) easily lived up to her role as the 3-5 favorite when she drew off to a seven-length score. A sophomore daughter of Violence trained by Dale Capuano for owner Diane Manning, Lightfoot Miss graduated in style in her local debut after six previous outings at a trio of New York ovals by getting the seven panels in 1:29.32.

Then one race earlier in a two-turn allowance/optional $15,000 claiming event for older males, Rossie Val rallied from midpack for a 5-1 upset in his seasonal debut. A seven-year-old Fort Prado gelding trained by Crystal Pickett for owner FTF Racing LLC, Rossie Val notched his second straight score and now sports a 10-4-3 slate and nearly $200,000 after getting the seven furlongs in 1:27.42.

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