DERBY DAY DREAMS - 05-21-21 - R07 - CT - Finish.jpg

Derby Day Dreams (Jerry Villegas) captured a one-turn allowance dash last Friday night at Charles Town for trainer Donald Barber and owner-breeder Donna Jean Swaim.

While many Americans are already making plans for Memorial Day weekend later this month as the country gradually returns to some sense of normalcy, Charles Town owners, trainers and race goers were quick to realize that the three nights of live racing at the local oval offered an equal blend of the predictable and puzzling.

In the featured race on the Saturday night card, an open two-turn allowance for fillies and mares, Moma Tiger (Darius Thorpe) rallied from just off the pace and along the fence through the lane to edge favored Stowe White and longshot Complete Surprise in a three-way thriller. A Florida-bred, four-year-old daughter of Smiling Tiger trained by Flint Stites, Moma Tiger now owns a 2-3-1 slate and over $60,000 banked from seven starts after getting the seven panels in 1:27.86 as the 2-1 second choice.

Two races earlier in a two-turn maiden special weight event for state-bred three-year-old fillies, Elianagrace (Ramon Maldonado) rallied from well off the pace with a long, sustained bid to overhaul Moonlit Shadow and draw clear late to a three-length score. A sophomore daughter of Malibu Moon trained by Kevin Joy for owner-breeder James F. Miller, Elianagrace garnered her diploma in her second attempt by getting the 6 1/2-furlongs in 1:22.70 as an overlooked 9-2 chance.

Then several races earlier in a one-turn allowance for state-bred fillies and mares, Gandhi’s Castle easily lived up to her role as the 1-5 favorite when she gained command soon after the break and led throughout en route to a five-length score. A four-year-old daughter of Gandhi trained by Kevin Patterson for owner Robert Cole, Jr., Gandhi’s Castle recorded her third straight victory, fourth win in six seasonal outings and now sports a 6-1-3 slate and just over $100,000 banked from 21 career tries after getting the 4 1/2-furlongs in 52.73.

One night earlier in the penultimate race on the Friday card, Derby Day Dreams (Jerry Villegas) posted a 9-1 upset when he displayed early speed and late grit for a neck victory. A four-year-old Fiber Sonde gelding trained by Donald Barber for owner-breeder Donna Jean Swaim, Derby Day Dreams recorded his first win in five starts this year and his second tally from nine lifetime tries by getting the 4 1/2-furlongs in 52.70 at a generous price.

Several races earlier in a two-turn allowance/optional $15,000 claiming event for state-bred older males, William and Mary ended a 20-month drought in style when he led throughout as the 2-1 second choice for a six-length score over even-money favorite Cayenne Creek. A six-year-old Windsor Castle gelding owned, bred and trained by James W. Casey, William and Mary recorded his first win in four starts this year and now owns a 9-1-5 slate and over $235,000 banked from 24 career tries after getting the 6 1/2-furlongs in 1:20.14.

One night earlier in the penultimate race on the Thursday card, a two-turn allowance for state-bred males, No Change (Denis Araujo) rallied from just off the pace to nail favored Remys Showtime for a 14-1 surprise. A sophomore son of Fiber Sonde owned, bred and trained by John McKee, No Change recorded his first win in four starts this year and second tally in six lifetime tries by getting the 6 1/2-furlongs in 1:21.14.

Two races earlier in a one-turn allowance for state-bred fillies and mares, Got Your Number (Jose Montano) just lived up to her billing as the 1-2 choice when she led throughout to post a neck tally over 41-1 outsider Juba Train. A three-year-old daughter of Jump Start trained by Crystal Pickett for owner Jill Daniel, Got Your Number recorded her first win in two starts this year and second triumph in six career tries by getting the 4 1/2-furlongs in 53.76 as the odds-on choice three weeks after running third in the $75,000 It’s Binn Too Long Stakes behind the razor sharp Door Buster.

Then one race prior in a two-turn allowance/optional $25,000 claiming event for fillies and mares, Azzurra (Denia Araujo) rallied from well off the pace to overhaul pacesetter My Lovely Girl in the lane for a 6-1 upset. A five-year-old Capo Bastone mare trained by Mark Shanley for owner Jeanine Cumiskey, Azzurra notched her fourth straight score and fifth win from seven tries this year and now owns an 8-4-5 slate and over $150,000 banked from 30 career outings after getting the 6 1/2-furlongs two lengths clear in 1:20.33.

One race earllier in a two-turn maiden special weight event, Rhythm Tree (Victor Rodriguez) overcame a lengthy layoff to forge a mild 9-5 upset in the scratch-shortened field of four distaffers. A sophomore daughter of Tapiture trained by Roy Boyd for owner Teresa Major, Rhythm Tree outlasted the late surge of 4-5 favorite Kinky Frolic for a neck victory to prevail in her belated seasonal debut and garner her diploma in her eighth lifetime try by getting the 6 1/2-furlongs in 1:21.98.

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