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Charles Town considers adding 11th race to cards

November 09, 2003|by LARRY YANOS

larryy@herald-mail.com

Management and horsemen at the Charles Town Races & Slots are considering adding an 11th race on the program for the remainder of the 2003 session.

"We're very much in favor of this but management still has some concerns," said Dick Watson, president of the Charles Town Division/Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. "The one added race will enable us to get 50 more horses on the racetrack each week. I think it will extrenely beneficial."

Charles Town management and horsemen used the 11-race format earlier in the year and Watson said it made a big difference.

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"We have so many horses stabled here, just waiting for an opportunity to compete," Watson said. "We'll certainly fill that 11th race. With tracks like Delaware Park, Fort Erie, Suffolk Downs and Finger Lakes closing for the winter, the horsemen are looking for a place for their horses to run. Charles Town, Mountaineer Park and Penn National are some choices for winter racing."

Watson says management and horsemen will have to pay a tax imposed by the state of West Virginia.

"Last year, the state imposed a $1,250 tax on any racetrack which ran more than 10 races," Watson said. "We introduced a bill last February to change that law but it was later incorporated with some others things and the governor vetoed it."

Watson says management and horsemen will split the costs of the imposed tax - $625 per night.

"Management is looking at that figure but, in the long run, adding an 11th race for the remainder of the year will be a great help," Watson said.

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Shake You Down, who finished third in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last month at Santa Anita Park, headlines the 26 pre-entries for next Saturday's Grade I $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park.

The signature race of the fall meet tops the Fall Festival of Racing card that features six added money races, including a pair of Grade III's (Laurel Futurity and Anne Arundel) and the $100,000 Selima Stakes.

Based at Laurel Park under the care of conditioner Luigi Gino for two years, the 5-year-old was claimed by Scott Lake for owner Robert Cole, a Howard County resident, in March for $65,000.

Now based at Lake's Belmont Park barn, Shake You Down has won six of eight - including three graded sprints this spring.

Last month in the $1,000,000 Breeders' Cup Sprint, the son of Montbrook was a game third as the 7-2 second choice after helping set record fractions.

He raced 13 times at the major Maryland tracks with four victories, all at Pimlico. Shake You Down raced twice at Laurel Park this winter, including a third-place finish at the distance.

Other pre-entries include two other horses who ran in the Breeders' Cup Sprint: Midas Eyes (eighth) from the Bobby Frankel barn, and Private Horde (ninth). Three horses who competed in last year's Dash also have been nominated: Deer Run (second), Outstander (fourth) and Boston Common (sixth). Other high profile horses nominated include Grade I winners Peeping Tom and Gygistar.

The Grade III $100,000 Laurel Futurity garnered 27 2-year-old colts and geldings on the pre-entry, while 20 3-year-old fillies were nominated to the Grade III $100,000 Anne Arundel Stakes.

There were 24 2-year-old fillies nominated to the historic $100,000 Selima Stakes, including multiple stakes winner Richetta, Grade II Astoria winner Spectacular Moon and Forest Music, whose victory at Laurel Park on Oct. 8 was the fastest debut by any horse in the 92-year history of the track.

The $75,000 Stefanita Stakes for fillies and mares produced 28 nominations, including Willa On The Move and Wilzada from the Tony Dutrow stable.

The $50,000 Hail Emperor Stakes was the most popular added money race on the card with 34 pre-entries, including Maryland Million Classic winner Docent, multiple stakes winners Toccet and Gimmeawink, plus a pair of horses who competed in Visa Triple Crown races: Thunder Blitz (fourth in the 2001 Kentucky Derby) and Magic Weisner (second in the 2002 Preakness Stakes).

The post position draw for the 10-race card will be Wednesday.

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Penn National has added a special Tuesday night live racing program Nov. 25. Post time will be at 7:25 p.m. and free admission will be offered on Nov. 25 and 26.

There will be no live program on Thanksgiving Day, but the racetrack will have a limited full-card simulcast schedule that morning and afternoon.

Live racing will resume after Nov. 28 at 7:25 p.m.

n The Board of Directors of the West Virginia Breeders Classics, Ltd. met this past week to review the 2003 event, which was held Oct. 11 at Charles Town.

The annual test is for West Virginia-bred or -sired horses.

n The Maryland Jockey Club and the South Atlantic Amateur Boxing Association will present "Boxing at the Park" on Nov. 29 at Laurel Park.

It is a United States Amateur Boxing Association-sanctioned event with Golden Glove tournament fighters competing in all weight classes.

Promoted by J. D. Brown, competing teams are expected from Baltimore and Washington, as well as Pennsylvania, Georgia and New York City.

The fists start flying at 1:15 p.m. in Laurel Park's Carriage Room. Boxing admission is $3 and includes a full afternoon of live thoroughbred racing action (first post 12:35 p.m.).

There will be a raffle of boxing and racing memorabilia to benefit the UMAR Boxing Club of Baltimore.

Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131 ext. 2311, or by e-mail at larryy@herald-mail.com

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