Charles Town scrambling to make up missed racing

October 24, 2004|by LARRY YANOS

Management and horsemen at Charles Town Races & Slots are working out final details to make up the live racing days lost in August and September.

"We lost more than 100 races because the track was shut down due to the unsafe track conditions," Charles Town Director of Racing Richard "Dickie" Moore said. "We need to make them up."

It appears Charles Town will continue to run 12 live races during its weekly schedule Wednesday through Sunday, and add some Monday and Tuesday cards through the rest of 2004.

A final agreement between management and horsemen will be reached soon.

Maryland represented in Breeders' Cup

Maryland racing will be represented in Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, as Mr. O'Brien and Abbondanza will appear on the impressive card at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.


· Preakness-based Mr. O'Brien has been supplemented for the $1.5 million Grade I Breeders' Cup Mile. It will cost $135,000 to enter.

"Obviously, everyone wants to compete in the Breeders' Cup, but I feel Mr. O'Brien has a legitimate shot (to win) and that's a good reason to go," trainer Robin Graham said. "He was not nominated as a foal so that meant a supplemental fee to run."

Mr. O'Brien's effort in the Grade II Kelso Handicap earlier this month at Belmont Park convinced Graham and the ownership, Skeedattle II, that the 5-year-old gelding belonged in the big dance.

Mr. O'Brien has won five of his six turf tries this year, including a victory in the Grade II Argent Dixie on the Preakness undercard and a second-place finish in the Grade I United Nations at Monmouth Park in July.

In his other turf efforts this year, the son of Mukaddamah won the Henry Clark at Pimlico in May, was third in the Grade I Manhattan on the Belmont Stakes undercard and fifth in the Grade I Arlington Million.

"I took over his training last year, tried him a few times on the dirt, then switched him to the turf this year," Graham said. "He loves the turf and has turned into a monster. He's running incredibly well. He should like the Lone Star turf."

Jockey Eibar Coa, who rode Mr. O'Brien in the Kelso Stakes, will be in the irons.

"I had never used Coa before the Kelso but he rode a magnificent race," Graham said. "He was well prepared, rated the horse and made a winning move."

Graham said Mr. O'Brien loves the mile distance and likes to sit off the speed and kick in down the stretch to the finish line.

Graham, a conditioner for 11 years, currently has 23 horses in training.

· Pimlico-based Abbondanza has been pre-entered in the $1 million Grade I Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Abbondanza, owned by Germania Farms and trained by Tim Tullock, has finished in the money in 7 of 9 tries this year - including victories in the Hirsch Jacobs Stakes on the Preakness undercard and in the Gallant Bob, where he finished just off the Philadelphia Park track record.

Abbondanza also placed in the Grade II Riva Ridge and Grade II Bay Shore and has four wins at the 6-furlong distance.

"He's quick but the other 13 are quick also," Tullock said. "He was really impressive last time out at Philly, running a 1:08."

At Lone Star, the son of Alphabet Soup will be facing the likes of defending champion Cajun Beat, Speightstown, Kela and 2003 Grade II General George winner My Cousin Matt.

Three-year-olds have had success in the first 20 runnings of the Breeders' Cup Sprint with five wins and nine other in-the-money finishes.

"The competition will be tough but the racing surface shouldn't bother him," Tullock said of Abbandanza. "He has won on four different racetracks."

Coa will also get the mount on Abbandanza.

Abbondanza and Mr. O'Brien will leave Pimlico early this morning and will be shipped by van to New York, where the horses will catch a morning flight to Dallas.

Graham Motion, who trains at Fair Hill Training Center in Cecil County, Md., has three horses expected to run in the Breeders' Cup: Better Talk Now (turf); Film Maker (filly and mare turf) and Dance Away Capote (juvenile fillies).

Pony Tales

The West Virginia October Mixed Sale will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m.

"The sale will be conducted in the paddock at the Charles Town racetrack and will include over 50 horses," Sales Manager Dick Minard said. "It's a mixed sale and weanlings, yearlings, 2-year-olds in training, broodmares, horses of racing age (3-, 4- and 5-year-olds) and hunter/jumper prospects will be available."

For additional information, call 304-725-8026 or e-mail

· Led by defending Breeders' Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect, Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, Jockey Club Gold Cup and 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide and reigning Older Female Champion Azeri, 101 horses have been pre-entered for the 2004 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.

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