Dunkelberger has day to remember in West Virginia Derby

August 21, 2005|By LARRY YANOS

There's something about the Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort that Charles Town-based jockey Travis Dunkelberger finds very appealing.

"I don't ride here much, maybe a few times a year, but I generally do well," the 28-year-old Dunkelberger said last Sunday afternoon after winning two races on the impressive West Virginia Derby card.

Since returning from a broken collarbone in January, Dunkelberger has enjoyed an outstanding campaign.

He leads the Charles Town jockey standings during the current meet - 48 winners from 180 mounts through last Thursday - and added to his year-long success last Sunday by winning two $85,000 races.

Dunkelberger won the 4 1/2-furlong, $85,000 West Virginia Chairman's Cup aboard Outcashem (returning $8.40) and came back to take the 6-furlong, $85,000 Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes aboard Crafty Tricker ($18.20).


"He's the real deal," Dunkelberger smiled when discussing Outcashem. "He can go to the front or come off the pace. I had a real nice race horse."

Trained by nationally acclaimed Scott Lake, the 4-year-old gelding has won six straight starts and shows career earnings of more than $200,000.

Dunkelberger has ridden Outcashem in the horse's last three trips to the starting gate. It was his first riding assignment on Crafty Tricker.

"I've had a good year," Dunkelberger said. "I'm doing better at Charles Town because I'm riding more consistent there. I used to ride in Maryland during the day and Charles Town at night. I'm not doing that as much this year."

Ageless Amonte

Thanks to jockey Frank Amonte Sr., retired Charles Town-based rider Willie Clark is no longer in the thoroughbred horse racing record book.

Earlier this month at Suffolk Downs in Boston, Amonte - at age 69 and 11 months - became the oldest rider in recorded American racing history to win a thoroughbred race. He broke the mark set by Clark in 1991 at Charles Town. Clark was also 69 at the time, but a few months younger than Amonte.

Amonte was born Sept. 5, 1935 and is the oldest current member of the Jockeys' Guild.

The veteran jockey rode Evas Boy to a convincing 8 3/4-lengths win over six rivals in a maiden claiming race for 3-year-olds and up on Aug. 10.

Amonte plans to ride at the Northampton Fair in September, where he will have the opportunity to become the first U.S. jockey in recorded history to win a race at age 70.

Guidry has reason to be giddy

If you're a Mark Guidry fan, Mountaineer Race Track was the place to be last Sunday afternoon.

Real Dandy, with the veteran jockey aboard, won the $750,000 West Virginia Derby, beating Magna Graduate and jockey Gary Stevens by more than a length.

Guidry not only won the prestigious Derby, but also recorded triumphs aboard Wild Tale ($39.20) and M B Sea ($7.00) and finished second aboard Cloudy's Knight.

Wild Take competed in the $125,000 Harvey Arneault Breeders' Cup Memorial Stakes; M B Sea competed in the $125,000 West Virginia Governor's Stakes; and Cloudy's Knight competed in the $85,000 West Virginia House of Delegates "Speakers Cup."

The purses for the nine-race (all stakes) card at Mountaineer Race Track totaled $1.55 million - a single-day record for any West Virginia racetrack.

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

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