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Charles Town announces juicy stakes schedule

April 30, 2006|By Larry Yanos

Charles Town director of racing Dickie Moore is impressed with the 2006 stakes schedule at the West Virginia thoroughbred oval.

"It's the best I've seen in terms of value and quality since I've been here," Moore said. "Representatives from management and the (Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Assocation) did a fantastic job in putting it together. It's a very nice package, one the fans should really appreciate."

The stakes schedule gets under way Saturday with the running of the $50,000-added West Virginia Distaff Stakes for fillies and mares 3-year-olds-and-upwards going 4 furlongs.

"Preference will be given to starts at Charles Town in the last four starts," Charles Town racing secretary Doug Lamp said. "The overall 2006 stakes schedule includes many races with similar conditions."

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The stakes schedule will again be highlighted by West Virginia Breeders' Classics Day on Oct. 14 when the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic and the $350,000 Jefferson Security Bank "Cavada" West Virginia Breeders Classic will be run.

The schedule also includes seven races valued at $100,000 (six on Breeders Classics Day), three races valued at $75,000 and 38 more valued at $50,000.

"All of the purse money is generated from the general horsemens fund," Lamp said. "The figure in the account is a little over $5 million."

In addition to the West Virginia Breeders Classics Day, the annual Owners Day on Aug. 6 and the return of the $100,000 Charles Town Dash on July 4 highlight the schedule.

"The July 4 race will be at 4 furlongs, while Owners Day will feature a variety of races, including four $40,000 stakes races," Lamp said.

The racing secretary and HBPA/Charles Town Division president Randy Funkhouser were mainly responsible for putting the stakes package together - with the approval of both management and horsemen.

Sweet anticipation

Maryland-based Sweetnorthernsaint was scheduled for a workout Saturday morning at Churchill Downs in preparation for next week's Kentucky Derby.

Trained by Mike Trombetta, the gelding Sweetnorthernsaint clinched his ticket to the Kentucky Derby with a dominating victory in the Illinois Derby on April 8. In doing so, he earned his fourth consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure.

Since arriving in the Trombetta barn last fall, the son of Sweetsouthernsaint has crossed the finish line first four times in five starts, but was disqualified from a victory at Laurel Park on Dec. 21, 2005, because of a gate incident.

This year, he broke his maiden at Aqueduct on Jan. 7, won the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel in impressive fashion a month later and finished a solid third in the Grade III Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 18 prior to his performance at Hawthorne.

California-based jockey Kent Desormeaux will ride Sweetnothernsaint in the Run for the Roses.

Pony tales

The prestigious Virginia Gold Cup, a steeplechase event, will be held Saturday at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia.

The first race gets under way at 1 p.m. For additional information, call 540-347-2612 or visit the Web site at www.vagoldcup.com.

Cherokee's Boy, who was honored recently as the 2005 Maryland-bred of the year, is expected to make his 7-year old debut May 7 at Pimlico in a $42,000 optional allowance claimer according to Foard Wilgis, who co-owns the horse with fellow Baltimore native Dave Picarello.

The son of Citidancer has won 16 of 40 lifetime starts and has collected a check 39 times, failing to do so only in the 2003 Preakness Stakes, when he finished eighth.

The Gary Capuano- trainee currently ranks 16th on the all-time money list of Maryland-breds with $969,886. A victory on May 7 would boost his earnings to $993,256.

Fifteen Maryland-breds have earned at least $1 million in their careers - topped by Cigar, who won $9,999,815, the most in thoroughbred history.

Cherokee's Boy returned to his Bowie Training Center home after wintering in Florida.

The 21st running of the Maryland Million is scheduled for Oct. 14 at Laurel Park.

Introduced in 1986, the Maryland Million - a program of races for the offspring of Maryland-based stallions only - has been duplicated by 20 other thoroughbred jurisdictions. The 12-race program will feature purses of $1.5 million, making it the second biggest day on the state racing calendar, trailing only Preakness Day.

Hall of Fame television broadcaster Jim McKay originally proposed the Maryland Million concept and remains chairman of the board.

Maryland-sired thoroughbreds are nominated before they become 2-year-olds and remain eligible for life to run in the Maryland Million races.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced that Beulah Park in Grove City, Ohio, has become a member of the NTRA.

"Increased membership has an extremely positive impact on our programs, our industry and the fans," said D.G. Van Clief, Jr., Commissioner of the NTRA. "We're happy to have Beulah Park as an active member, and we look forward to working with its staff in the future."

Beulah Park was founded in 1923.




Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He covers hose 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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