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At the races

Charles Town Dash struggles to draw

Charles Town Dash struggles to draw

July 16, 2006|by LARRY YANOS

For what is considered the "signature" race of the year, the $100,000 Charles Town Dash at Charles Town Races & Slots has been plagued with problems.

Two years ago, the 4 1/2 furlong July 4 event was cancelled when management and horsemen decided to trim the overall stakes schedule. This year, only three horses showed up for the seventh running of the race - considered to be the richest 4 1/2 furlong event in the country.

"We have to do something. I was extremely disappointed this year," Charles Town racing secretary Doug Lamp said. "My suggestion would be to make it a 7-furlong race for next year. The 4 1/2-furlong distance is just not suitable for most of the invitees.

"Trainers are cross-entering their horses and deciding days before the race to run somewhere else at a more suitable distance. In a stakes race, they can scratch up to 45 minutes before post time. They are going elsewhere, where their horses can run a more comfortable distance and still pick up a good paycheck."

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Lamp feels the distance and the presence of region standout Outcashem scared away the competition this year.

"I put 129 pounds on the horse and he still set a track record," Lamp said. "He's a fine race horse. He just toyed with the other two opponents."

Favoritism was a foregone conclusion as Outcashem ruled supreme at the windows going off at 1-5. He did not disappoint the crowd in attendance, romping to an easy victory under jockey Travis Dunkelberger in 50.20, eclipsing the race record of 50.36 by It's Only Money in 1999.

Dunkelberger closed the door on his competitors early, as the son of Mazel Trick broke alertly from the gate, coasted through speedy fractions and eased up at the wire.

The race for second was stirring as Blown Audit narrowly edged out Swissle Stick - the first horse trained by D. Wayne Lukas to run at Charles Town - for the place money.

Winning owner Robert Cole Jr. continues his masterful handling of his stable as evidenced by his national ranking. Trainer Scott Lake is first in the country in wins and currently is third in the Charles Town standings behind Ronney Brown and Jeff Runco.

ยท P. Kerney, one of the horses who did not run in the Charles Town Dash, won the $75,000-added Crying for More Stakes last Saturday at Charles Town.

Named for the legendary iron horse sprinter, who had more than 50 wins in his career, the 7-furlong feature totaled six participants.

The winning margin of a nose provided P. Kerney his second stakes score en route to a track record.

Claimed in January for $25,000, the son of Pleasant Tap has blossomed while demonstrating a radically improved turn-of-early foot.

Moving from the claiming ranks to elite stakes status, the Nancy Clark and Fred Heyman purchase has returned handsome dividends.

Breaking from the speed-favoring rail under jockey Joe Rocco, Jr., the 5-year-old gelding set fractions of 23, 45, and 1:09 and came home the best of millionaire, Cherokee's Boy in 123.29.

All contestants carried equal weights of 122 lbs.

P. Kerney returned $4.60 to win and combined with Cherokee's Boy for an $8.00 exacta.




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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