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At the Races

Charles Town stakes schedule underway

Charles Town stakes schedule underway

May 06, 2007|By LARRY YANOS

An impressive stakes schedule at Charles Town Races & Slots got under way Saturday with the running of the $50,000 West Virginia Distaff Stakes.

"There are a few more stakes this year than in 2006, and the overall value has also increased," said Charles Town racing secretary Doug Lamp.

Lamp cited two significant changes for 2007.

"Breeders Classics Day, which is the richest day of racing during the year, has been moved to Saturday, Oct. 20," Lamp said. "Also, our signature race on July 4 (the $100,000 Charles Town Dash) has been changed from 4 1/2 furlongs to 7 furlongs. We only drew three horses last year, despite the purse structure. The 7 furlongs should attract more horses."

Owners Day, sponsored by the Charles Town Division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, will be held on Aug. 5 and will feature four $50,000 Stakes.

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The West Virginia Breeders Classics prep races will be held on five days in September: The 21st and 22nd, and the 27th through the 29th.

"We had to adjust the prep race schedule this year to coincide with the Classics' date," Lamp said.

The Classics lineup will feature the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic and the $350,000 Jefferson Security Bank "Cavada" West Virginia Breeders Classic.

The undercard: The $100,000 Triple Crown Nutrition Breeders Classic; The $100,000 West Virginia Division of Toiuerism Breeders Classic; The $100,000 West Virginia Lottery Breeders Classic; The $100,000 Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Dash For Cash Breeders Classic; The $100,000 West Virginia "Onion Juice" Breeders Classic; and the $100,000 West Virginia Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders Classic.

The 39th running of the $100,000 Tri-State Futurity Stakes will be Nov. 10.

Servis' Derby interest

Trainer John Servis, who led Smarty Jones to wins in the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 2004, had an interest in Saturday's 133rd Kentucky Derby - the Charles Town native bought Hard Spun for owner Rick Porter and Fox Hill Farms.

Then last year, Porter and Servis broke up, with the owner giving his horses to several trainers. Larry Jones, a Kentuckian, got Hard Spun and raced him Saturday.

Servis earned his 1,000th career victory last Tuesday with a win at the Philadelphia Park in Bensalem, Pa.

Servis, who fell just shy of racing immortality when Smarty Jones was beaten at the Belmont Stakes, led Love For Pleasure to the winner's circle in the 10th race on his home track.

"It's a nice milestone that seemed like I'd never get to," Servis said.

Smarty Jones won the Preakness by 11 1/2 lengths and the Kentucky Derby by 2 3/4 lengths. The colt finished with an 8-1 record and was retired after losing in the Belmont.

Pony tales

The 24th Breeders' Cup - consisting of 11 races and $23 million in purses and awards - will be contested for the first time over two days on Oct. 26-27 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.

Ticket applications may be obtained by contacting Monmouth Park at 732-571-5582 or by e-mail at breederscup@njsea.com.

ยทMore than 20 racetracks and organizations in the United States and Canada will join Churchill Downs, Pimlico and Belmont Park to support the NTRA Charities' Barbaro Memorial Fund.

Kentucky Derby Day, Preakness Stakes Day (May 19 at Pimlico) and Belmont Stakes Day (June 9) have been established as national dates for the Fund, with participating racetracks and organizations holding fundraising initiatives during the Triple Crown, with the goal of raising $1 million.

The Barbaro Memorial Fund was created to raise awareness and money for equine health and safety research in the name of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, whose gallant struggle to overcome a catastrophic injury captivated horse enthusiasts around the world.

Money raised by the Barbaro Memorial Fund will support equine research projects, including those that focus on laminitis, the painful and often fatal hoof disease that plagued Barbaro for so much of his recuperative period following his injury in the 2006 Preakness.

Those wishing to make donations to the Barbaro Memorial Fund may do so at www.ridingwithbarbaro.org. For additional information, contact the NTRA at 1-800-792-6872.

Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He writes a weekly horse racing column 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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