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Charles Town Dash attracts more interest

June 24, 2007|by LARRY YANOS

The Charles Town Dash, scheduled for Independence Day at Charles Town Races & Slots, has attracted 19 nominations.

"It's a race, by invitation, and eight horses will get firm invitations," Charles Town Racing Secretary Doug Lamp said when discussing the 7-furlong test which will carry a $100,000 purse. "Confucius Say (trained by George Yetsook) will be the top-weighted."

The others on the "priority" list include (trainer in parenthesis): Crafty Schemer (Benny Feliciano Jr.); Donald's Pride (Patty Burns); GrayNumberFive (Leah Gyarmati); Heart Throbbin' (King T. Leatherbury); Hi Time Scott (Bill Downing); P. Kerney (Michael Trombetta); and Wild Eyed Dreamer (Scott Lake).

"(It's) a very strong group of horses," Lamp said. "While the nominations have closed, the weights will be released on Wednesday. Other horses will be considered once decisions are made by the owners and trainers of the first eight selections."

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Although the competition is strong, Confucius Say is the class of the invitees.

The 9-year-old gelding shows career earnings of $651,357 and has 15 lifetime wins - including winning the featured race of Breeders Classic Night twice.

The West Virginia-bred Confucius Say won his last outing on May 20.

Another West Virginia-bred, Donald's Pride, has also been impressive.

The 7-year-old gelding is coming off a victory in the $50,000 Cortan Stakes at Charles Town on June 9 and sports $381,386 in lifetime earnings with 11 triumphs - all at Charles Town.

There are four Maryland-based thoroughbreds in the mix: Crafty Schemer, Heart Throbbin', P. Kerney and Wildeyed Dreamer.

P. Kerney holds the track record for 7 furlongs, covering the distance in 1:23.2. The 6-year-old gelding has 22 lifetime wins.

Previously, the Charles Town Dash had been a 4 1/2-furlong event with small fields. The 2007 edition is expected to draw a full field of 10 horses.

W.Va. Classics XXI

The West Virginia Breeders Classics XXI at Charles Town will move from the second weekend in October to the third weekend - Oct. 20 - and will be broadcast by ESPN2.

The West Virginia Breeders Classics consists of six races worth $100,000: The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Dash for Cash Breeders Classic, the West Virginia Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders Classic, the Triple Crown Nutrition Breeders Classic, the West Virginia "Onion Juice" Breeders Classic, the West Virginia Lottery Breeders Classic and the West Virginia Division of Tourism Breeders Classic.

The Jefferson Security Bank "Cavada" Breeders Classic is $350,000, and the feature event - the West Virginia Breeders Classic - is worth $500,000.

The weekend festivities include the Gala/Dinner Dance at the Clarion Hotel in Shepherdstown, W.Va., on Oct. 18, the celebrity golf tournament on Oct. 19 and the Breakfast of Champions on the morning of race day.

This event features National Football League Hall of Fame celebrities, and raises money for the Charles Town Race Track Chaplaincy as well as the United Way, 4-H Horse Clubs of West Virginia and the Donald MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund.

Pony tales

Jockey Travis Dunkelberger has returned to race-riding at Charles Town. He spent some time earlier this spring at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

While in Canada, he had 25 mounts with two wins, two seconds and two thirds. His mounts earned $22,000.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced the seven "NTRA Summer Racing - Powered by Dodge" shows, featuring 16 races, will air on the ESPN networks beginning Saturday.

The series will offer coverage from Hollywood Park, Belmont Park, Del Mar, Saratoga, Delaware Park and Mountaineer Park in the United States, and from The Curragh in Ireland. Nine of the 16 races are either Grade I or Group I contests.

Among the premier summer events to be shown are the Hollywood Gold Cup, the Suburban Handicap, the American Oaks Invitational, the Budweiser Irish Derby and the Travers Stakes.

The U.S. contests are important divisional races that help decide Eclipse Award winners. All of the races will help pinpoint Breeders' Cup World Championships contenders.

Saturday's schedule starts at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 and will include the Hollywood Gold Cup (live) and the American Handicap (taped) from Hollywood Park as well as the Suburban Handicap (taped) from Belmont Park.

The eight-week Pimlico spring meeting saw Luis Garcia, Scott Lake and Circle Z Stables winning individual titles, according to Mike Gathagan, vice president of communications for the Maryland Jockey Club.

Garcia won his first career title in Maryland in consistent fashion, winning 37 races - 10 more than Horacio Karamanos and Carlos Quinones.

The 22-year-old rider enjoyed 12 multi-victory days during the meet and won at least one race 24 times.

Lake saddled 17 winners to outlast Mark Shuman (13-for-39) in a tight finish in the trainer standings.

Lake, the nation's leading conditioner based on victories, has now won or shared 11 titles at the major Maryland tracks, including seven of the last eight meetings.

Circle Z Stables (Domenico Zannino, Joseph Masone and Shuman) won five races from 16 starters during the meet, with 11 in-the-money finishes, including a victory in the Tesio Stakes with promising 3-year-old Xchanger.

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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