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Confucius Say a heavy favorite

July 01, 2007|By LARRY YANOS

As expected, Confucius Say is the top weighted horse at 125 pounds for the eighth annual Charles Town Dash.

The 7-furlong, $100,000 race is set for Wednesday at the Charles Town Races & Slots.

Charles Town Racing Secretary Doug Lamp says 19 horses were invited to the race and nine were entered on Friday.

"This will be the finest race we've had here at Charles Town," Lamp said. "It's a quality field and it will be interesting to see who can grab the early lead. There are some real speed-burners in there. They will burn the first half mile."

The other high weights included: P. Kerney, 124 pounds; Crafty Schemer, 123; Donald's Pride, 122; and Wildeyed Dreamer, 120. All of those horses have been entered.

The remainder of the lineup: Forest Park, Coined for Success, Heart Throbbin' and Graynumberfive.

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

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

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.

The Charles Town Dash once had been a 4 1/2-furlong event with small fields. The 2007 edition will be more of a bettors' race.

"We only had three horses last year and that was the reason management and horsemen decided to change it from a 4 1/2 furlong to a 7-furlong race," Lamp said. "It should be a good race."

Trainer Yetsook thinks Confucius Say will be a strong contender Wednesday - despite the weight assignment.

"I was a little surprised he was high-weighted, but it is what it is and we'll accept that," Yetsook said. "He has never carried that much weight but he's a big, strong horse and I think things will be OK."

Confucius Say will break from the No. 5 post position.

"It's a perfect spot, he can control the race from there," Yetsook said. "He looks fabulous, he's the best-prepared he's ever been. Everything is right on schedule as far as the training is concerned."

While P. Kerney holds the track record, Yetsook says there are others in the $100,000 race very capable of reaching the winner's circle.

Pony tales

·Post time for Wednesday's Independence Day card at Charles Town will be 1 p.m. instead of the normal 7:15 start time.

The current Wednesday-through-Sunday live racing schedule will continue through September.

·ESPN has announced the nominees for its 15th annual ESPY Awards telecast, which will air July 15.

In addition to the four jockeys - Robby Albarado, Calvin Borel, Frankie Dettori and John Velazquez - named as finalists for the Best Jockey award, the 2007 Preakness Stakes - in which Curlin prevailed in a stretch duel over Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, was named as a finalist in the Best Finish category.

The competitors for Best Finish honors are the 2007 Fiesta Bowl in which Boise State defeated Oklahoma on a two-point conversion in overtime; the Sept. 18, 2006, Dodgers-Padres game in which the Dodgers tied the game in the bottom of the ninth inning on four consecutive home runs; the 2007 Division II Men's Basketball championship game that saw Barton stage a furious rally to defeat Winona State in the closing seconds; and the 2007 Daytona 500 in which Kevin Harvick bested Mark Martin at the finish line.

·Invasor, the 2006 Horse of the Year, has been retired due to a cracked sesamoid bone in his right hind leg.

The injury was detected following a workout at Belmont Park last week in which Invasor worked 5 furlongs in :59 2/5. The injury is not life threatening, and Invasor will retire to stud at Shadwell Farm in Lexington, Ky.

Invasor won the Breeders' Cup Classic last year at Churchill Downs en route to 2006 Horse of the Year honors. He won two races in as many starts in 2007- taking the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park in February and the Dubai World Cup at Nad al Sheba in March.

·Stevie Wonderboy, the champion 2-year-old male of 2005, has been retired to stud in Kentucky after failing to recover from injuries that have plagued him since early 2006.

Stevie Wonderboy will stand at Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky., in 2008, according to a statement on the farm's Web site.

Owned by Merv Griffin, Stevie Wonderboy won 3 of 6 starts and $1,058,940 in a career highlighted by a title-clinching win in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Belmont Park in October 2005. During that season, Stevie Wonderboy also won the Del Mar Futurity.

Stevie Wonderboy made one start as a 3-year-old, finishing second in the Grade 2 San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita in January 2006. He was found to have a hairline fracture of the right front cannon bone that February, an injury that required the insertion of two stabilizing screws.

After attempting a comeback, Stevie Wonderboy suffered a further setback, undergoing surgery last November to have a bone chip removed from an ankle.

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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