11/08/2012 2:17PM

Charles Town: Distance a factor in all three stakes on card

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Mike Montgomery
Downtown Allen will try 1 1/8 miles for the first time in Saturday night's My Sister Pearl Stakes.

The 5-year-old mare Down Town Allen and 3-year-old filly Rita Haywood, both coming off stakes wins on last month’s West Virginia Breeders’ Classic program, will test their stamina in Saturday night’s $50,000 My Sister Pearl Stakes at Charles Town.

The 1 1/8-mile My Sister Pearl, for West Virginia-breds, is part of a stakes tripleheader. The co-features are divisions of the Tri-State Futurity, one for fillies and the other for colts and geldings. Each division of the Futurity, which is open to West Virginia- and Maryland-breds drew eight 2-year-olds and will be worth $50,000.

Down Town Allen, coming off a 7 1/4-length victory in the $225,000 Cavada, will be stretching out to nine furlongs for the first time after winning 14 of 29 starts. She has put together a three-race winning streak since June at distances of 4  1/2 and seven furlongs.

Rita Haywood, a two-time stakes winner going seven furlongs this season, also will be making her first attempt at 1 1/8 miles while facing older fillies and mares for only the third time. She was beaten both times she faced fields that contained older allowance horses, although those attempts were against open company.

Two horses in the My Sister Pearl who have already displayed good form going nine furlongs are Runaway Brae and Hot Sauce, who were separated by 1 3/4 lengths as the second- and third-place finishers in the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic Distaff on Oct. 20.

The 4-year-old Runaway Brae was beaten by just a neck after setting the pace in her first try beyond seven furlongs.

The 5-year-old Hot Sauce, third in last year’s My Sister Pearl, won an overnight handicap going 1 1/8 miles two starts ago and had her chances compromised in the Distaff when she broke in the air coming out of the gate and got boxed in on the second turn of the three-turn race.

The eight-horse field also includes 15-time winner Silver Heart, who was second as the defending champion in last month’s Cavada. In her only two previous tries at nine furlongs, Silver Heart was a distant fourth as the 1-2 favorite in the 2010 My Sister Pearl and second as the 4-5 choice in last year’s running.

◗ The seven-furlong distance of the Tri-State Futurity is uncharted territory for 14 of the 16 2-year-olds in the two divisions (races 6 and 8).

In the filly division, the exception is the filly Touring Hong Kong, who was a good second going a mile in an overnight stakes at Delaware Park in August and a distant fifth in a 7  1/2-furlong turf stakes at Delaware.

The only other fillies who have raced around two turns are Queen’o’daball, who won a slow maiden event going 6 1/2 furlongs two starts ago and rallied from ninth to finish fourth, though beaten nine lengths, against males in the Vincent Moscarelli Memorial last month, and Golden Style, a close second in a 6  1/2-furlong maiden race Nov. 1.

In the Fairway looks like a standout in the male division after crusing to a 5 1/2-length victory in his first attempt going two turns in the 6 1/2-furlong Moscarelli. The Jeff Runco-trained In the Fairway has won three straight, all by 2 1/2 lengths or more.

The main threats to In the Fairway appear to be Cinderella’spalace, a maiden winner going 6 1/2 furlongs, and Maryland shipper Hanky Doodle, who rallied from far back to get second in his first try against winners in a first-level optional $40,000 claimer going 1 1/16 miles.

Dates for 2013 set

Charles Town was granted approval by the West Virginia Racing Commission to race 235 days in 2013, the same total as 2012.

Beginning Jan. 2, the track will race Tuesday through Saturday througth April, then switch to a Wednesday-through-Sunday schedule in May and June. Live racing will be held Thursday through Sunday in July and August, then revert to a Tuesday-through-Saturday race week from September until Dec. 28.