06/28/2012 12:18PM

Charles Town: Majestic City tries dirt in Red Legend Stakes

Justin N. Lane
Majestic City will try dirt for the first time in the Red Legend.

Two horses who have raced exclusively on synthetic surfaces and turf, along with another whose only two races this season produced good victories on synthetic surfaces, will attempt to transfer their form to dirt around two turns of Charles Town’s bullring in Saturday night’s Red Legend Stakes for 3-year-olds.

The $400,000 Red Legend at seven furlongs highlights the West Virginia track’s fifth annual Sprint Festival that features six stakes on an 11-race card with a special starting time of 6 p.m. Eastern.

Second in value only to the $500,000 King’s Bishop at Saratoga among stakes restricted to 3-year-olds at less than one mile, the Red Legend lost its glamour name when the connections of last year’s champion 2-year-old Hansen elected to ship to Prairie Meadows for Saturday’s Iowa Derby. The absence of Hansen, who was listed as the 7-5 favorite on Charles Town’s early morning line, leaves the favorite’s role up for grabs among the California-based Majestic City, the Todd Pletcher-trained Doctor Chit, and Kentucky shipper Sum of the Parts. All three, however, are unproven racing at the stakes level on dirt.

Of the trio, Majestic City owns the best credentials. As part of a three-race winning streak to begin his career, Majestic City won the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship and was a close second in a pair of Grade 1 stakes, the Del Mar Futurity and the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. In his lone start this year, Majestic City was third of five sprinting six furlongs on turf.

Trainer Peter Miller said he’s confident Majestic City can handle dirt, based on his 3-for-4 record over Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track, the synthetic surface that most closely resembles dirt.

“He trains over the Cushion Track at Hollywood and gets over it very well,” Miller said. “That surface is a lot like regular dirt, so I don’t think it’s going to be an issue.”

Sum of the Parts won his career debut sprinting on the main track at Churchill Downs, where he was sixth in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint. This season, he romped in an entry-level allowance on Keeneland’s Polytrack and scored a neck victory in the Tom Ridge over the Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs.

Trainer Tom Amoss, who elected to point to the Red Legend rather than the upcoming Summit of Speed at Calder, said it’s hard to tell how Sum of the Parts will react returning to dirt.

“Looking at the past performances, that’s the $400,000 question,” Amoss said. “You never know how he will take to the dirt, but my gut feeling is that he will run well and the surface won’t matter.”

Doctor Chit also is 2 for 2 this year on Polytrack, winning his maiden at Keeneland and beating first-level allowance runners at Woodbine. He has trained well over dirt on the training track at Saratoga, including a five-furlong bullet June 17.

The nine-horse field also includes Il Villano, third in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens last time out; Innocent Man, who adds blinkers after stopping in his first attempt going two turns; and Flashy Dresser, winner of the seven-furlong Robert Hilton Memorial at Charles Town on April 14.