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Charles Town: Many ways to sort out a compeitive group
By Joe DeVivo
Four of the six horses entered in Tuesday night’s $29,000 allowance feature at Charles Town last raced 4 1/2 furlongs on the West Virginia track’s March 13 card. Of that group, Just Fuhr Real was the only one to figure in the exacta when he got up by a neck.
But if you believe in Beyer Speed Figures, Just Fuhr Real not only did not run as fast as the horses who finished 3-4-5 three races later on that same evening, he’s also the slowest horse in Tuesday’s field going 4 1/2 furlongs in a second-level allowance also open to nonwinners of four lifetime.
Just Fuhr Real earned a modest 66 Beyer for outfighting Timber Thunder, whose career record is 1 for 7.
In contrast, Top Hawker, beaten 2 1/4 lengths as the third-place finisher in a tougher allowance on that same program, got an 81 Beyer. The two horses who finished ahead of Top Hawker – Fearsome and Yukon Wildcat – are a combined 10 for 35.
Fourth-place Flattering Andy (77 Beyer), 1 1/4 lengths behind Top Hawker and 2 1/2 lengths clear of fifth-place Smokin P K (68) both also registered better last-race Beyers than Just Fuhr Real.
For those who place more emphasis on the power of trainer statistics than Beyer Figures, then the remaining two entrants, Unlimited Spirit along with Salt and Light, offer more intriguing options.
The 4-year-old Unlimited Spirit ships in from Maryland following back-to-back runner-up finishes against mid-range claiming company that produced Beyers of 78 and 81. He has been in front, or within a head of the lead, at the half-mile call of each of his last six starts dating back to August.
What really makes Unlimited Spirit stand out from the pack, however, is trainer Hugh McMahon’s record shipping to Charles Town with horses who have run within the past 30 days. McMahon has gone 17 for his last 49 (35 percent) in that category.
The stats are also potent, although from a much smaller sampling, for Salt and Light’s trainer, Debra Ketterman. She claimed the 4-year-old Salt and Light out of a fourth-place finish on March 30. Ketterman has claimed just six horses the past five years, but she has won with three of them making their first start for her, including a 2-for-2 mark with those who ran back within 30 days of the claim. Salt and Light’s most recent win came in an allowance in January.
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