01/21/2012 11:36AM

Charles Town: Past stakes winners try to get back on track


Tup Take’ Please and Philly Bound, a pair of stakes winners in 2011 who encountered less than smooth sailing in their season debuts two weeks ago, return at a slightly longer distance for Tuesday night’s featured eighth race at Charles Town.

The 6 1/2-furlong two-turn race is open to horses who have not won an allowance or stakes since Sept. 24, nonwinners of four races lifetime, and $20,000 claimers.

Tup Take’ Please had a solid season in 2011 for owner-trainer Carlos McDaniel, winning 5 of 11 starts, including the seven-furlong Frank Gall for West Virginia-breds in August. Cutting back from 1 1/8 miles to 4 1/2 furlongs on Jan. 10, the 6-year-old Tup Take’ Please acted up prior to being loaded into the starting gate and showed neither any speed nor any closing punch while finishing fifth of six.

He should appreciate the longer distance of Tuesday’s race, based on his 4-for-6 lifetime record at related distances. Last season, Tup Take’ Please recorded four of his five wins at either 6 1/2 or seven furlongs.

Penn National shipper Philly Bound got bumped around at the start of the same ultra-short sprint on Jan. 10 that Tup Take’ Please exits. He never got seriously involved in the running and wound up last, a quarter-length behind Tup Take’ Please. Winner of the six-furlong Nepal for Pennsylvania-breds last October, Philly Bound gets a key rider switch to the Penn National-based Dana Whitney. In his two tries beyond six furlongs last season, Philly Bound picked up a pair of third-place finishes.

Despite the presence of two stakes winners in the seven-horse field, the 7-year-old Malibu Kid will likely go off favored. Based in Maryland with high-percentage trainer Rodney Jenkins, Malibu Kid has been no worse than second in all seven of his previous races at Charles Town, including a win in a second-level optional $25,000 claimer in mid-November.

In his first start of 2012, Malibu Kid finished a distant third as the 7-5 favorite going seven furlongs in an optional $40,000 claimer at Laurel Park.

New York invader Whateverittakes merits respect, based on trainer Hugh McMahon’s record first time off the claim. The past two years, McMahon has gone 12 for 40 (30 percent) with horses claimed last time out returning after a break of 31 to 60 days. The 5-year-old Whateverittakes cuts back in distance following a distant third-place finish going a mile and 70 yards for a $15,000 tag on Dec. 18.