05/17/2012 11:51AM

Charles Town: Russell Road shortens up in It’s Only Money Stakes

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The millionaire Russell Road will shorten up to 4 1/2 furlongs for only the second time in his long career when he faces six other West Virginia-bred sprinters in the $50,000 It’s Only Money Stakes at Charles Town.

The 6-year-old Russell Road, who is 20 for 33 lifetime, is more comfortable with his off-the-pace style going seven furlongs, the distance at which he scored by 4 1/2 lengths in his 2012 debut in the April 14 Confucius Say. But he did win last year’s running of the It’s Only Money as a follow up to his 2011 win in the Confucius Say.

“He’s probably at his best going 6 1/2 or seven furlongs, but he’s gone 4 1/2 once before and won,” trainer James W. Casey said. “He’s got a pretty good turn of foot and he’ll be tough in there on Saturday night.”

Based on Beyer Speed Figures, there’s no one else nearly as fast as Russell Road, who has posted Beyers between 86 and 90 in six of his nine starts over the past two seasons. In comparison, the best number any of his rivals has recorded during that time span is the 79 Speedy Sammy earned for a win back in March 2011. Speedy Sammy comes into the It’s Only Money off back-to-back scores at the distance, with Beyers of 75 and 70. He was beaten 9 1/4 lengths by Russell Road in last year’s It’s Only Money.