10/18/2012 1:30PM

Charles Town: Silver Heart vs. Down Town Allen in Cavada Breeders' Classic

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Mike Montgomery Photo
Silver Heart will try to defend her title in the Cavada Breeders' Classic on Saturday at Charles Town.

Down Town Allen has run much faster than Silver Heart in their two most recent races. When the big money has been on the line, however, Silver Heart has proven far more reliable than Down Town Allen.

That should make it difficult to choose between defending champion Silver Heart and sharp challenger Down Town Allen in the $250,000 Cavada, the premier event for fillies and mares on Saturday night’s West Virginia Breeders’ Classics program for West Virginia-breds at Charles Town. The card is topped by the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders’ Classic for 3-year-olds and up.

A year ago, Silver Heart, based in Maryland with trainer Gary Capuano, rallied from last, 14 lengths off the pace, to win the seven-furlong Cavada by a length as the 4-5 favorite. Now 7, Silver Heart finished third in 2010 and fifth in 2009 in her previous tries in the Cavada.

The 5-year-old Down Town Allen, who won the Triple Crown Nutrition on the West Virginia Breeders’ Classics card as a 2-year-old, flashed early speed in the last two editions of the Cavada, only to fade in the stretch to wind up sixth last year and fifth in 2010.

Down Town Allen comes into Saturday’s race as a fresh mare. She has been given more than two months off since winning back-to-back stakes locally during June and August with solid Beyer Speed Figures of 84 and 82. In contrast, Silver Heart’s last two outings, a runner-up finish in the Maryland Million Distaff Handicap and a win in an overnight handicap at Charles Town, produced modest Beyers of 58 and 61. Her 2011 winning figure for the Cavada was a 66.

In their only head-to-head matchup since last fall, Down Town Allen defeated Silver Heart by 2 1/4 lengths in the seven-furlong Sadie Hawkins on Aug. 11.

One thing in Silver Heart’s favor is her ability to adapt to the race flow.

“She is pretty versatile,” Capuano said. “If there is a lot of speed, she can come off of the pace. If she needs to be closer she can be there too. We will see how it plays up. Hopefully she gets a good position and breaks good, and she’ll put herself in the race.”

In the seven other undercard stakes, each worth $85,000:

◗ Hot Sauce, second a year ago and fresh from a win going 1 1/8 miles in an overnight handicap, is the logical choice in the nine-furlong Distaff for fillies and mares.

◗ Paco Smart, who dominated the Vincent Moscarelli for 2-year-olds on last fall’s Breeders’ Classic program and defeated open company two starts ago, returns to the statebred ranks to face eight other 3-year-olds going seven furlongs in the West Virginia Lottery.

◗ In the 4 1/2-furlong Dash for Cash, the 7-year-old Henry the Lover, winner of the 2010 Onion Juice, merits respect after he was beaten 2 3/4 lengths by open company in the $100,000 West Virginia Chairman’s Cup at Mountaineer in August last time out.

◗ In the Fairway, a winner by a combined six lengths in his two most recent starts, looks dangerous in the 6 1/2-furlong Vincent Moscarelli for 2-year-olds.

◗ Severn Shore upset 2-5 favorite Rita Haywood in an overnight handicap a month ago, and she will try to prove that result was no fluke when the two 3-year-old fillies are rematched in the seven-furlong West Virginia Division of Tourism.

◗ Golden Set, easy winner of last fall’s West Virginia Lottery for 3-year-olds, faces defending champion Pagan Cat, who pulled off a 19-1 upset in 2011, in the seven-furlong Onion Juice for older horses.

◗ Jax and Jill, a dominant winner in all three of her starts, will be heavily favored in the 4 1/2-furlong Triple Crown Nutrition for 2-year-old fillies.