02/05/2011 2:00PM

Financial Crisis a question in Snowflake Handicap at Charles Town


If the 4-year-old filly Financial Crisis can duplicate her most recent race, in which she romped by 10 lengths while earning a 100 Beyer Speed Figure, the rest of the field will be chasing her home in Tuesday night’s seven-furlong, $35,000 Snowflake Handicap at Charles Town.

Unfortunately for handicappers, it’s a guessing game whether Financial Crisis is ready to match that superb performace, which came more than five months ago, or run more like she did in her other three starts last season, which produced a string of Beyers in the narrow range of 71 to 78.

The uncertain fitness of the horse with by far the best last-race Beyer makes the seven-furlong Snowflake a good betting race, with contenders such as D J’s Storm, winner of three straight optional claiming events at a mile or longer at Penn National; Five Diamonds, who has been in front after seven furlongs the last two times she raced a mile; and Sweet Temptress, who makes her first start for new connections following a 5 1/4-length romp going seven furlongs three weeks ago.

The key to the race, however, is Financial Crisis, who was purchased for a mere $3,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland September sale in 2008. Her dam, French Jeannette, was 6 for 18 as a sprinter in the mid-Atlantic region, including a fourth in the 2005 Primonetta at Laurel Park.

Financial Crisis worked out five times at Gulfstream Park this winter but returned north to record a best-of-24 four-furlong breeze of 47.60 seconds last Monday at Laurel.

Her trainer and co-owner, Gary Capuano, shows a 10-for-24 record with runners returning from a break of 61 to 180 days in races between 6 1/2 and seven furlongs.

D J’s Storm also comes into the Snowflake off a layoff. She has been idle since winning a second-level optional $25,000 claimer on Dec. 21. All three of her recent wins came in wire-to-wire fashion. She will have to overcome post 10 in Tuesday night’s two-turn race.

Five Diamonds was most recently second in the six-furlong What a Summer at Laurel on Jan. 15. In her only previous appearance at Charles Town, she finished second going seven furlongs.

Sweet Temptress owns a 2-for-3 record at Charles Town. She was claimed out of her easy win last time out for $25,000 by trainer Ronny Brown, who shows a 22 percent hit rate first time off the claim the past two years.