06/18/2008 11:00PM

Joey P. aims for rare road victory


Throughout his long racing career, Joey P. has been the Thoroughbred equivalent of Superman in New Jersey, but a mere mortal when shipped out of state. Saturday night, trainer Ben Perkins Jr. will try to coax a road win out of the 6-year-old Joey P., the 121-pound highweight in the Charles Town Invitational Dash.

The 4 1/2-furlong Dash, its purse doubled to $200,000 as part of the track's inaugural Sprint Festival, headlines a five-stakes card that includes four other open stakes worth $100,000 apiece. The Dash, scheduled to go off at 10 p.m. Eastern, is also the final leg of an all-stakes pick four (races 5-8).

Joey P., who will break from post 6 in a field of 10 older sprinters, owns a phenomenal 14-for-21 record in the Garden State, with all but two of those victories coming at his home track, Monmouth Park. He's 0 for 8 outside New Jersey, although in fairness, he did run extremely well last fall in New York, finishing second in both the Fall Highweight Handicap and the Grade 3 Gravesend at Aqueduct.

How he will perform racing over Charles Town's bullring at a distance shorter than his customary six furlongs, while being ridden for the first time by Travis Dunkelberger, is anybody's guess.

His main competition could come from trainer Tony Dutrow's coupled entry of Sir Silver Fox and Pete's Wonder. Dutrow has named Ramon Dominguez on both horses, but is permitted to assign a second rider on race night and has indicated to Charles Town's racing office that he intends to run both parts of the Michael Dubb-owned entry.

Both of Dutrow's runners were recently claimed. Pete's Wonder defeated third-level optional $50,000 claimers in his first start for Dutrow and most recently finished second to Ravalo, who was nominated to the Dash, in the $100,000 Karl Boyes Memorial over the Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs.

Sir Silver Fox, who drew the rail, has won his last three races and will be making his first start since Dutrow took him for $32,000 out of a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure effort on May 31 at Delaware Park.

Great Seneca, Lacewell, and

S K R's Spartan are intriguing possibilities at a price.

The Maryland-based Great Seneca shortens up to 4 1/2 furlongs for the first time, but has run well in three previous starts going longer locally. His trainer, Gary Capuano, is 11 for 25 (44 percent) in short sprints at Charles Town with horses returning in fewer than 30 days.

Horse-for-the-course Lacewell is

4 for 4 locally, but has been idle since early May and has never raced in a stakes.

S K R's Spartan goes turf to dirt for Maryland trainer Chris Grove. The last time he made the surface switch, S K R's Spartan romped by more than six lengths at Laurel Park. In addition, Grove is a strong 4 for 16 with horses shipping into Charles Town for short sprints.

In the other stakes:

* Casanova Killer, second in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness last time out, faces the Grade 2 stakes-placed Peisinoe, who will be making her first start on dirt following six races on synthetic surfaces in Southern California, in the $100,000 Lady Charles Town for 3-year-old fillies going 4 1/2 furlongs.

* The Steve Asmussen-trained Devereaux, second in the $108,000 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs last time out, meets Ghostly Thunder, a Maryland-based gelding who already owns three stakes wins locally, in the $100,000 Red Legend, for 3-year-olds going seven furlongs.

* Asmussen ships in Stonestreet Song, who has been off since winning a $50,000 sprint stakes at Sunland Park in early April, for the $100,000 West Virginia Sprint Derby. The 4 1/2-furlong race for 3-year-olds also attracted Hear My Voice, recent dominant winner of a maiden race at Delaware, and So So, a short-sprint specialist who is 2 for 3 lifetime locally.

* The speedy Henry the Lover, a three-time winner locally, shortens up from 6 1/2 furlongs and drops into restricted company for the $50,000 Coin Collector, a 4 1/2-furlong stakes for 3-year-old West Virginia-breds.