09/24/2009 12:00AM

Just 1 stakes winner here


Two groups of largely unproven juveniles will try and step forward Saturday night in a pair of prep races for next month's $2 million West Virginia Breeders Classics program at Charles Town.

The $50,000 Dr. Ernest Benner, a 6 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-old statebreds, and the $50,000 Golden Gull/Chris Brown Memorial for 2-year-old statebred fillies going

4 1/2 furlongs, are stepping-stones to a pair of $140,000 stakes on Oct. 17, the Vince Moscarelli Memorial and the Triple Crown Nutrition.

Down Town Allen looks like a standout in the Golden Gull/Chris Brown (race 8). She has been first or second in all four of her races, including a daylight win in the Rachel's Turn last time out and a second against open company in the $100,000 Miss Shenandoah. She is the only horse in either stakes on Saturday who is not a maiden or eligible for a first-level allowance.

The biggest threat to Down Town Allen might be Silver Cub, who easily won her career debut before failing to fire as the odds-on favorite in the Rachel's Turn. In an attempt to correct whatever caused the flop, trainer Gary Capuano is adding blinkers and Lasix.

Son of a Bear merits a small edge in the Dr. Ernest Benner (race 7). Four of the other nine colts and geldings in the field are maidens.

Son of a Bear, trained by Lee Couchenor, owns the best last-race Beyer Speed Figure in the field, a 61, and missed by a neck in the Henry Mercer Memorial a month ago.

Rutledge Lion, from the barn of leading trainer Jeff Runco, was essentially eliminated at the start of the Mercer when he hit the gate and had to be steadied, beating only one horse as the 6-5 favorite. He gets a favorable rider switch to Travis Dunkelberger, but is cross-entered in Saturday's Maryland Million Nursery, a $100,000 race, at Laurel Park.

New Vision, Showmethetrick, and I Got a Answer each comes off a maiden victory.