02/12/2011 2:14PM

Lack of pace may hurt Sea Rescue in Charles Town allowance

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Mike Montgomery
Sea Rescue, under Xavier Perez, who paid a record $116 in the West Virginia Breeders' Classic, drops into allowance company for Tuesday night's feature at Charles Town.

Three starts ago, Sea Rescue ran the race of his life to upset the $450,000 West Virginia Breeders' Classic at Charles Town as a 57-1 longshot. Although that was his fourth lifetime win and his career earnings now exceed $300,000, the 5-year-old Sea Rescue still qualifies to run in Tuesday night’s featured eighth race at Charles Town, a $26,000 allowance for nonwinners of two lifetime.

Sea Rescue, a homebred for trainer Jeff Runco’s Coleswood Farm, registered all four of his career victories in races restricted to West Virginia-breds. So those wins don’t count against his eligibility when he faces open company.

Although he owns a distinct class advantage over his six rivals in Turesda’s 1 1/16-mile race, Sea Rescue is no sure thing. That’s because he is a deep closer in a field with precious little early speed. Sea Rescue, who came from 11 lengths back to get up by a head in the West Virginia Breeders' Classic on Oct. 16, needs sufficient pace to set up his late kick. He has been beaten a combined 16 lengths in two subsequent starts while finishing no better than fourth.

With no true front-runners in Tuesday night’s field, Green Spring Boy, coming out of a series of shorter races, may find himself loose up front while setting modest fractions. A three-time winner who was good enough to finish second in the seven-furlong, $67,000 West Virginia Lottery on the same card where Sea Rescue won the Classic, Green Spring Boy shows 2 wins, a second, and a third in 5 starts where he has been able to race within two lengths of the early lead. That includes back-to-back wins going seven furlongs in August and September.

Distance, however, is a question mark for Green Spring Boy. In his only attempt beyond seven furlongs, Green Spring Boy was beaten nearly 15 lengths in the 1 1/8-mile A Huevo, but that performance may not be a true indication of his distance ability because he bore in and was bumped at the start.

The only other horse who might be capable of challenging Green Spring Boy early is Mystical Notion. He too stretches out after 11 straight races at 6 1/2 to seven furlongs. Mystical Notion’s two wins came while running for a claiming tag against statebreds. He finished 27 lengths behind Sea Rescue when they met last June.