03/30/2013 11:09AM

Mountaineer: Russell Road takes show on the road Monday


The millionaire West Virginia-bred Russell Road will make a rare road trip from his Charles Town base when he launches his 7-year-old campaign in Monday night’s $37,100 feature at Mountaineer Racetrack.

Russell Road will be cutting back from 1 1/8 miles to 5 1/2 furlongs and making his first start since November in Monday’s eighth race, a no-conditions allowance that drew a full field of 10 older horses.

All but four of Russell Road’s 38 starts and all but one of his 23 victories have come at Charles Town, where he won four stakes last season. In his only previous visit to Mountaineer, which came in July 2011, Russell Road finished second, beaten 1 1/4 lengths, in the 5 1/2-furlong Dale Baird Memorial.

Shortening in distance following a long break should not be a problem for Russell Road, who is 2 for 2 switching from routes to sprints following a break of 61 to 180 days. Although seven furlongs is probably Russell Road’s best distance, he did win a restricted stakes going 4 1/2 furlongs last May.

Russell Road, trained by James W. Casey, is likely using Monday’s race as a prep for the seven-furlong Confucius Say on April 20 on the Charles Town Classic undercard. Russell Road has won the Confucius Say the past two years.

His most dangerous rival on Monday night appears to be the Kentucky shipper Voodoo Storm, who cuts back sharply in distance following a 6 1/2-length win in a one-mile allowance locally two weeks ago. Trainer Joe Woodard shows a superb 10-for-26 record (38 percent) with last-out winners switching from routes to sprints while returning to the races in less than 30 days.

Jasizzle outfought Voodoo Storm by a head when the two horses met going five furlongs on opening night at Mountaineer a month ago, and they meet again on Monday. The Kentucky-based Jasizzle has won both times he has shipped to Mountaineer since December.

The 4-year-old filly Dixie Jackpot will challenge males while switching from Polytrack to dirt and cutting back from one mile to 5 1/2 furlongs. Her last three visits to Mountaineer have produced three wins by a combined total of 27 1/4 lengths.

Flattering Andy has primarily been running in 4 1/2-furlong sprints at Charles Town, but he held the lead at the stretch call of the six-furlong, $105,000 Fire Plug at Laurel in January. His trainer, Crystal Pickett, is 7 for 25 (28 percent) shipping to Mountaineer the past five years.