11/03/2011 12:14PM

Mountaineer: Shadowbdancing takes on his nemesis in Mile


Cryptolight easily blew past pacesetter Shadowbdancing to win last year’s Mountaineer Mile, but circumstances may be right for the tables to be turned when the top two finishers from 2010 clash again in Saturday night’s running of the $125,000 Mile at Mountaineer Racetrack.

Cryptolight, a locally based 7-year-old trained by Wiliam Martin, has been no worse than second in 11 of 14 starts over Mountaineer’s main track, highlighted by his 5 3/4-length score in the 2010 Mile. He earned a 93 Beyer Speed Figure for the win.

Shadowbdancing, a 6-year-old based in Chicago with trainer Terrell Gore, has a couple of things in his favor for the rematch, however. First, there is a five-pound shift in the weights in Shadowbdancing’s favor. Secondly, Shadowbdancing finished a length ahead of Cryptolight when they met most recently in the Jim Rasmussen Memorial at Prairie Meadows in late May.

Shadowbdancing may be ready for a peak performance making the second start of his current form cycle. Last time out, returning from a layoff of slightly more than three months, he set the pace and tired to finish third in the $104,000 Michael Schaeffer Memorial Mile at Hoosier Park on Oct. 1. Three of the last four times Shadowbdancing has raced in a route the second time back from a layoff, he has won.

Cryptolight cuts back slightly in distance after surrendering the lead in deep stretch to finish second in the 1 1/8-mile HBPA Governor’s Cup at Charles Town. He remains winless in five starts since May but has kept classy company, including the Grade 3 Cornhusker, a nine-furlong race in which he was within a half-length of the lead after a mile.

Shadowbdancing will probably face early pressure from multiple stakes winner Bernie Blue. A 9-year-old based at Thistledown, Bernie Blue owns 10 career stakes victories at Mountaineer, including the 2007 Mile.

Black Belt, a 4-year-old gelding who also trains at Thistledown, is dangerous coming off a solid second to heavy favorite Russell Road going 1 1/8 miles in the $450,000 West Virginia Breeders’ Classic at Charles Town.