07/16/2011 2:02PM

Mountaineer: Shippers could have big night


Charles Town-based trainers figure to play prominent roles with shippers they are sending across the state of West Virginia for a trio of allowance races on Tuesday night’s 10-race card at Mountaineer Racetrack.

Early on the program, West Virginia-breds seeking their second lifetime victory will contest a pair of seven-furlong races on turf. The nominal feature, for fillies and mares who have never won three races, goes as race 9 at 5 1/2 furlongs on the main track.

The best recent form in the dirt sprint feature belongs to Charles Town shipper Annapolis Harbor, who drew off to a two-length victory in a first-level allowance last time out, earning a 70 Beyer Speed Figure. Although Jeff Runco was the leading trainer at Charles Town’s spring meet with 31 winners, he is mired in a 1-for-28 slump since July 1 and is only 2 for 22 shipping to Mountaineer the last five years.

The field also includes Star Sheba, who held a two-length lead after 5 1/2 furlongs of a six-furlong allowance at Thistledown two starts ago, and Tristanme, who comes down from Woodbine, where he raced for Steve Asmussen. Tristanme’s new trainer, Doug Johnson, shows a 5-for-28 record (29 percent) with horses switching from Polytrack to dirt.

Good grass form at a relevant distance is scarce in the two allowance races, but Charles Town-based runners City Strike and Silver Pioneer in race 3 and Credenzas Treaty in race 4 have flashed enough talent on turf to be major contenders.

City Strike is trained by James W. Casey and owned by Mark Russell, who also campaign multiple stakes winner Russell Road. City Strike won his turf debut going five furlongs at Mountaineer on July 2.

Silver Pioneer, second in the 2009 West Virginia Futurity, flashed high speed before fading while racing above his eligiblity conditions in his lone try on the grass going seven furlongs at Mountaineer last fall.

In the fourth race, Crendenzas Treaty, from the barn of Harry Painter, won his maiden by 6 1/2 lengths going a mile on Mountaineer’s grass last season before two dull efforts against nonwinners-of-three lifetime.

Based on pedigree, another Charles Town shipper, the 3-year-old Di Colas Town, could be dangerous making his first start on turf after winning his maiden going seven furlongs on dirt. Di Colas Town is a half-brother to Carolina Cousin, who was 3 for 9 lifetime on the turf.