05/21/2011 3:43PM

Mountaineer: Woodard always tough with shippers


When Kentucky-based trainer Joe Woodard brings a horse to Mountaineer Racetrack in West Viginia, he means business.

Woodard, a phenomenal 12 for 28 (43 percent) with his Mountaineer imports already this season, stands an excellent chance of improving on those impressive statistics when he sends out the 4-year-old Whatthecatdrugin for Tuesday night’s featured ninth race, a second-level allowance at a mile and 70 yards on the main track.

Whatthecatdrugin, who came to Woodard’s barn after two losses to begin his career in the maiden claiming ranks at Oaklawn Park, scored by 5 1/4 lengths in a one-mile maiden special weight route at Mountaineer in late March and proved that effort was no fluke when he came back to trounce first-level optional $30,000 claimers on Turfway Park’s Polytrack on April 3.

The layoff shouldn’t be considered a negative sign, since Woodard is 8 for 31 (26 percent) with route runners he has brought to Mountaineer the past two years who were returning from a break of 31 to 60 days.

For those looking for a slightly better price, Getta Rhythm and Kingofthebluegrass are viable alternatives in a field of seven.

Getta Rhythm has been a marathon specialist, racing at distances between 1 3/8 miles and 2 1/16 miles in six of his last seven starts, dating back to September. During the fall, Getta Rhythm put together a three-race winning streak, and he was in front after the first mile of his most recent race, an off-the-turf second-level allowance contested on Keeneland’s Polytrack at 1 5/8 miles in late April. Getta Rhythm’s trainer, Melvin Kendfrick, is 0 for 9 this year and a 12 percent trainer over the past two years, but his win percentage improves to 26 percent (4 for 17) with route runners on dirt back within 30 days.

Kingofthebluegrass comes back eight days after romping by 8 1/2 lengths in a first-level allowance at Indiana Downs. In his lone previous appearance at Mountaineer, Kingofthebluegrass won his maiden going two turns in December 2009.

A wet track would enhance the chances of Jersey Devil and Unleaded, both of whom step up in class following wins on surfaces rated sloppy or muddy. Jersey Devil is the more intriguing of the pair. He held on by a neck in a nonwinners-of-two allowance, earning a 78 Beyer Speed Figure.