12/11/2010 10:51AM

No-conditions allowance draws four 2010 stakes winners


Four horses with stakes victories on their resumes this season, including Rummy’s Command, the upset winner of last month’s Sophomore Sprint, are among seven late-season 3-year-olds entered in Monday night’s feature race at Mountaineer Racetrack.

The 5 1/2-furlong sprint, which goes as race 8 on a nine-race card that begins at 7 p.m. Eastern, is a no-conditions allowance, restricted to 3-year-olds, with a purse of $33,700.

Rummy’s Command, a locally based West Virginia-bred gelding, gave trainer Donald Blankenship and jockey Olaf Hernandez the first stakes victory of their careers when he rallied from third to draw clear by 3 1/4 lengths in the $75,000 Sophomore Sprint at 18-1 odds on Nov.16.

Although Blankenship is a modest 9 percent overall for the past five years, his percentage more than doubles to 19 percent with sprinters going for two wins in a row.

Rummy’s Command is fond of his home track, where he is 4 for 7 lifetime.

The X factor is Midwest shipper Honkytonk Stomp, who has been idle since winning back-to-back stakes within a two-week period in August at the Columbus Races in Nebraska. The second of those two wins, in the mile-and-70-yard Van Berg Derby, proved to be a key race. The second-place finisher, Bingosablumin, and the fourth-place horse, Boxers or Briefs, both returned to win allowance races in their next starts.

Honkytonk Stomp has prepped for his comeback with a series of drills at Beulah Park, including a four-furlong bullet in 47 seconds on Friday.

The field includes two winners of two-turn stakes at Pinnacle Race Course in Michigan.

Power of Titus won the 1 1/16-mile Mackinac Handicap, a race restricted to Michigan-breds, on Sept. 4. He is 0 for 6 at Mountaineer, including a fourth last time out in the Sophomore Sprint.

Meadow Magic finished second, 1 1/4 lengths behind Power of Titus, in the Mackinac, but turned the tables and won the 1 1/16-mile Michigan Sire Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths in mid-October. In his first start over a wet track, he broke slowly and finished eighth in the Sophomore Sprint.

Among the three non-stakes winners in the field, the most intriguing is California import Precious Duke. Making his first start at Mountaineer in the Sophomore Sprint, Precious Duke did not display his usual early zip, but did make up nearly eight lengths in the last quarter-mile. He is eligible to improve making his second start since September.