09/18/2014 2:57PM

Pants On Fire seeks first win of the season in Wild and Wonderful

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Pants On Fire, second in the Philip Iselin Stakes, will seek his first win of 2014 in Saturday's Wild and Wonderful Stakes at Charles Town.

Pants On Fire has run some strong races this year, but he’s still looking for his first win of the season, and trainer Kelly Breen hopes the “ticket” is Saturday night’s $100,000 Wild and Wonderful on the Grade 3, $500,000 Charles Town Oaks undercard. The seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up will be run around two turns, and it will go as race 9 on a 12-race program that boasts more than $1 million in purses at the slots-rich track in West Virginia.

Pants On Fire has made three starts this year, beginning with a third in the Grade 2 Monmouth Park Cup in his 6-year-old debut July 27. For the effort, he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 100. He came back and popped a 104 Beyer when second Aug. 17 in the Grade 3 Iselin, also at Monmouth, in his second start of the year. Pants On Fire enters the Wild and Wonderful off a runner-up finish to Golden Ticket in the $100,000 Left Bank at Belmont Park on Sept. 5.

“All three of his races, he’s run hard,” said Breen, who trains Pants On Fire for George and Lori Hall. “In his comeback at Monmouth, he wasn’t 100 percent ready, and he really tried. He didn’t have a soft spot set up for him. That was the prep race for the Iselin. We were hoping he would get better off that race, and I think he did. Last time out in New York, he ran another hard race. He seems to be in form. He just hasn’t won in his first races back, and we’re hoping to get a win. We’re hoping West Virginia’s the ticket.”

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Wild and Wonderful (Race 9)

Key contenders

Pants On Fire (Last 3 Beyers: 98-104-100)

Pants On Fire, a past winner of the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, will break from the outside post in the field of eight under Paco Lopez. The horse has experience on the six-furlong track at Charles Town.

“He’s run there once before, and he was on the front end,” Breen said of a sixth-place finish in the Charles Town Classic. “He was shipping from south to north on our way back from New Orleans, and he didn’t mind the track. He didn’t run his best race, but he ran into a bunch of tough horses, and he also was up close in that race at a much farther distance.”

Pants On Fire is the class of the field as an earner of $1,267,635 who has raced in the Kentucky Derby, Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, and Japan Dirt Cup. He is a son of Jump Start.

Good Lord (Last 3 Beyers: 74-99-94)

He will be stretching back out to two turns for the first time in a while, following a sixth-place finish Aug. 16 in the $75,000 David M. Vance Sprint at Remington Park. Prior to that start, he had won three straight races between Churchill Downs and Ellis Park.

He is a multiple stakes winner as well as a winner at Charles Town.

Good Lord will break from the rail, and given the quick-paced race he enters, he figures to be prominent.

Mezzano (Last 3 Beyers: 85-94-94)

* He will be moving back to the seven-furlong distance of his last win, which came in a $50,000 optional claimer at Parx.

Mezzano was beaten just 2 3/4 lengths last out when seventh in the $200,000 Presque Isle Downs Mile.

In other stakes Saturday at Charles Town:

** Harlan’s Destiny invades for trainer Wayne Catalano in the $50,000 Rachel’s Turn for 2-year-old fillies bred in West Virginia.

** Trainer Wesley Ward sends out Lamontagne, who defeated colts in a maiden special weight at Saratoga, against the boys again in the $50,000 Henry Mercer Memorial for 2-year-olds bred in West Virginia.

** Mr. Ripken seeks to break a string of five straight second-place finishes in the $50,000 It’s Only Money for 3-year-olds and up bred in West Virginia.

** Strike the Moon meets Geeky Gorgeous in the $100,000 Pink Ribbon for fillies and mares. The race will be run over seven furlongs.