04/13/2013 12:52PM

Parx Racing: Railtown Girl takes big class drop


After picking up small pieces of stakes purses in each of her last three starts in New York, the 3-year-old filly Railtown Girl will ship to Parx Racing for Monday’s $47,000 feature. The 6 1/2-furlong, first-level allowance for fillies and mares will represent Railtown Girl’s first attempt against older horses.

As a 2-year-old last April, Railtown Girl sold for $230,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. auction, the 14th-highest price at that spring sale. She did not make her racing debut until December, when she easily won her maiden sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs at Laurel Park.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin sent Railtown Girl directly into stakes action over the inner track at Aqueduct, and she responded by finishing third in the Ruthless and then second, beaten only a half-length, in the Dearly Precious. Most recently, Railtown Girl was fourth of six in the Cicada but did manage to improve her Beyer Speed Figure to a career-best 75. That number nearly matches the par of 76 for Monday’s class level at Parx.

Since 2011, McLaughlin shows a 6-for-19 record (32 percent) shipping into Parx. That includes a 3-for-8 record (38 percent) in allowance races.

Railtown Girl’s toughest opponent may be the 5-year-old mare Espresso Royale, who owns a 5-for-12 record at Parx. She has been in front at the six-furlong call in each of her last five races – all going two turns. The last time trainer John Dunn switched Espresso Royale from a route to a sprint, she prevailed by a nose going seven furlongs in November.

Hot Smile, a 7-year-old mare who has won back-to-back races, and the 3-year-old Dear to All also look like contenders in the field of eight.

Four races ago, on New Year’s Day, Hot Smile rallied from far back to finish second, beaten a length, at the same distance and conditions as Monday’s race. In her two most recent outings, Hot Smile got up by a neck to beat $16,000 starter-allowance sprinters and scored as the 8-5 favorite in an allowance restricted to Pennsylvania-breds at Penn National.

Dear to All, part of a coupled entry with Atlantis Moon for trainer Tony Dutrow, shortens in distance after a pair of third-place finishes in Maryland. Over the past two years, Dutrow is 8 for 28 (29 percent) with horses switching from routes to sprints following a break of 31 to 60 days.