02/12/2011 3:17PM

Relocated Ava's Charm can win right back at Penn National


John Waken, whose stable races under the name Gem Inc., has had good success relocating horses from Southern California to the East Coast, most notably Nicole H, a two-time stakes winner in New York, and Harissa, the winner of last month’s Sleigh Ride at Parx Racing. Trainer Todd Beattie is hopeful some of that same good luck will rub off on Ava’s Charm, a Waken-owned filly who has come east to join Beattie’s string at Penn National.

The 4-year-old Ava’s Charm, who returned from a 8 1/2-month layoff to win her first start for Beattie last month, will try to make it two in a row in Monday night’s featured fifth race, a second-level allowance for fillies and mares going six furlongs.

Beattie said Ava’s Charm was sent east at the suggestion of John O’Hara, a former trainer who manages Waken’s horses in conjunction with Steve Bajert as the bloodstock agent group Equine Prep.

“I’ve had a few horses for John before,” Beattie said. “He thought with the purses in Pennsylvania she would be a good fit. She was given some time off to fix some small things and I had her about two months before I ran her.”

In California, where she was trained by David Hofmans, Ava’s Charm won 2 of 4 starts, both while running for a claiming tag. She was purchased for $85,000 – more than triple the stud fee of her sire Harlan’s Holiday – as a yearling at the Keeneland September sale. In her debut for Beattie on Jan. 22, she rallied from slightly off the pace to get up by a half-length in a first-level allowance. Although the time was slow – her 1:12.92 for six furlongs was the second slowest of four races at that distance on the card – and the Beyer Speed Figure came back a modest 66, Beattie said he was pleased she ran well.

“The way the track is here in the winter, it’s really hard to get a horse ready to run,” Beattie said. “It’s a real deep, tiring track. The night she ran it was really slow. She ran hard and showed a will to win.”

Among the seven opponents Ava’s Charm will face Monday night are Gottahope, After the Applause, and Tamarind Hall, who were separated by a half-length in a similar second-level optional $25,000 claimer on Jan. 24. Gottahope rallied from 10th to get up by a neck at 28-1 that night.