08/22/2009 11:00PM

Russell Road remains near unbeatable on home track


Russell Road reaffirmed his status as the top 3-year-old on the grounds at Charles Town by easily winning Saturday night's $50,000 Frank Gall Memorial Handicap.

Ridden by Eric Camacho for trainer James W. Casey, Russell Road ($2.20) improved his record to 8 for 10 locally with his 2 1/4-length score over a sloppy and sealed racetrack while facing older West Virginia-breds. He completed the seven furlongs in 1:25.29 to earn his sixth lifetime stakes victory.

Gold Standard made a mild bid to challenge Russell Road's three-length advantage in the stretch but could not make up much ground and had to settle for second, 13 3/4 lengths in front of El Numero Uno in a field reduced to five by two scratches. Henry the Lover, Russell Road's coupled stablemate, set the pace through a half-mile in 47.82 seconds before fading to fourth.

In the co-featured $50,000 Henry Mercer Memorial for statebred 2-year-old colts and geldings, Captain Kirkland ($26.60), adding Lasix after winning a slowly run maiden race a week earlier, held off 2-1 second choice Son of a Bear by a neck. It was another 4 1/4 lengths to Military Strike. Rutledge Lion finished fifth as the 6-5 favorite.

Ridden by Alexis Rios-Conde for trainer Patricia Simpson, Captain Kirkland ran 4 1/2 furlongs in 52.61 seconds.