07/01/2003 11:00PM

Sheryar Special primed for Dash


Pure speed at a short distance will be on display when nine older horses contest the $100,000 Charles Town Dash on Friday night's holiday program.

Boston Brat, a record-setting sprinter at Gulfstream Park last winter, and Sheryar Special, winner of last year's Dash, are the top contenders in the 4 1/2-furlong stakes.

The 123-pound highweight and 6-5 favorite on the track's morning line, Boston Brat was extremely sharp early in the year, when he broke one track record and tied another in back-to-back sprint wins at Gulfstream. In his only two starts since leaving Florida, however, the 6-year-old Boston Brat hasn't been the same horse. His best effort came in a six-furlong allowance at Monmouth Park on June 8, in which he set fractions of 21.41 and 43.34 seconds before fading to second.

The horse who beat Boston Brat that day, Sea of Green, is also in the Dash field. Sea of Green has earned a 90-plus Beyer Speed Figure in five of his last six starts, but is coming off a last-place finish in the Longfellow Stakes at Monmouth less than two weeks ago.

Sheryar Special, who last season won a 4 1/2-furlong stakes at Mountaineer Park in addition to his victory in the Charles Town Dash, prepped for this race by romping to a 6 1/4-length win against high-priced optional claimers at Monmouth. In that race, the 5-year-old Sheryar Special set fast fractions of 21.77 and 44.67 seconds en route to earning a Beyer Figure of 100.

Other contenders include Blazing Count, who earned back-to-back Beyers of 103 and 100 sprinting at Churchill Downs this spring; Baby Shark, a two-time winner going 4 1/2 furlongs at Charles Town in 2001 who most recently finished a close second in the five-furlong Ben Cohen at Pimlico; and Bill the Banker, who has won five short sprints in a row dating back to last July, but is unraced since earning a Beyer of 97 in early March.