04/16/2010 11:00PM

Shippers out to claim pot at Mountaineer


After a long run, La Chica Rica's reign as the best out-of-state female leading successful raids into West Virginia may be nearing its end. But there are a couple of potential successors to usurp her crown in Monday night's feature race at Mountaineer Racetrack.

The Kentucky-based Syriana's Song and Chicago shipper Mindy Queen, both of whom posted career-best Beyer Speed Figures in their first appearances at the West Virginia track, are the prime contenders in a field of six filly and mare sprinters that includes multiple stakes winner La Chica Rica.

The ninth race on a 10-race card that begins at 7 p.m. Eastern is a 5o1/2-furlong, no-conditions allowance worth $37,400.

From December 2007 through last May, La Chica Rica traveled from her Maryland base to win three stakes in West Virginia and finish second in two others. But since taking the Hancock County at Mountaineer for the second straight year last spring, La Chica Rica's form has soured. In two starts this year since being transferred to the barn of Finger Lakes-based trainer Chris Progno, the 7-year-old La Chica Rica has been beaten a combined 36 lengths, perhaps an indication her racing days are nearing an end.

Syriana's Song, who spent the winter at Oaklawn Park, and Mindy Queen, winner of the Assiniboia Downs Oaks last summer, will both try to prove their first visits to Mountaineer were no fluke.

The 5-year-old Syriana's Song was sensational in her only previous local appearance in September. She came from slightly off the early pace to romp by 14 lengths, earning a career-best 103 Beyer.

Her trainer, Tom Amoss, is winning at a 38-percent clip (30 for 78) with horses he has brought to Mountaineer the last three years.

In her first appearance at Mountaineer last November, the 4-year-old Mindy Queen, trained by Joel Berndt, upset Grade 2 winner Royale Michele in a six-furlong allowance, finishing three lengths in front of the 1-5 Royale Michele while earning a career-top 96 Beyer.

Although Mindy Queen has been off since finishing second in the Wishing Well at Turfway Park in early January, that break is similar to the 71-day layoff she had before her big win locally last fall.