08/26/2010 4:56PM

Showdown looms in Sylvia Bishop


Down Town Allen will put her four-race winning streak on the line against the lightly raced but extremely fast I Just Did It when the two 3-year-old West Virginia-bred fillies clash for the first time in the $50,000 Sylvia Bishop Memorial Stakes at Charles Town.

The seven-furlong Sylvia Bishop, named in honor of the nation's first African-American female trainer, who was a regular at Charles Town, is a local prep for the $75,000 West Virginia Division of Tourism on the West Virginia Breeders Classic card on Oct. 16.

Down Town Allen, winner of the Tri-State Futurity and West Virginia Futurity going seven furlongs last fall, returns to restricted company after three consecutive wins versus open company, including the $100,000 Lady Charles Town and the $85,000 West Virginia Secretary of State on the West Virginia Derby undercard at Mountaineer.

I Just Did It finished off the board for the first time in her five-race career when she challenged males in the Robert Leavitt on Aug. 7. The winner, Black Belt, came back to win last weekend's Frank Gall Memorial against a field of older horses that included last year's West Virginia Breeders Classic champion, Russell Road.

In her two previous starts, both going seven furlongs, I Just Did It easily defeated West Virginia-breds and missed by a neck against open company while earning Beyer Speed Figures of 89 and 88. Those figures compare favorably with the 74 and 67 Down Town Allen earned in her two best seven-furlong races last fall.

Bettors will not have to choose between Down Town Allen and I Just Did It because they are coupled for owner-trainer John A. Casey.

The intriguing runner in the seven-horse field is Dixie Heat, who won her career debut going 4 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 1. She stretches out around two turns after earning a 72 Beyer and could threaten the favored entry if she moves forward, as many horses do, in her second start.