05/09/2006 11:00PM

The Student looks to give lessons


Although horses who have been racing recently at Charles Town are given preference in the track's new series of $50,000 stakes this season, trainer Scott Lake's shipper The Student managed to get into the field of older sprinters for Friday night's Costy Caras Memorial.

And that's bad news for the locally based horses who must face The Student, a 7-year-old gelding who has been no worse than third in his last 10 starts at five different tracks.

The 4 1/2-furlong race, honoring a man who spent 33 years announcing Charles Town's races before his death in January, drew nine runners. All but The Student and Mountaineer-based Zephyr Hills have raced at Charles Town.

The Student comes off three consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures, including the first stakes score of his career last time out in the Hoover at Pimlico. His 16 career victories include two wins this past winter in starter handicaps in New York.

Zephyr Hills, the other stranger to Charles Town, comes from the other side of the state after three consecutive wins in conditioned allowance sprints, all achieved in front-running fashion.

Among the local horses, Bishoftu and Earth Power pose the biggest threats.

The 8-year-old Bishoftu is a short-sprint specialist at Charles Town, where he has recorded 10 of his 12 victories. He finished first by wide margins in his first two starts of the season, both against starter allowance competition, but was disqualified from one of those wins for causing interference. He has not run nearly as well in his last two starts, both against allowance runners.

Earth Power, a multiple stakes winner in statebred races, will be making his first start as a 6-year-old. Although he usually prefers longer sprints, Earth Power missed by a nose the last time he went 4 1/2 furlongs, in August 2005.

Bulldog Mugsy is an intriguing longshot. He comes back just six days after finishing strongly to take third with a career-best 87 Beyer in his first start off the claim for owner-trainer Raymond Class.