04/16/2010 12:00AM

Sweet Goodbye gets boost


Sweet Goodbye, riding a three-race winning streak that includes the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap, already was a solid contender in Saturday night's $250,000 Sugar Maple Stakes at Charles Town.

With the news that two of her most dangerous rivals, Jessica Is Back and Hour Glass, will be scratched to run elsewhere on Saturday, the 5-year-old Sweet Goodbye looks even better.

The Sugar Maple is the third leg of an all-stakes pick four that ends with the $1 million Charles Town Classic.

Jessica Is Back will instead race at Hawthorne in the $200,000 Sixty Sails Handicap. Hour Glass, who finished a half-length behind Sweet Goodbye as the favorite in the Barbara Fritchie, will remain in New York for the $150,000 Distaff at Aqueduct.

Their absence makes Sweet Goodbye a standout among the eight remaining fillies and mares.

Based at the Bowie Training Center with trainer Chris Grove, Sweet Goodbye has won three straight sprint stakes at Laurel Park. She is 10 for 14 lifetime, including 5 for 5 at the Sugar Maple distance of seven furlongs. Four of those wins have come at Charles Town.

Unforgotten, who was withdrawn from Friday's Doubledogdare at Keeneland in favor of this spot, and Pinkarella, who was graded stakes-placed racing on a synthetic surface in Southern California, figure to be the keenest competition for Sweet Goodbye.

The 6-year-old Unforgotten, based in Kentucky with trainer Dallas Stewart, runs second far more often than she wins, as evidenced by her 5 wins and 11 runner-up finishes in 33 lifetime starts. Last year, she was second in three graded stakes. She most recently finished third, 11 1/2 lengths behind 2009's Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra, in the New Orleans Ladies.

Stewart said he feels Unforgotten will not be compromised by her outside draw in the two-turn race.

"She's the kind of horse who comes from back off [the pace]," Stewart said. "The post won't be a problem. She should be able to save ground and make her move."

Pinkarella has raced just twice on dirt, but one of those produced a 4 1/4-length victory worth a 94 Beyer Speed Figure at Gulfstream Park.

East Breaks has won 2 of her last 3 starts, including her first race locally three weeks ago. Strut the Canary, whose connections opted for this race over the Distaff at Aqueduct, steps up to stakes company after back-to-back daylight victories.

In the other stakes on the undercard:

* Plantation, unbeaten in four starts, faces Comedero, who is 5 for 5 in sprints, in the $100,000 Blue and Gold for 3-year-olds going seven furlongs.

Although he is based in Maryland with trainer Rodney Jenkins, Planation has raced twice at Charles Town, dominating a pair of 6 1/2-furlong races restricted to statebreds.

Comedero, a four-time stakes winner who romped in his first two starts of the season at Oaklawn Park, will be trying two turns for the first time since finishing 11th in a one-mile stakes at Remington Park last December. He most recently dominated Arkansas-breds by 10 lengths in the Rainbow Stakes at Oaklawn.

"He may have been just against statebreds, but he did it throttled down the whole way," said trainer Mike Stidham. "It was real easy. We feel it's time to step him up and take a swing at one of these big pots."

* Trust Or Bust and the millionaire Joey P., winners of the last two runnings of the $200,000 Charles Town Dash, clash for the first time in the $75,000 Webb Snyder at 4 1/2 furlongs.

The 5-year-old Trust Or Bust, who won last year's Snyder as part of a five-race winning streak that included a 2 1/4-length score in the Dash, endured traffic trouble in his lone start this year when he finished fourth.

Joey P., an 8-year-old based in New York with trainer Ben Perkins Jr., won the 2008 Dash in his only previous trip to Charles Town. He has been off since winning his first start of the year in February at Aqueduct.

Snyder, 97, who rode during Charles Town's inaugural meet in 1933, will present a trophy in the winner's circle following the race named in his honor.

* Russell Road, winner of the $450,000 West Virginia Breeders' Classic during a 3-year-old campaign last season in which he won 7 of 9 starts, looks to reverse an 0-for-2 start to his 2010 season when he shortens up to seven furlongs for the $50,000 Springtime Handicap, a race restricted to West Virginia-breds.