07/01/2010 12:00AM

Timeless Fashion back to defend title


Timeless Fashion successfully transferred his superior form on synthetic surfaces to turf when he shipped to Mountaineer Racetrack to win last year's Independence Day Handicap. Now, the 6-year-old Timeless Fashion will try to rebound from a rare dud in his first try on dirt when he defends his title in Saturday night's Independence Day.

Scheduled for one mile on turf, the Independence Day (race 4) is one of three $75,000 stakes on a 10-race card that begins at 7 p.m. Eastern. The other stakes are the Firecracker, a one-mile turf race for fillies and mares, and the Dale Baird Memorial, a 5 1/2-furlong dirt sprint.

Timeless Fashion, based in Kentucky with trainer Thomas Drury, excels on the Polytrack at Turfway Park, where he has won three stakes since February 2009, including the Tejano Run in his first start of 2010. Overall, Timeless Fashion has been no worse than second in 7 of 9 starts on synthetic surfaces.

A year ago in the Independence Day, Timeless Fashion switched surfaces while making his first start off a 3 1/2-month layoff and drew clear by 1 3/4 lengths. He subsequently went 1 for 3 on the turf, but both losses were against graded stakes competition.

Most recently, Timeless Fashion tried dirt for the first time in his 16-race career when the Golden Bear at Indiana Downs was taken off the turf. He failed to show his customary early speed and beat just one horse.

Timeless Fashion's four main rivals appear to be Crimson Comic, For All Who Conga, Baryshnikov, and Cryptolight.

Crimson Comic led until deep stretch of the one-mile Henry Clark at Pimlico two starts ago, then won the off-the-turf Memorial Day Handicap at Mountaineer.

For All Who Conga has not finished worse than second in his last three starts while racing on synthetic, turf, and dirt surfaces.

Baryshnikov, a front-runner, has been second and first in his last two starts on the turf, both going a mile at Churchill Downs.

Cryptolight, second in last August's West Virginia Speaker's Cup over the local turf course, comes into the race off a dominant victory over the Tapeta at Presque Isle.

Firecracker: Softer spot for Romacaca

Romacaca, beaten 2 1/2 lengths or less in three graded stakes since September, owns a distinct class edge over her competition in the Firecracker (race 3). She was cross-entered in an allowance race Friday at her home track, Arlington Park, but trainer Nick Canani indicated he plans to bring Romacaca to West Virginia to race for the bigger purse.

Michael Baze will come in from Chicago to ride Romacaca for the first time.

As a 3-year-old last season, Romacaca was claimed for $25,000. She went on to win her first three starts for new owner Frank Calabrese, including two minor stakes at Arlington. She was second, beaten 1 1/4 lengths, in the Grade 3 Pucker Up and third, 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner, in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere at Churchill last fall.

Early this year, Romacaca finished fourth, beaten 1 1/4 lengths, in a 14-horse field in the Grade 3 Honey Fox at Gulfstream Park. In her lone start since shipping north, she led wire to wire going a mile in a third-level optional claimer at Arlington.

Si Si Mon Amie is the prime threat to play spoiler to Romacaca. A 6-year-old mare, Si Si Mon Amie was third in this race a year ago. She makes the third start of her form cycle after winning back-to-back races on turf at Tampa Bay Downs and Indiana Downs.

Baird: Nay's Tap, 'Pirates' face off

Nay's Tap and Piratesonthelake, both of whom have won sprint stakes locally, clash with defending champion Bernie Blue in the Dale Baird Memorial (race 9).

Nay's Tap won last fall's Sophomore Sprint Championship and this spring's Waterford Park Handicap. He comes across the state after just missing in the $100,000 Wild N Wonderful, a two-turn elongated sprint at Charles Town.

Piratesonthelake, claimed for $50,000 in March, won last August's West Virginia Chairman's Cup going 4 1/2 furlongs. Now in the barn of Scott Lake, Piratesonthelake comes off a sharp win at the same distance of Saturday's race at Delaware Park.

The old-timer Bernie Blue, 13 for 30 lifetime at Mountaineer, dominated last year's Dale Baird but was subsequently beaten by first Piratesonthelake and then Nay's Tap.