State-bred stars shine on dirt and stone dust

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Ted Black

September 26th, 2017

Tracks such as Harrington Raceway in Delaware and Charles Town in West Virginia often get overlooked and deemed inferior, but in actuality they are quite capable of putting together quality cards that highlight state-bred standardbreds and thoroughbreds, respectively, who have ample ability.

Monday evening at Harrington Raceway, both Slick Tony (Russell Foster) and Transitioning Joy (Montrell Teague) won their respective $20,000 Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund eliminations for two-year-old pacing colts in identical clockings of 1:54.3, exactly one week after they nearly dueled to a dead-heat in 1:54.3 in their opening DSBF elim division on the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial undercard.

Slick Tony, a son of No Spin Zone owned, bred and trained by George "Ronnie" Leager of Sudlersville, Maryland, recorded his fifth win in seven career outings when he gained command in a 28.1 opener, got a breather by the half in 57.4 and by three-quarters in 1:27.1 then sprinted clear of his foes to a five-length score in 1:54.3 as the 1-9 favorite. This Leager homebred won a pair of Maryland Standardbred Race Fund events at Ocean Downs this summer and has banked $32,000 in his career with both of his defeats being very close second-place efforts.

Then one race later on the Harrington card, Transitioning Joy lived up to his role as the 3-10 choice when he gained command in a 28.4 opener, got a breather by the half in 57.4, maintained an honest tempo by three-quarters in 1:26.2 and drew clear from his foes to a four-length tally in 1:54.3. A homebred juvenile son of Barber Pole owned, bred and trained by George Teague, Jr. of Rainbow Blue and Wiggle It Jiggleit fame, Transistioning Joy remained perfect in three starts and will put his unbeaten record on the line next Wednesday in the $100,000 DSBF final where he will clash with Slick Tony again.

Last Saturday night's "Race For The Ribbon" card at Charles Town featured the Grade III, $300,000 Charles Town Oaks won by previous grade II winner, Tequilita. But a trio of West Virginia-breds clearly earned their share of the spotlight.

Three races prior to Tequilita winning the Oaks in 1:26.01 for the two-turn distance of seven furlongs over the Jefferson County oval, Moonlit Song (Christian Hiraldo) delivered a dominant performance while taking the $50,000 Sadie Hawkins Stakes for state0bred fillies and mares. Against a field largely comprised of older distaffers, Moonlit Song gained command from post 10 through the clubhouse turn, maintained a modest lead through honest fractions down the backside, shifted gears on the far turn then drew off to a seven-length score in 1:25.87.

A homebred three-year-old daughter of Fiber Sonde owned and trained by Tim Grams, Moonlit Song recorded her second straight stakes score, her fourth stakes tally of the year and now owns seven wins from nine starts this year and eight wins and $187,000 banked from 11 career tries. She was the solid 7-5 favorite in the Sadie Hawkins and will likely be the odds-on choice in the $150,000 Cavada against similar foes over the same strip on the West Virginia Breeders Classics card on Saturday, Oct. 14.

One race earlier, William and Mary (Antonio Lopez) maintained the perfect start to his career when he gained command soon after the break, rebuffed a brief challenge from Punch Your Brother (Katie Davis) and drew clear to a five-length score in the $50,000 Henry Mercer Memorial for state-bred two-year-old colts & geldings by getting the 4 1/2-furlongs in 52.02. A homebred juvenile son of Windsor Castle owned, bred and trained by James W. Casey, William and Mary has won both of his starts and banked nearly $40,000 and now looms the odds-on choice for the $80,000 Vincent Moscarelli Memorial here on WVBC night.

One race earlier on the card, Noblame (J.D. Acosta) was equally impressive while taking the $50,000 Rachel's Turn Stakes for state-bred two-year-old fillies. A juvenile daughter of Breeders Cup Classic hero Blame trained by Joe Sharp for owners Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch, Noblame remained perfect from three career tries when she pressed the pace three-wide down the backside and through the far turn and then drew off to a six-length score in 52.27 for the one-turn dash distance. She now looms the odds-on choice for the $80,000 Triple Crown Nutrtion BC here on Oct. 14.