(Charles Town, WV) – The only time the fast and consistent race mare Sweet Goodbye ever lost a race at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races was last year when she fell down in the paddock before the $250,000 TVG Sugar Maple and subsequently finished second in the race to Pinkarella.
On Saturday night, Sweet Goodbye, a winner of five other starts at Charles Town, returns to her favorite stomping ground for another go at the TVG Sugar Maple, a seven-furlong stakes test for fillies and mares, 4-years-old and up.
The race, which attracted a field of 10, is the chief supporting stakes race for the Grade 3, $1 million Charles Town Classic.
Sweet Goodbye, a 6-year-old daughter of Preakness Stakes winner Louis Quatorze, dropped four straight races after the Sugar Maple last year, but Maryland-based trainer Chris Grove was thrilled to see her bounce back in her most recent start, an 11½-length victory in an allowance race on March 26 at Charles Town.
That race was at the TVG Sugar Maple distance and gave Sweet Goodbye her 11th victory in 20 lifetime starts. She has won seven stakes races in her career and earned $538,572.
“Last year, she ran second and did a belly flop in the paddock before the race,” Grove said. “Up until this last race, she hadn’t run real awesome since then, but she got herself together and ran really good.
“Everyone was expecting her to go back to her form of last year, and it’s very hard to keep them at her level. She didn’t return this year as strong, but now I think she is as good as she’s going to get. She has an advantage (in the TVG Sugar Maple) because of her affinity for the track. That’s strong. A lot of horses don’t like those tight turns and she goes around them pretty good.”
Two tough stakes horses have shipped up from Tampa Bay Downs to take on Sweet Goodbye. Choragus, trained by Anthony Reinstedler, and C C’s Pal, in the barn of Derek Ryan, finished 1-2 on Februay 26 in the Wayward Lass Stakes at Tampa, with Choragus winning by three-quarters of a length.
The 6-year-old Choragus, a daughter of Harlan’s Holiday, finished second to Spritely in the 2009 running of the Sugar Maple and has competed at 10 different racetracks in her 22 career starts.
“You can take this one and run her anywhere,” Reinstedler said. “She’s as honest as they come. She’s run over the (Charles Town) racetrack, and there’s a definite advantage. I want to win the Sugar Maple. That would make my spring. I know she’ll run a big race. I’m not worried about her.”
Ryan and Reinstedler share a barn at Tampa, so are intimately familiar with each other’s operations.
Asked earlier in the week about a possible rematch for C C’s Pal with Choragus, Ryan quipped, “I hope she’s not coming.”
His 4-year-old filly, however, also has a familiarity with Charles Town, having finished third last September in the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks. In the Wayward Lass, a 1 1/16-mile race, C C’s Pal made the lead but couldn’t hang on.
Ryan has given the mount to jockey Kendrick Caramouche, who won the first Charles Town Classic on Researcher two years ago and rode Derwin’s Star to victory over C C’s Pal last year in the Charles Town Oaks.
“It’s important to have a guy with experience on the track,” Ryan said.
C C’s Pal worked four furlongs in 48 seconds last Sunday at Tampa before shipping north.
Hyperlink, trained by Ken McPeek, enters the TVG Sugar Maple off a second-place finish in the Queen Stakes on March 26 at Turfway Park. The 4-year-old daughter of Toccett beat Choragus in the Manatee at Tampa Bay in January at seven furlongs.
Three local hopes have been entered, Shefoggedmyglasses, for trainer Larry Myers; Carolina Tapper, for trainer Donald Shuler; and Holly’s Way, who has been working at Charles Town since March for her new trainer, Keturah Obed-Letts.
Carolina Tapper has three straight second-place finishes at the distance at Charles Town. Shefoggedmyglasses is coming off a fast-closing third-place effort in a handicap at the track on Feb. 28.
“She runs good on this track, and they’re calling for rain this Saturday, and she’s a good mudder,” Myers said.
Bwana Babe won a $15,000 starter handicap on Wednesday at Aqueduct and was promptly entered in the TVG Sugar Maple by trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
Five Diamonds is attempting to rebound following a sixth-place finish last out in the Conniver Stakes at Laurel Park.
Belle of Camden completes the field.
$250,000 TVG Sugar Maple
April 16, 2011
Race 9 – Post time 9:45pm EST
Fillies & Mares, 4&up, 7 furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Five Diamonds, Harry Vega, 118, John E. Salzman, Jr.
2. Bwana Babe, Michael J. Luzzi, 120, Rudy R. Rodriguez
3. Sweet Goodbye, J.D. Acosta, 118, Christopher W. Grove
4. Carolina Tapper, Wesley Ho, 116, Donald W. Shuler
5. Belle of Camden, Angel Serpa, 116, Alejandro Maymo
6. Choragus, Leandro R. Goncalves, 123, Anthony L. Reinstedler
7. C C’s Pal, Kendrick Carmouche, 116, Derek S. Ryan
8. Hyperlink, Alan Garcia, 123, Kenneth G. McPeek
9. Shefoggedmyglasses, Katie Reynolds, 116, Larry M. Myers
10. Holly’s Way, Gustavo Larrosa, 116, Keturah Obed-Letts
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Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, a Penn National Gaming property, is a world-class entertainment venue offering visitors nearly 5,000 slot machines, 87 table games, 30 poker tables, live and simulcast horse racing and a wide range of food and beverage choices, including Zen Noodle, the 350-seat Epic Buffet and the gourmet Final Cut Steakhouse. The historic Charles Town Races has hosted live thoroughbred racing since 1933 and began offering gaming to visitors in 1997. Conveniently located about an hour from the Baltimore and Washington DC beltways, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is one of the region’s fastest growing gaming and entertainment destinations with more than four million visitors each year.
Hotel accommodations can be found on property at the Inn at Charles Town, which features 153 comfortable guest rooms including 18 spacious suites that overlook live thoroughbred racing action. Guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast buffet and wireless internet access. They can further unwind by taking the complimentary shuttle service to enjoy racing, table and slot action and a diverse selection of dining options at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. The Inn at Charles Town offers a variety of venues to host business or social functions.
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