(From Charles Town)
With his superstar Rachel Alexandra waiting to make her next start, another 3-year-old filly punctuated a big night for trainer Steve Asmussen when Four Gifts took the $250,000 Charles Town Oaks by a half-length over Royal Card. Four Gifts’ win provided Asmussen and jockey Robby Albarado their third stakes win on Charles Town Races & Slots inaugural Race for the Ribbon night Aug. 15.
Four Gifts, the odds-on favorite and daughter of Even the Score , got a perfect trip sitting right behind pacesetters Beware of the Bop and Love that Dance. Jockey Luis Perez struck the lead with Love That Dance entering the far turn, but was quickly collared by Four Gifts before turning for home. Albarado opened up a two-length lead in mid-stretch while holding off Royal Card in the final half furlong. Love That Dance checked in third, 4 1/2 lengths behind Royal Card.
In the $100,000 Miss Shenandoah for 2-year-old fillies, Asmussen and Albarado were at it again as Kinsolving took top prize, outgaming the Charles Town-based Down Town Allen to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Coming off a disappointing effort in the Schuylerville at Saratoga, Kinsolving was still sent off as the even-money favorite in the field of eight. Kinsolving took the lead from a stubborn Down Town Allen in mid-stretch and completed the 4 1/2 furlongs in :52.08. Richiesgirlgotgame and Kendrick Carmouche finished third, 1 3/4 lengths behind the runner-up.
While Four Gifts won the richest race on the card, the most impressive winner on the night was Western Smoke who took the $100,000 Charles Town Juvenile by 12 1/2 widening lengths. Sent off at odds of 3-5, Western Smoke was never headed when cutting out quarterly fractions of :22.61, :45.76 and 1:10.96 under Albarado. The 2-year-old son of Smoke Glacken stopped the clock in 1:24.99 for the seven-furlong race. Kratisto took the place spot, seven lengths in front of third-place finisher Bellissima Luna.
In the first six-figure race of the night, a familiar name to Charles Town stakes action came out on top in the $100,000 West Virginia Sprint Derby, when the Scott Lake trained Ju Jitsu Jax rolled home to a 5 1/2 length win. Under jockey J.D. Acosta, Ju Jitsu Jax took the race in a blazing final time of :50.97 over Mike Trombetta’s Pilansberg. Big Push’s third-place finish was Albarado’s only losing mount of the night.
The track-side attendance for Charles Town Races & Slots Race for the Ribbon night was 4,851, besting the total posted for the Sprint Festival held on June 20. Charles Town will hold their next racing event night on Oct. 17 when the track plays host to the 23rd running of the West Virginia Breeders’ Classics.