The Charles Town Connection Grows

The 4-year-old filly Dance to Bristol has come a long way. And so has Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.

A $42,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale, Dance to Bristol made her career debut at Charles Town in September 2011, and finished second, beaten a nose, in a maiden special weight event. Two years later, the Speighstown filly is a legitimate candidate for the Breeders' Cup.

Owned by Susan Wantz and trained by Ollie Figgins III, Dance to Bristol has won her last seven starts, the last five in stakes. The stakes spree began with a romp in the $250,000 Sugar Maple at Charles Town in April and most recently the grade I Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

In the seven-furlong Ballerina–a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" event–Dance to Bristol finished a head in front Book Review, a grade I winner who last year won the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. The Sugar Maple and the Oaks aren't graded--yet–but they are further indication of the type of horses that have come out of Charles Town stakes the last several years.

Groupie Doll, the champion female sprinter of 2012, finished a close second in the Charles Town Oaks in 2011, and a year later won the grade I Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

Game on Dude, who is making a serious bid for Horse of the Year honors in 2013, finished second in the 2011 Charles Town Classic, then a grade III event. This year, perhaps lured by a guaranteed $1 million check for the winner, took the Charles Town Classic–now grade II–in his grittiest effort of the year thus far.

It would seem the above-mentioned horses could all show up for this year's Breeders' Cup World Championships and have legitimate chances. The fact they all have connections to Charles Town is more evidence of the new dynamic in horse racing: Money talks and it can bring credibility to a racing program; it just takes some time and commitment.


Leave a Comment:

Howard da Walker

Ollie Figgins 3rd is a great young horse trainer. If he gets the horses he can rise right to the top of the world standings. He has tons of talent and ability. Is honest as the day is long. A good man. A fine horseman/.

27 Aug 2013 12:53 PM
Bill Rinker

Thanks for a nice article Tom, and shining a little light on Charles Town. While being a small track, Charles Town has a lot to offer on a big scale. Many of the upper-class horses that come through Charles Town fair well in their next outings. It's worth noting that many of the undercard races on these Grand Feature event days are loaded with very good talent as well. The excitement that comes with these races is really special. I'll never forget when local favorite Researcher won his second classic. He is a very leggy horse (I would guess at 16-3 hands) who could handle those turns with ease, when he started over taking the field the crowd began to cheer to the point of a great roar. I had never felt that type of exhilaration before, and it is something I'll never forget. This years race was another nail biter also, as Ron The Greek made a big run to draw close to Game On Dude and Clubhouse Ride. With the Charles Town Oaks in sight, I can't wait to see which fillies will draw in, and I'm sure it will be another successful and rewarding event. I would highly encourage anyone interested in horse racing to visit Charles Town. With the exception of Sunday all racing takes place during the evening. It's a great place to spend a little time, and there are several nice places to stay very close to the track. In addition to that Historic Harper's Ferry is only a short ride away.

27 Aug 2013 11:09 PM
Daniel Jividen

Everything's up to date in West Virginia.  Not only is Charles Town now offering some first-class racing but so is Mountaineer Park in Chester W.V.  

28 Aug 2013 11:18 AM

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