If the morning line is accurate, tonight’s $30,000 White Alley Handicap at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races figures to belong to the shippers.
Four of the seven runners — the top four runners in the morning line — are based elsewhere. Meanwhile, of the three locally based runners, Cynthia O’Bannon trainee Morningisbreaking has the shortest odds at 10-1.
Stakes winner Brenda’s Way, a Damon Dilodovico trainee based at Laurel, is the 9-5 morning line favorite and the 122-pound highweight in the White Alley, a 1 1/16 mile handicap for fillies and mares three years old and up. She’s been away since a ninth place finish at long odds in the Grade 3 Du Pont Distaff at Pimlico in May but has worked well in the interim. She won the Geisha against Maryland-breds impressively in April and figures to gun for the lead under rider Jevian Toledo.
Brenda’s Way figures to be the speed of the speed, but others may push her. Penn National shipper Cherished Obsession (5-2), trained by Stephanie Beattie, has typically shown good speed going a route of ground. Breaking from the outside under local rider J.D. Acosta, she may have the opportunity to work out a good stalking trip.
Walk of Stars (9-2), a Maryland-based filly trained by Mike Trombetta, is another who’s usually forwardly placed. All three of her career wins, from 13 starts, have been in front-running fashion on bullring tracks. She broke her maiden by 30 lengths (!) last August at Timonium and has won two of three tries at Charles Town.
The fourth shipper, Eddy Gourmet (7-2), dazzled in winning the Conniver against Maryland-breds in March but has struggled to find the range since. She has the tactical speed to work out a good trip, and while she’s won on the lead does not need it. The bad news: the Hugh McMahon trainee hasn’t shown much interest in stretching out beyond seven furlongs.
The locals, meanwhile, seem likely to have their hands full. The most accomplished of them, Morningisbreaking, has won five of 12 career starts and took the Original Gold Stakes against WV-breds, though that win came via disqualification. Her career-best Brisnet speed figure, 91, is competitive here and came at this 1 1/16 mile distance — but it came in front-running fashion, which she seems unlikely to reprise.
Both Scattin’ Girl (12-1) and Birch Circuit (15-1) earned their most recent wins against claiming types. Scattin’ Girl, trained by Sandy Dono, beat $12,500 claimers back in December but is winless in five tries against allowance types this season, including defeats to Morningisbreaking and Walk of Stars. Birch Circuit beat $5,000 claimers last out, when she was claimed by owner Timothy Hulings and trainer Analia Larrose, who is winless in 14 tries this year.
The White Alley is race seven, with a 9:58 post time.