Moonlit Song headlines wide-open Sylvia Bishop
by Frank Vespe
Saturday’s $50,000 Sylvia Bishop Memorial Stakes is a reunion of sorts.
The seven furlong test for West Virginia-bred three-year-old fillies, which takes place Saturday evening at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, brings together three runners that were all part of a four-horse photo in a July 27 allowance race over the strip.
Dynamic Union, the one runner of that quartet not contesting the Bishop, which offers the winner automatic entry to the West Virginia Division of Tourism Breeders Classic, won her follow-up start against allowance foes.
This race will have a full starting gate, as 13, including three also-eligibles, are entered. Moonlit Song (3-1) gets the nod as the favorite in here. She finished fourth in that allowance tilt, but that came after a bad stumble at the start that took her out of her normal front-running game. She was beaten just a length after rallying to loom a major threat before flattening out. The speedy Tim Grams trainee has won six of nine overall, including two 4 1/2 furlong stakes, but she’s never gone seven furlongs. Christian Hiraldo will ride.
Leading trainer Jeff Runco sends out Honeymoon Cruise (7-2), whose determined late rally missed by a head July 27, though she was then disqualified to fifth for coming over on a rival. She’s won four of seven races overall, including three of four at the distance, among those the Eleanor Casey Memorial Stakes last December. Arnaldo Bocachica will ride.
The July 27 winner, Lies and Scandals (9-2), was dead game in holding off the cavalry that day and arrives here with a three-race winning streak. She stopped badly in her only try at seven furlongs, but that was just the third race of her career; all three of her recent wins have come at 6 1/2 furlongs, so the two-turn trip is not beyond her. Fredy Peltroche is up for John McKee.
All the way outside, Tricky Windsor (4-1) carries the Taylor Mountain Farm banner for trainer James Casey. She owns two wins at the trip, though last out she finished fourth behind Dynamic Union. Regular pilot Christian Hiraldo chooses the favorite in here, so Antonio Lopez is up.
Post time for the Bishop Memorial is 9:49.
THE SYLVIA BISHOP MEMORIAL STAKES FIELD
- Honeymoon Cruise (7-2) — Fast-closing second last out (prior to DQ), Archarcharch filly owns three wins at the trip, including a stake, comes from the powerful Jeff Runco barn, and gets Arnaldo Bocachica, with 94 wins, in the irons
- Unaquoi (10-1) — Speedy Gattopardo filly has found success on the lawn, which won’t do her much good here; Figgins trainee gacked up a five-length lead in the stretch in her only seven-furlong try; Jose Montano’s up
- Moonlit Song (3-1) — Fiber Sonde filly is a Grams family affair, had a five-race win streak snapped last out after bad stumble cost her accustomed early position; no starts at the distance has a win at 6 1/2 furlongs to go with two stakes scores; figures to be involved in the early running under Christian Hiraldo
- Lies and Scandals (9-2) — John McKee trainee was dead game in winning allowance test last out, holding off rivals late after attending solid early pace; only seven-furlong try was a mess, but that came in third career start; enters with three straight wins, all at 6 1/2 furlongs
- Charitable Heart (15-1) — Another Figgins runner, this one will need some things to go right to have a shot, and a zippy early pace — which seems possible, perhaps even likely — wouldn’t hurt; she finished second to Lies and Scandals in her last start, which was two back for that rival
- My Sweet Charity (12-1) — This Charitable Man filly has taken a big step forward in last two for trainer Marion Cuttino, winning both with much-improved speed figs and showing versatility to press or close; Wesley Ho is aboard a horse who’s kind of an outsider here, but offers an intriguing upset possibility
- Scottish Denis (15-1) — Two-year-old promise — including a WVBC win — hasn’t really panned out for this James Casey trainee, who has just a single win from eight starts this year
- Groomed to Rock (15-1) — Deep closer trained by Stephen Reggetts hasn’t been worse than third in four tries at the trip, but hasn’t shown ability to compete with the best of these either
- Spanish Moss (10-1) — Up-and-comer from the Runco barn is a little behind some rivals developmentally — she didn’t debut until March of her 3-year-old season — but she’s flashed some ability and thrashed allowance foes last out; Gerald Almodovar is up
- Tricky Windsor (4-1) — Casey trainee owns two wins at the trip but was bested by Dynamic Union last out and will need to show continued improvement here; Antonio Lopez rides
- (ae) Gallant Calling (10-1) — Another Grams runner, this one will need a big one to best rivals, many of whom have defeated her in previous races; Oscar Flores will ride
- (ae) Starlight Flight (10-1) — Runco trainee hasn’t done much wrong in brief career with two wins from six starts; hasn’t raced since June, though recent works look fine; winless in three tries at the distance
- (ae) Lady Jane (20-1) — Laurel-based runner trained by Tony Aguirre broke her maiden by five last out but is unlikely to draw in