WVBC: Greenway Court guns for fourth Dash title
by Ted Black
Trainer James W. Casey won’t be able to saddle the talented William and Mary in Saturday’s West Virginia Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders Classic for two-year-olds.
But, while the promising youngster’s absence is certainly a disappointment, a couple of other horses might help allay those feelings for Casey. He will send out proven older runners Greenway Court in the West Virginia Dash For Cash and Charitable Annuity in the Classic.
The ageless Greenway Court has won three of the four previous editions of the West Virginia Dash For Cash, and he has now won four of the last five runnings of the It’s Only Money, the local prep for the Dash. In 2013 and 2015 he won both races, so this could be his third time capturing the stakes double.
“He’s eight years old and he’s not as fast as he was a few years ago, but he loves this track (and) he loves those 4 1/2-furlongs races,” Casey said of Greenway Court, who sports 17 wins and $450,000 banked from 33 career outings. “Depending on how he does this weekend, this might be his last start. He was off most of the year, although I probably entered him 12-15 times from January through the summer and the race never went, so I had to run him seven furlongs just to get a race in him. But he bounced back from that and ran well in the It’s Only Money.”
Greenway Court is the 9-5 morning line favorite for the Dash and will have Christian Hiraldo in the irons. The top four finishers in the It’s Only Money — a group also including Cat Come Home, Nay’s Back, and Eutaw Street — all are entered in the Dash.
Casey will also be seeking another score in the $350,000 Classic with Charitable Annuity, hero of the 2015 edition of the race at age three who was second to the late Slip The Cable last fall. Charitable Annuity ended his prior campaign by taking both the A Huevo Stakes over the local strip and then shipping to Penn National to take the Swatara, but this year he has only recorded one victory from six starts and he finished a modest fifth as the favorite in the $50,000, seven-furlong Frank Gall Memorial here on the “Race For The Ribbon” card. He arrives with 14 wins from 27 career tries and earnings just shy of $700,000 and is the 9-5 morning line favorite for the Classic.
“He came out of that race okay, but he didn’t come back great from his last workout,” Casey said. “I don’t think it’s anything that will keep him out of the Classic, but he didn’t appear right to me so we had the vet take some x-rays to see if anything might show. The Classic is really, really wide open this year. There’s no real standout. A lot of the horses have really done well at seven furlongs, but I think my horse is the only one in there that likes a mile-and-an-eighth.”
Among the horses that have performed well in seven-furlong events who will be looking to stretch their talents to three turns this weekend are Ello Govna (4-1) and Follow the Notion (6-1). Ello Govna was a sharp allowance winner earlier on the Pink Ribbon card, recording a faster clocking (1:25.52) than Unrideabull (1:26.22) did while winning the Gall for the same distance that evening.
Follow the Notion won the seven-furlong WVBC Onion Juice a year ago and was third in the nine-furlong A Huevo. He was subsequently disqualified from a trio of wins with naproxen positives and returned on Pink Ribbon night with a decent third-place effort. He’ll have Luis Batista in the irons, as regular pilot Jose Montano picks Ello Govna.
Ello Govna has won twice in seven starts this year and owns a 7-3-3 slate and $150,000 banked from 23 career outings, although he has only hit the board once in five tries outside of Charles Town and like many of the horses nominated to the Classic his best efforts to date have been in the two-turn races going seven panels.
Although he handled older foes in the Frank Gall, Unrideabull is going to bypass the Onion Juice and seek to continue his dominance against his fellow three-year-olds in the seven-furlong West Virginia Lottery, in which he is the 9-5 favorite. A sophomore son of Bullsbay owned, bred and trained by Michael Sterling, Unrideabull heads into the WVBC card riding a three-race win streak, and he boasts five wins from seven career outings and earnings of just over $125,000. Prior to defeating older foes in the Gall, Unrideabull trounced his classmates in the Robert Leavitt Memorial.
Unrideabull’s chief foe may turn out to be the New York shipper Grumpelstiltskin (2-1). Trained by Jeremiah Engelhart, he broke his maiden in the winter at Aqueduct and in his last two has finished third in a pair of allowance races, one at Saratoga and one at Belmont. He owns the race’s top Beyer speed figures.
Among the locals, trainer Jeff Runco sends out both Aaron’s Tap (6-1) and Brass Bull (10-1) for the WV Lottery, while James W. Casey counters with Charitable Hero (15-1) and Jacky’s Man (8-1), both allowance winners last out.
The Onion Juice, a seven-furlong affair for older state-bred runners, also appears wide open. Help a Brother (8-5), the 2015 winner and runner-up in last year’s Onion Juice and a sharp second to Ello Govna last out, appears to be peaking at the right time for owner-trainer Lewis E. Craig, Jr. Runco’s In The Fairway, third as the 3-5 choice in last year’s Onion Juice, also looms a contender here, and the Mike Butts-trained Royal Blue (7-2) has three wins at the trip.