Casey juveniles moved to head of Charles Town class
by Frank Vespe
Talk about a strong hand.
Trainer James W. Casey’s Taylor Mountain Farm breeding and racing operation has for years turned out high-quality West Virginia-breds, and it’s looking like 2017 and beyond will continue the trend. Last night at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Casey’s top two-year-old duo — the filly Bound to Windsor and the gelding William and Mary, both by Windsor Castle — ran one-two in the faster of two divisions of the West Virginia Futurity and solidified their spots at the head of the local freshman class.
William and Mary had made short work of his foes in Henry Mercer Memorial Stakes in late September, winning the 4 1/2 furlong test by over four lengths. But he was ineligible to compete in the Vincent Moscarelli Memorial on West Virginia Breeders Classics night, leaving that event up for grabs.
Meanwhile, Bound to Windsor ran down Noblame late on WVBC night to win the Triple Crown Nutrition; her speedy time of 1:19.85 — over a second faster than the boys went in the Moscarelli — gave Casey confidence his distaff runner could compete with the boys in the Futurity.
And compete she did.
Under Luis Batista, Bound to Windsor settled in fourth, a couple of lengths behind the pace of stablemate William and Mary, making his first start since September 23 and hounded in the early going by longshot Zep.
When Zep tired after a half-mile in 48.17 seconds, Batista immediately moved Bound to Windsor to the attack outside of William and Mary and jockey Christian Hiraldo.
William and Mary — 1-5 at post time — still held a half-length advantage with a furlong to go, but Bound to Windsor (4.20-1) had the momentum. She wore down William and Mary to win by a half-length in 1:26.44 for seven furlongs. It was over nine lengths back to Our Biz in third; the top pair got the last furlong in a sharp 12.65 seconds.
How sharp was that last eighth?
The answer was provided one race later in the second division of the $50,000 Futurity. That’s when a leg-weary Punch Your Brother — worn out from the early exertions of a 47.21 second half-mile — labored home in 14.89 seconds while still holding late-running True Heir safe by over a length. The final time of the second division, 1:28.31, was nearly two seconds slower than the first, though it’s worth noting that the second divison was contested over a main track rated muddy, versus the fast main track of the lid-lifter.
Punch Your Brother, a Brother Derek colt trained by Hugh McMahon and ridden last night by Katie Davis, now has two wins and a pair of runner-up tries from five starts and has earned $70,287.
But he was a distant second to William and Mary when they met in the Mercer, and it seems likely he’d have been well behind both that runner and Bound to Windsor had they all competed against each other in the Futurity.
The loss was William and Mary’s first in three tries, and he’s earned $56,822 to date. Bound to Windsor now has won three of four starts overall, including two stakes. She has earnings of $88,001.
There are two more restricted, seven-furlong, $50,000 stakes for juveniles on the Charles Town calendar: the Eleanor Casey Memorial for fillies on December 2 and the Tri-State Futurity for two-year-olds on December 23.
However he chooses to handle his two budding stars, it looks likely that Casey will send out the favorite in both.