Bombs away as Lady T N T blows up G3 Charles Town Oaks
A fist pump from J. D. Acosta as Lady T N T wins the G3 Charles Town Oaks. Photo by Coady Photography.
On a night when a brief, heavy rain storm turned the racing surface muddy for the latter portion of the program, Charles Town hosted the latest edition of the Grade III, $300,000 Charles Town Oaks for three-year-old fillies and two other open stakes during the last one-third of the program.
While much of the attention in the Oaks focused on the bevy of shippers, including Irish Mischief (Joel Rosario) who was made the 7-5 favorite for trainer Brad Cox and La Chancia (Jose Ortiz), the 5-2 second choice for trainer Rodolphe Brisset, a pair of sophomore fillies with serious local ties were hard to overlook despite their long odds.
Parisian Diva (Jose Montano), the top West Virginia-bred filly this season for trainer Stacey Viands and owner-breeder Melinda Golden, was an overlooked 13-1 shot despite her fondness for the local strip where she owned a 7-2-1 slate and $170,000 banked from 10 starts. Lady T N T (J.D. Acosta) was even more severely overlooked at 37-1 although her trainer, Joe Sharp, is a West Virginia native and Acosta has won numerous stakes and riding titles over the oval.
In fact, when the gates opened for the 11th running of the Charles Town Oaks, Acosta knew precisely what to do with Lady T N T and sent the sophomore daughter of Justin Phillip to the front, while the two favorites, Irish Mischief and La Chancia, were both reserved well off the pace entering the clubhouse turn. Parisian Diva was in tight quarters passing under the wire the first time and had only one rival beaten leaving the clubhouse turn, but she would make her presence known later.
Lady T N T led the field through modest early fractions of 23.1 and 47 flat over the off going and only Fashion Faux Pas and Taylor’s Spirit stayed within striking distance through that point. La Chancia never reached contention but Parisian Diva passed several rivals down the backside and advanced into third with a furlong to run, while irish Mischief found her best stride leaving the quarter pole and rallied widest of all late to gain the place spot.
But after gaining the upper hand early and then being able to lead through only modest fractions, Lady T N T had plenty left in reserve and she cruised home three lengths clear of favored Irish Mischief to forge a 37-1 shocker while getting the seven panels in 1:25.23. Irish Mischief rallied stoutly to finish second in a good effort, while Taylor’s Spirit settled for third and Parisian Diva took home fourth money in a solid performance.
“Anytime this trainer ships one in here, you know the horse is going to be sharp, like the trainer’s name,” Acosta said. “I knew the one and the two had speed, but I thought I could get around them. Those riders like to take back and they’re great riders, but here you have to come out quick. When I made the lead and we went 23.1 and 47 they did me a favor. I had plenty of horse left turning for home. The trainer told me when she pricks her ears forward she never gets passed. I love coming back here to race. But I love the work. I rode five today at Delaware Park then came here to ride three more.”
Lady T N T had finished second three times in her first four outings this season, including a pair of stakes at Oaklawn Park, but her triumph in the Oaks was her first victory in five starts this year for owners Scott and Evan Dilworth, pushing her seasonal earnings to nearly $185,000. She now owns a 3-3-0 slate and almost $270,000 banked from 10 career outings and her tally in the Oaks was almost exactly one year after she had captured an allowance event at Churchill Downs as the even-money choice.
The genuine local commodity in the race, Parisian Diva, finished fourth in a good effort despite her early traffic trouble. The homebred daughter of Freedom Child has won a trio of state-bred stakes over the strip and now she has been second once and fourth, once, in two tries against open stakes company. Parisian Diva soared past the $200,000 plateau in career earnings from 12 starts and would have to be supplemented to one of the stakes on West Virginia Breeders Classics night here on Oct. 12 if her connections opt to bring her back in three weeks or wait for Maryland Million Day the following weekend.
One race earlier was the inaugural running of the $100,000 Dickie Moore Stakes for two-year-old fillies, named in honor of the longtime Racing Secretary and General Manager of the historic Jefferson County oval who was on hand for the presentation.
Despite racing greenly throughout and appearing to be no better than third with a furlong remaining, Colby (Jose Ortiz) rallied from just off the pace to overhaul Gifted Heart and Majestic Edge in the lane to score by nearly a length in 1:27.52.
“Jose said she was green the whole way,” said Tyler Servis, assistant trainer and son of trainer John Servis. “Dad didn’t give me any instructions to gve to Jose. She ran her race. The class showed in the end.”
Colby finished fourth in her career debut as the odds-on favorite in a maiden special weight at Parx then came right back to prevail in her next start at Monmouth Park over My Gift From Heaven and Cofactor, both of which have since come back to graduate. Servis was unaware of when or where his father would run her next, but was looking forward to the 200-mile return ride home knowing that the filly had garnered a stakes tally in the inaugural Dickie Moore, who was on hand for the presentation along with dozens of family and close friends.
Then one race earlier in the 11th running of the $75,000 Pink Ribbon Stakes for fillies and mares, Yorkiepoo Princess (Jose Ortiz) broke well to sit just off 8-5 favorite Classy Act (Luis Saez) through the clubhouse turn and down the backside, surged to command on the far turn and edged clear from the favorite in the lane to a two-length score by getting the seven furlongs in 1:25.21 over the sloppy track.
A five-year-old daughter of Kantharos whose only previous attempt over the oval was two years earlier when she ran second in the Oaks for different connections, Yorkiepoo Princess notched her first win in seven starts this year and now owns a 7-3-2 slate and over $650,000 banked from 27 career tries. She also boasts four wins and nearly $200,000 banked from 10 tries over an off track. Gonzalez took over the trainer for Yorkiepoo Princess just prior to her fourth-place effort in the Roamin Rachel Stakes at Parx and found the Pink Ribbon an ideal spot.
“We were kind of hoping for more rain,” Gonzalez said. “She’s always done well on an off track. I didn’t have to give Jose any last-minute instructions. knew if she broke well he would have her in a good spot. The way it worked out she just had to sit off [Classy Act] for the first half-mile. I thought she finished really well. She ran good here a few years ago [in the Oaks] so I knew she could handle this track.”
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