Late Night Pow Wow to bypass WVBC Cavada
Late Night Pow Wow won the Twixt Stakes at Laurel Park. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
In the weeks leading up to the West Virginia Breeders Classics, most observers assumed that state-bred star Late Night Pow Wow would look to regain her winning ways by defending her title in the $125,000 Cavada.
Had she, it would likely have had a domino effect, prompting other trainers to seek other spots on the card or at other venues altogether.
But after a troubled trip and sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters in her first attempt over a synthetic surface, trainer Javier Contreras has made the call to bypass the Cavada and pursue long-term plans of seeking her second straight score in the Grade 3, $250,000 Barbara Fritchie Stakes at Laurel Park in February. Contreras confirmed the strategy to The Racing Biz Tuesday night.
Were she in the Cavada, Late Night Pow Wow would have shared top billing on the card with Runnin’toluvya, defending champion of the West Virginia Classic and the Grade 2, $1 million Charles Town Classic.
“Initially, the plan was to go in the Cavada and then maybe look for another graded stakes race in Kentucky or New York,” Contreras said. “But she had a few little dings in the Presque Isle race, and really the best thing for her now is to get some rest. Our plan now is to give her a little time off and then point her for the three stakes at Laurel this winter with the main focus of having her ready for the Fritchie.”
Last fall, Late Night Pow Wow emerged on the scene by taking the Sylvia Bishop Memorial Stakes for state-bred three-year-old fillies in August. She then forged a nearly-10-1 upset by capturing the Grade 3, $300,000 Charles Town Oaks and came right back three weeks later to take the Cavada against older state-bred fillies and mares, including defending heroine, Moonlit Song.
After dominating rivals on her home track, the daughter of Fiber Sonde out of an Indian Charlie mare displayed the ability to take her show on the road.
Following her Oaks score, Late Night Pow Wow headed to Laurel Park to capture the $100,000 Willa On The Move Stakes and the $100,000 What A Summer Stakes. She then capped a nine-race win streak by edging Spiced Perfection, winner of the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita in her previous outing, by taking the Grade 3, $250,000 Barbara Fritchie Stakes. Although technically not her most lucrative tally, it was perhaps the defining moment of her career to that point.
“She was just doing so good all last winter,” Contreras said. “You know, after she won the Sylvia Bishop, people thought I was crazy for trying her in the Oaks. Then after she won that, I thought about giving her some time off, but she was doing so good we came back for the Cavada and won that. I thought about giving her a break then, but she was doing so good, I kept her going through the winter and she won three more stakes at Laurel, including the Fritchie when she beat a Grade I winner.”
But since the Fritchie, Late Night Pow Wow has only shown glimpses of her earlier success, and Contreras expects the break to be beneficial. She finished a hard-trying third in the Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland in April, returned this summer to take the Twixt Stakes at Laurel, and then was sixth in the Presque Isle Masters last month. Despite that effort, Late Night Pow Wow would likely have been the odds-on choice in the Cavada this weekend.
But a cautious Contreras is eyeing long term goals.
“If she came out of the Presque Isle race okay, I think she would have been tough to beat in the Cavada,” Contreras said. “But, really, the best thing for her now is to get some rest and some time off. The owners don’t have any plans to retire her anytime soon. They want to come back this winter and go for those three stakes at Laurel ending with the Fritchie.”
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