Clubman tabbed as favored in Mint Mission Overnight Stk.
Clubman was much the best in the Maryland Coalition Stakes at Timonium last August. Photo by Jim McCue.
The stakes portion of Charles Town’s 2020 racing calendar kicks off Saturday evening with the #35,000 Mint MIssion Overnight Stake, a 6 1/2-furlong test for four-year-olds and up.
While most of the eight runners (after one early scratch) are locally-based, though, it’s the Maryland-bred and -based Clubman who’s been tabbed as the 3-1 morning line favorite.
Trained by Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon, Clubman has won 10 of 37 career starts with earnings of more than $440,000. Most recently, he rallied late to be fourth in the $100,000 Dave’s Friend Stakes at Laurel Park, but his resume includes ample evidence he’ll thrive in this spot. In fact, both of his added-money victories have come on bullring tracks: the $75,000 Russell Road Stakes last April over this strip and the $75,000 Maryland Coalition Stakes last August at Timonium.
Xavier Perez has the mount.
Perennial leading trainer Jeff Runco is in with a pair in the Mint Mission, and both look to be live. Dial Operator (7-2) has won five of eight starts and earned $175,540. The New Jersey-bred son of Dialed In, a homebred for New Farm, ran second in last August’s New Jersey Breeders Handicap for NJ-breds at Monmouth Park in just his second try versus stakes company. Runco’s go-to rider, Arnaldo Bocachica is named.
Runco will also send out the speedy Aaron’s Tap (5-1), a 13-time winner in 25 career starts with earnings of just shy of $300,000. The West Virginia-bred Northern Afleet gelding has won three stakes over the strip and enters off a gate-to-wire win in allowance company here. Christian Hiraldo will do the honors.
Recent claim Fear the Turtle, another West Virginia-bred, is 9-2 on the morning line for trainer Jesus Cruz and Wasabi Ventures Stables LLC. Claimed for $12,500 three races back out an allowance/optional claiming event at this track, Fear the Turtle paid immediate dividends by scoring at a higher level in his bow for the new connections; and last time out, he ran sixth in the Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial Stakes at Laurel Park. Overall, Fear the Turtle has nine wins from 20 career starts with earnings of nearly $150,000. He’ll be seeking his first stakes win with Angel Cruz in the irons.
By contrast, trainer Javier Contreras will send out Last Print, a horse that’s close to home: a son of Fiber Sonde he bred and owns, as well as trains. Last Print (6-1) has won seven of 12 career starts and never been worse than third, while compiling earnings of more than $130,000. The third-place finisher in October’s West Virginia Dash for Cash Breeders’ Classic, he’ll be seeking his first-ever stakes win. Carlos Delgado will ride.
Mean Bean (15-1), Nova Boy (8-1), and Rescue Five (15-1) complete the field.
The Mint Mission will go as the eighth race on the card with a projected post time of 10:30
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