Sherwood Lady
Sherwood Lady won earlier this year. Photo by Coady Photography.

Stakes action at Charles Town Races kicks off Saturday evening April 17 with the $75,000 Original Gold Stakes for older, state-bred fillies and mares. It’s not only the first stake of the season in West Virginia, but it also kicks off a sequence of four consecutive Saturdays with a featured stake.

The seven-furlong test has attracted a field of a dozen, only 10 of whom will actually start.

Not surprisingly, leading conditioner Jeff Runco is doing his share to fill the starting gate; he’s slated to saddle three, and all of them look to be competitive here.

See Ya Manana is, at 7-2, the morning line favorite and will have the services of Runco’s go-to rider, leading local pilot Arnaldo Bocachica. The Creative Cause mare, a 10-time winner with career earnings of $251,355, will be hunting her first stakes win, though she has been stakes-placed four times, most recently in December when third in the My Sister Pearl Stakes.

In her most recent tilt March 19, See Ya Manana was a two-length winner in a field that included two rivals she’ll see today in Sherwood Lady (8-1) and Letts Go to Dixies (15-1).

Sherwood Lady has been a consistent money-earner for trainer Mike Jones, Jr., finishing in the triple five straight and last out winning a starter allowance. Luis Batista has the mount on a runner who, like See Ya Manana, will seek her initial stakes tally.

By contrast to the consistent Sherwood Lady, Letts Go to Dixies has alternated good and bad outings for trainer-owner Keturah Obed-Letts. Controlling the pace up front seems to be the key for the four-year-old Fiber Sonde filly, and jockey Javier Rivera will try to do that.

Runco will also saddle the homebred Power Forward (4-1), as well as Amelia Bedelia (6-1). The former has won six of 12 starts and here will make her initial foray into stakes company with Fredy Peltroche up. The latter is an eight-time winner seeking her first stakes tally; Carlos Marrero is named.

Two other runners in the field have single-digit odds.

Owner-trainer Tim Grams will send out the homebred Malibu Splash (5-1). The Nicanor filly has five wins from 20 career starts, has been in good form of late, and has earnings of $117,170. This will be her first stakes try, but she has some immediate family with plenty of stakes experience; her big half-sister by Fiber Sonde, Moonlit Song, won five stakes and earned over $400,000 for Grams. Christian Hiraldo is named.

Trainer John McKee will send out Brigintine Island (9-2). The Jersey Town mare is a five-time winner in her career and will make just the second stakes start of her career, and the first since 2019. Regular pilot Reshawn Latchman will ride.

West Virginia-bred Original Gold, trained by Ronney Brown, won back-to-back runnings of the WVBC Cavada in 2004 and 2005. Last year, the Original Gold went to Anna’s Bandit, who won by six as the 2-5 favorite for her second consecutive win in the event.

This year’s Original Gold will go off as the eighth race in Saturday’s nine-race card with a post time of 10:32.