Navy Sword slices to My Sister Pearl win

What Saturday’s My Sister Pearl Stakes at Charles Town Races may have lacked in star power – the winners of the West Virginia Breeders’ Classics Cavada and Distaff both skipped the nine-furlong fixture – it made up for in excitement.

In a thrilling finish, Navy Sword stubbornly held off the bid of Seneca Rocks to prevail by a desperate head and earn, in her 24th career outing, her first stakes win in the 1 1/8-mile test for West Virginia-bred fillies and mares.

Navy Sword is a homebred for trainer Jeff Runco’s Coleswood Farm, Inc. operation. A five-year-old daughter of Bodemeister, she now has six wins and $179,179 in earnings from those 24 starts.

In five seasonal outings prior to the My Sister Pearl, she had been in the money four times. Last time out in the WVBC Distaff, she had run a good second – five lengths clear of the rest – behind stablemate Stowe Angel, who defended her 2021 title with a two-length triumph.

When Runco opted to have Stowe Angel pass on the My Sister Pearl, that brightened the outlook for Navy Sword considerably. And when owner-trainer Kristy Petty passed on the My Sister Pearl with her Cavada winner Hessica, that helped even more.

Despite that, Navy Sword was off at 7.80-1, with favoritism falling to Runco’s other charge, The Sky Is Falling, who was the narrowly beaten favorite in the Cavada. Also on hand were Cavada show horse Azzurra and Seneca Rocks, winner of the WVBC Department of Tourism for three-year-old fillies.

Navy Sword
Navy Sword held off Seneca Rocks to win the My Sister Pearl Stakes. Photo by Coady Photography.

When the gates opened in the My Sister Pearl, it was the Anthony Farrior-trained Someday Is Today, who had skipped the WVBC races, who jetted to the early lead under Jeiron Barbosa, opening up three lengths in a 23.57-second opening quarter. Navy Sword, with Marshall Mendez up, was towards the rear of the field, with stablemate The Sky Is Falling to her outside and about seven lengths off the leader.

Someday Is Today continued to maintain a clear advantage for the first three quarters, which went by in 1:13.74, while Mendez got his mount going as the field traveled the backstretch. They were still three back of the leader entering the turn, but Navy Sword had momentum on her side.

She drew even with the leader at the eighth pole, while Seneca Rocks drew up to her outside. Those two inched clear of Someday Is Today with virtually nothing separating them. Navy Sword finally prevailed by a head in 1:55.88 over a fast main track. It was two lengths farther back to Someday Is Today, who was third and a neck better than Azzurra. Favored The Sky Is Falling never fired and finished sixth.

Navy Sword returned $17.60 to win, with the exacta paying $52.20 on a one-dollar wager.