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Jeff Nations

Deep field for Winter Handicap

The winter season can sometimes seem a bit of a drudgery at Charles Town Races. Unlike many Mid-Atlantic horse tracks, live racing does continue through all but the harshest weather at Charles Town. But with no stakes races scheduled from most of December until April 16 (the six-stakes Charles Town Classics card), the quality of racing inevitably drops off. Top runners and familiar champions are rarer sights during the cold months, as claims racing and ship-ins from other tracks dominate the nightly cards.

That makes tonight's $35,000 Winter Handicap a welcome treat for Thoroughbred fans, as a talented field is set to run in the seven-furlong test for older horses. Included among the surprisingly deep group are Grade 3 winner No Advantage, a seven-time starter at Charles Town and winner of the 2009 Wild & Wonderful Stakes in addition to the 2009 William D. Schaefer Handicap (G3) at Pimlico. The Stephanie Beattie-trained 6-year-old finished as runner-up just 1 1/2 lengths behind eventual Eclipse Award winner Blame in that same race a year later. Jockey J.D. Acosta will ride No Advantage, likely the race favorite.

A serious challenge could be provided by Peppi Knows, the runner-up in the 2009 Remsen (G2). The 4-year-old Timothy Kreiser-trained gelding finished sixth as the 2-1 favorite in the $75,000 Auld Lang Syne at Parx Racing on Dec. 31, a race won by No Advantage. Jockey Gerald Almodovar will ride Peppi Knows.

Up to four other stakes winners dot the field, among them Crimson Comic (Memorial Day Handicap at Mountaineer Park), Rummy's Command and Peaceful Bliss. Another multiple stakes winner, Kruger Park, is the first also-eligible and could make the field in the event of a scratch.

Post time for Tuesday's racing is 7:15 p.m., with the Winter Handicap (eighth race) set for a post time of 10:25 p.m.

Here's the field with post positions:

$35,000 Winter Handicap

February 1, 2011

Race 8 - Post time 10:25 p.m.

3&up, 7 Furlongs

PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer

1. Leobuster, Luis A. Batista, 114, Patricia A. Simpson

2. Peppi Knows, Gerald Almodovar, 121, Timothy C. Kreiser

3. Tap Tap I Win, J.D. Acosta, 116, Bruce M. Kravets

4. Evening Concerto, Erick Ramirez, 116, Ollie Figgins, III

5. Luckifee, Travis L. Dunkelberger, 115, Rodney Jenkins

6. Straight Thunder, Fredy Peltroche, 115, Fernando Ferriera

7. Crimson Comic, Clifford D. Dooley, 118, Mark Shuman

8. Peaceful Bliss, Erick Ramirez, 118, Michael T. Beck

9. No Advantage, J.D. Acosta, 124, Stephanie Beattie

10. Rummy's Command, Vernon Bush, 117, Donald Blankenship

AE - 11. Kruger Park, Arnaldo Bocachica, 113, Carlos Moreno

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