Graded stakes winners among nominees for Charles Town Oaks

Daily Staff Report –

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Sweet Reason and Miss Behaviour, the top two finishers in the Test (G1) at Saratoga last month, as well as Stonetastic — a recent runaway winner of the Prioress (G2) — top a list of 35 nominees for the $500,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3) coming up on Sept. 20 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. The Charles Town Oaks, which will be run as a Grade 3 for the first time, serves as the marquee race on the track’s sixth annual Race for the Ribbon program.

In her last start, Treadway Racing’s Sweet Reason added the Test to her growing resume that now includes three Grade 1 victories, with the other two coming in the Acorn on Belmont Stakes day and the Spinaway in September of her 2-year-old season. The 3-year-old daughter of Street Sense is trained by Leah Gyramati, who saddled Well Kept to a seventh-place finish in the 2012 Charles Town Oaks.

While Sweet Reason is currently slated to make her next start in the Cotillion (G1), also run on Sept. 20, Test runner-up Miss Behaviour appears poised to make her next start in the Charles Town Oaks for trainer Phil Schoenthal and owners Cal MacWilliam and Neil Teitelbaum. After winning the Miss Preakness in May, the Pennsylvania-bred Miss Behaviour was given more than two months away from the races before a trio of second-place finishes at Belmont Park and the recently concluded Saratoga meet. Beaten just a length by Sweet Reason in the Test, the daughter of Jump Start scored the lone graded stakes win of her career in last year’s Matron (G2) at Belmont.

Stoneway Farm’s Stonetastic, who defeated Miss Behaviour by 8 1/2 lengths in the Prioress, is also nominated for trainer Kelly Breen. Following a third-place finish on the turf in the Ginger Brew at Gulfstream Park, Breen gave Stonetastic more than six months off before returning her to dirt and the sprint ranks. That return has yielded overwhelmingly successful results with a 6 3/4 length allowance victory at Monmouth preceding her first graded stakes win in the Prioress. Stonetastic wouldn’t be Breen’s first Charles Town Oaks starter as he sent out Mr. Hall’s Opus to finish third in last year’s edition.

Ria Antonia has the distinction of being the leading money earner amongst the nominees on the strength of her victory in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). After being placed first in the Breeders’ Cup following She’s a Tiger’s disqualification, the filly now trained by Tom Amoss hasn’t been able to find the winners’ circle as a 3-year-old having dropped all seven starts in her sophomore campaign. Amoss would be looking for back to back wins in the Charles Town Oaks after So Many Ways emerged victorious in 2013 in what would be the final start of the Grade 1 winner’s career.

Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Size, who defeated Ria Antonia in the Iowa Oaks (G3) two starts back, completes the lineup of graded winners on the nomination list. The Bill Mott-trained homebred wasn’t worse than second in the first four starts of her career before stretching out to 1 1/4 miles in the Alabama (G1) and finishing ninth as the second choice to eventual winner Stopchargingmaria.

Todd Pletcher, fresh off his fifth consecutive training title at the Saratoga meet, has three nominated to the Charles Town Oaks, headed by the undefeated Dame Dorothy, owned by Bobby Flay. Pletcher joins Alan Goldberg (Feral Miss, Spunderful), Hugh McMahon (My Memories, Turf Craze), James Lawrence II (Cherie’s A.P., Pixie Dust), Michelle Lovell (Avicii, Awesome Jill) and Amoss (Kiss to Remember, Ria Antonia) as the conditioners with multiple nominees.

The Charles Town Oaks will be one of 12 races on the Sept. 20 Race for the Ribbon card and is currently slated to go postward at 10:30 p.m. Nominations for a pair of $100,000, seven-furlong undercard stakes — the Wild & Wonderful for horses ages 3 & up and the Pink Ribbon for fillies and mares ages 4 & up — close on Wednesday.

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