June 22, 2024

Cavalry Charge leads parade of upsets on Fair Grounds turf

Cavalry Charge (inside) just lasts in the Fair Grounds Stakes (Photo by Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.)

Double-digit prices were the order of the day in the three Fair Grounds turf stakes on Saturday, as Cavalry Charge ($72.60), She Can’t Sing ($51), and Pyron ($41.40) all recorded their first stakes victories.

Fair Grounds S. (G3)

The Dallas Stewart-trained Cavalry Charge entered the Jan. 22 Colonel E.R. Bradley S. on the upswing, but retreated to ninth as a 5.70-1 chance. The son of Honor Code was accordingly ignored at 35.30-1 in the $150,000 Fair Grounds S. (G3), and rebounded to post a frontrunning upset.

Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, William Sandbrook, and Robert Masiello, Cavalry Charge leveraged his rail post to wrest the lead from the wide-drawn Two Emmys. The 3.20-1 Two Emmys had his head in front through the opening quarter in :24.79 on the firm turf, but deferred in his outside path when Cavalry Charge was intent with Brian Hernandez.

The five-year-old gelding got away with tepid splits of :49.70, 1:14.10, and 1:40.10 (if that :26 fourth quarter is accurate on the chart), and had just enough left to hold on in a blanket finish. The 3.80-1 Adhamo closed furiously on the outside to miss by a head in his American debut for Chad Brown, while Halo Again was the same margin back in third, and 2.70-1 favorite Santin was another neck astern in a grinding fourth.

Defending champion Captivating Moon was a belated fifth, followed by Monarchs Glen, Largent, Point Me By, Forty Under, Two Emmys, and Major Fed.

By negotiating about 1 1/8 miles in 1:53.06, Cavalry Charge advanced his record to 16-5-2-2, $394,956. The bay was winless in his first seven starts on dirt, but broke his maiden in his turf debut at Churchill Downs as a sophomore in 2020. Cavalry Charge methodically cleared his allowance conditions in 2021, winning two straight at Kentucky Downs and Keeneland to finish the season, and turned the page second off the layoff here.

Bred by Glencrest Farm in Kentucky, Cavalry Charge was purchased for $375,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling. His dam, Sweet Talkin, is a Candy Ride half-sister to Grade 1 winner Adieu and Grade 3 scorers Direct Line and Rapport. The mare is also a half to multiple stakes-placed Clay’s Rocket, dam of smart sprinters Laurie’s Rocket and Greeley’s Rocket and ancestress of Necker Island.

Albert M. Stall Memorial

Lothenbach Stables’ homebred She Can’t Sing hadn’t raced around two turns for almost two years, but the stretch-out sprinter relished the opportunity and sprang a 24.50-1 surprise in the $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial. Trained by Chris Block and ridden by Jareth Loveberry, she stayed on up the rail to collar 2.90-1 favorite Pass the Plate.

She Can’t Sing was reserved in a ground-saving spot well off the pace dictated by Adelaide Miss in fractions of :23.67 and :48.80. The pacesetter wilted quickly after passing six furlongs in 1:14.84, and Abscond was among those pouncing.

But Pass the Plate appeared to have the most momentum as the contenders fanned out in the stretch. The late runner perhaps struck the front too soon, however. Taking over from Abscond a furlong out, Pass the Plate wandered a bit and lost the plot.

She Can’t Sing, on the other hand, was just finding her purpose on the inside. Gathering steam the further she went, the five-year-old got up by a neck and clocked about 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.22.

Pass the Plate was a neck up on Abscond, and I Hear You worked her way into fourth. Next, after a six-length gap, came Amiche, Drapes, Dawn’s Dancer, Out of Sorts, and Adelaide Miss. Mo Normal was withdrawn.

She Can’t Sing has now earned $411,938 from her 27-5-6-4 line. Plying her trade in sprints on dirt, turf, and a couple of times on Arlington’s Polytrack, the bay was making her third start of the Fair Grounds meet. She was a distant second in the Jan. 1 Nelson Menard Memorial and sixth in the Jan. 29 Frederick Aime Memorial, both at about 5 1/2 furlongs on the lawn.

The Kentucky-bred has a routing pedigree, as a daughter of Bernardini and the Distorted Humor mare Distorted Music. This is the family of Grade 1-placed stakes scorer Moon Over Miami, and further back, Grade 1 stars Musical Chimes and Music Note (dam of Dubai World Cup [G1] hero Mystic Guide).

Colonel Power S.

Third to Just Might in both the Nov. 25 Thanksgiving Classic on dirt and the Dec. 26 Richard Scherer Memorial over this turf course and distance, Pyron mowed down the 7-10 favorite late in the $98,000 Colonel Power S. The 19.70-1 shot went last to first under a patient Declan Carroll.

Just Might, who blasted to the lead through splits of :22.44 and :46.37, built up a 2 1/2-length lead by midstretch. But the exuberant frontrunner began to come back to the field in the final furlong. Although a trio of grays closed in, it was the chestnut Pyron on the outside rallying best of all. Nabbing Just Might by a half-length, the Al Stall Jr. trainee completed about 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.60.

Gray Attempt was another neck away in third, with Seven Scents rounding out the superfecta. Strike Me Down checked in fifth, followed by a non-threatening Cowan and Toro Strike, who did himself no favors by chasing Just Might in his U.S. debut. Inhalation was scratched.

Ken Copenhaver’s Pyron, a $40,000 claim at Keeneland during its ad hoc meet in July 2020, improved his scorecard to 18-5-2-5, $355,925. The son of Candy Ride has also placed in the 2019 Mahony S. at Saratoga for his original connections, breeder Winchell Thoroughbreds and Steve Asmussen, and in the 2021 Palos Verdes (G3) when trained by Mark Glatt.

The Kentucky-bred six-year-old is a half-brother to stakes winner Adhara. Their dam, the stakes-placed Tapit mare Tapatia, is related to 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) victor Tapizar.