CHESTER - If recent form has meaning, there's reason for Revelstoke's status as the 8-5 morning line favorite in today's $75,000 Firecracker Stakes at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort. In her last start, on June 16 at Presque Isle Downs, the 4-year-old filly moved between rivals entering the stretch and drew off to a 4 1/2-length victory.
Presque Isle has a synthetic track and the Firecracker is run at one mile on the turf. Thoroughbred handicappers have learned that horses who win on synthetic ovals often tend to perform ably on the grass as well.
Revelstoke has a record that includes 19 starts, three wins, nine placings and purse earnings of $120,127. While she has yet to win in eight prior turf tries, she has placed eight times on what horsemen call "the lawn."
GETTING A VICTORY — Revelstoke cruised to a 4 1/2-length victory at Presque Isle Downs on June 16.
"I'm very optimistic," said Jimmy Corrigan, Revelstoke's trainer. "She has been a very consistent filly, although somewhat unlucky. There have been races where Revelstoke got crowded, where other horses blocked her path. I'm hoping that luck will be with us on Tuesday."
DeShawn Parker, Mountaineer's leading jockey, will pilot Revelstoke in the Firecracker. Parker was aboard when she broke her maiden on the Mountaineer dirt oval in April 2011. He rode her when she scored by 11 lengths in a Mountaineer allowance about 75 days later and was aboard for Revelstoke's recent Presque Isle win.
Revelstoke was bred in Kentucky, and there are international footnotes tied to her pedigree. Revelstoke's sire, Monashee Mountain, was purchased for $1 million at Keeneland in July, 1998 by the Coolmore syndicate, which is globally recognized as one of Europe's two most powerful racing operations (the other being the Maktoum family's Darley stable).
Monashee Mountain was modestly successful as a racehorse - he was a Group 3 winner, which is equivalent to being a Grade 3 winner on North America's shores. But after retiring from competition, he became what's known as a "shuttle stallion," annually doing stud duty in Australia and central Kentucky. Monashee Mountain has a son who has raced in Australia who is also named Revelstoke.
The dam of Revelstoke is Libeccio, who was bred in New Zealand, but is a descendent of Northern Dancer, Native Dancer, Master Derby and Dust Commander, all of whom were victorious in one or more North American Triple Crown events.
Revelstoke, herself, has twice placed in Mountaineer stakes. She finished a fast-closing second by three-quarters of a length to Lunar Mist in last year's Firecracker.
The following month, she finished second by 1 lengths to Kiss Mine in the West Virginia Senate President's Cup Handicap, which was run on the West Virginia Derby undercard.
Corrigan headquarters his 26-horse string at the Thoroughbred Center, a training facility owned and operated by the Keeneland Association near Lexington.
Purchased in a private transaction, Revelstoke campaigns for Thomas Campbell, whose nom de course is Souped Up Stables. Campbell used to have a partner, Rich Workman. When the latter passed away, Campbell assumed full responsibility for the operation.
"He loves racing, he loves his horses," Corrigan said.
If Revelstoke wins today, it will be the third career triumph for Corrigan in a stakes. Corrigan won the 2007 Dust Commander at Turfway Park with the 8-1 shot Recognition and the 2010 renewal of Mountaineer's Decoration Day Handicap with the 2-1 second choice Pardon.
Revelstoke and Corrigan almost won last year's Firecracker. And Parker will be shooting for his first Firecracker win. It's a team with a mission, and the odds say they can do it.
NOTES: Today's 10-race card, which also includes the $75,000 Independence Day Stakes and a pair of allowance sprints, will have an total purse distribution of $264,500, the highest at Mountaineer so far this year ... Hero of Order, who won the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at odds of 109-1 (ironically, on April Fool's Day), is viewed as a potential starter in Mountaineer's Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby on Aug. 4. The colt's trainer, Gennadi Dorochenko, runs horses at Mountaineer with fair frequency.