CHARLES TOWN - Derwin's Star hardly shined for a time.
It's hard to take the glimmer off the 3-year-old filly after she won the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks Saturday night at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Slots, part of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Ribbon program.
The winner of the richest sprint for 3-year-old fillies in the country, Derwin's Star arrived from a somewhat meager existence.
Derwin’s Star, ridden by Kendrick Carmouche, wins the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks Saturday night in Charles Town. (Journal photo by Ron Agnir)
"She's really an overachiever," said owner and trainer Steve Klesaris.
She was picked up last November in a $10,000 claiming race.
On Saturday night, she was beating the best, including odds-on favorite Belle of the Hall, which finished out of the money, and local favorite Down Town Allen, which also finished out of the money despite holding a lead for more than half of the race.
Once Derwin's Star charged to the lead on the next-to-the-last turn, there was no denying the horse.
"She moved up well," Klesaris said. "She took the lead and started widening."
Now the owner-trainer might be casting a wide net for his horse, looking at potential running her in the Breeders Cup. She is a nominee.
"It's race by race," Klesaris said. "We don't want to overdue it.
"There's no immediate goal. We're going to sit back and enjoy this.
Jockey Kendrick Carmouche figured he had the victory when the horses hit the first turn.
"I was sitting good outside," he said. "When we got to the backside, I said, 'Time to run.'"
For Klesaris, it was time to buy last November.
He didn't pick up Derwin's Star in the claiming race, but bought the horse as soon as he could. He would not disclose how much he paid.
"She's worth a lot more than $10,000," Klesaris said. "This has got to be one of the top fillies in the country."
Yet, Derwin's Star struggled with the synthetic surface at Woodbine in her previous race.
"It was a toss-out," Klesaris said. "I don't know what went wrong."
Little went wrong on Saturday as won by 4 lengths over Bronx City Girl and five lengths over show horse C C's Pal.
Down Town Allen, seemingly spent when the field caught her, finished fifth and Belle of the Hall wound up last in the field of nine fillies.
Derwin's Star paid $11.40, $6.60 and $5.40.
Charles Town Juvenile
Strike up the Band Box.
Ellen Charles certainly did when she paid slightly more than $100,000 to purchase the New York-bred Band Box, adding him to her barn of about a dozen thoroughbreds.
The 2-year-old, making just his second start, made it 2 for 2 as he ran easily past the field or as jockey Eric Camacho and trainer Rodney Jenkins both said: ran over the rest of the thoroughbreds.
"He was running over top of the horses," Camacho said. "I wanted him to settle in, but he was running. So I kept him happy."
Band Box is making his handlers happy.
"He's a nice horse," Jenkins said. "He speaks for himself."
Band Box was running for the first time on dirt. His first start came on turf.
He won by 91/2 lengths over Unleash the Humor. Another 9 lengths back was Star Zapper, which went off as the favorite.
"He's so big and long that I was scared of these (tight) turns," Jenkins said. "He's got a lot to learn, but he's got so much raw talent.
"He's a big-striding colt. He takes one stride and the rest need two or three."
He made big strides in winning the Charles Town Juvenile.
Jenkins has no immediate plans for his winner.
"We're going to go step by step, and he'll tell us where to go," Jenkins said.
It was the look that caused the horse's owner to strike up the Band Box.
"He's a handsome horse," Charles said. "Rodney loved him and a friend of mine who is a dog judge loved him, so I bought him."
He paid $7.80, $4.80 and $2.80.
Jenkins, based at Laurel, said, "We've been looking for the one. Maybe this is the one."
Prohibitive favorite Twelve Pack Shelly did not disappoint to win the $100,000 race for 2-year-olds..
Going off at 1-5, Twelve Pack Shelly jumped early in the 4 -furlong sprint and won going away for owner-trainer John E. Salzman Jr.
"I was surprised when she got the clear lead early," said Salzman, a self-annointed worrier.
Salzman was worried about Big Sweets, which came in off a stakes win and had won two of three races. Big Sweets wound up last in the field of seven.
"I'm just glad to get it over," Salzman.
Twelve Pack Shelly won its last time out at Monmouth, and Salzman had hoped to use the Miss Shenandoah as a springboard to running in the Maryland Million next month.
"The first time she ran at Laurel, she got the track record," Salzman said.
Salzman purchased Twelve Pack Shelly at a yearling sale a year ago at Timonium.
She hasn't disappointed me at all," Salzman said.
Twelve Pack Shelly ran second to Boys at Tosconova at Churchill Downs in April during a juvenile stakes race. Boys at Tosconova is considered the top 2-year-old in the nation.
Catinatree ran second, 43/4 quarters off the pace, and Mis Vizcaya finished third.
Twelve Pack Shelly, ridden by Harry Vega, paid $2.60, $2.20 and $2.20.
Pink Ribbon Stakes
Miss Dolce led the race wire to wire and held a sizeable advantage in the backstretch. Miss Dolce maintained its position as the field closed and ultimate held off the field.
Miss Dolce didn't win, however.
A challenge by jockey Travis Dunkelberger of interference down the home stretch led race stewards to disqualify her and drop her to second.
The disqualification meant Miss Red Delicious, which was challenging, won the $75,000 race, the 5-year-old's first victory in more than a year.
"I don't think the (No.) 2 horse was going to beat me," said Miss Dolce's jockey Luis A. Perez in the winner's circle as stewards debated the inquiry. "I tried to run her the best I could. I know she has speed."
Double Expresso finished third.
Miss Red Delicious paid $14, $6.60 and $3.40.
-- Rick Kozlowski can be reached at 304-263-3381, ext. 116 or email@example.com