John McKee’s really big night

John McKee’s really big night

Dr. Feelgood is by Fiber Sonde. Photo by Coady Photography. by Ted Black, courtesy of TheRacingBiz.com Though longtime local owner, breeder and trainer John McKee opted to watch Saturday night’s West Virginia Breeders Classics from his home at Beau Ridge Farm, the octogenarian horseman certainly had a major impact on the nine-race card. McKee won races on the card as an owner, trainer, and breeder. And Fiber Sonde, the stallion he stands, sired five winners on the card. All told McKee had a winning hand in five of the nine stakes on the card. “He’s certainly been a blessing for us,” McKee said of Fiber Sonde. “I probably could have charged more for him, but I like to keep his book full and $1,000 just seems fair. He’s had horses win early and win as older horses. They’ve won sprints and they’ve won going long. It was a big night. Anytime you can win one of those races on the big night up here you feel grateful. But I won two and Fiber Sonde won three others for me, so I’m happy with that.” Just before the midway portion of the card, Youthinkthatsfunny (Reshawn Latchman) forged a mild 3-1 upset in the $70,000 Vincent Moscarelli Memorial for state-bred two-year-olds. A juvenile son of Fiber Sonde owned, bred and trained by McKee, Youthinkthatsfunny surged to command down the backside and then outkicked Pilot In Command and Officer Appeal for a three-length score while stopping the timer in 1:21.42 for the 6 1/2-furlongs in his first try around two turns. “He was able to work out a great trip and it looked...
Awsome Faith rallies for Classic stunner

Awsome Faith rallies for Classic stunner

Photo by Coady Photography. by Ted Black, courtesy of TheRacingBiz.com Heading into the 34th edition of the $150,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic for state-bred three-year-olds and up traveling the three-turn distance of one-mile and one-eighth, most of the attention was right focused on post time favorite Runnin’toluvya. He’d already eclipsed the $1 million plateau in career earnings for trainer Tim Grams this year, but it had been an uneven campaign, Which Runnin’toluvuya would show up – the one that won this event by 10 lengths two years ago or the one that reared up in the gate and finished last year in his title defense? Having won the $50,000 Frank Gall Memorial last out and finished third in the Grade II, $600,000 Charles Town Classic one race prior to that, Runnin’toluvya was made the 2-5 the favorite in his third attempt at ‘Classic’ success. Only North Atlantic, the durable Jeff Runco trainee who was making his fourth start in the Classic, garnered much support as the 7-2 second choice. But neither would have the answers, and the ‘Classic’ produced its second straight shocker. Soon after the gates opened in the Classic, longshots Hero’s Man and Opera Nite both broke well to vie for command with Runnin’toluvya and North Atlantic sitting just off the leaders. The pace was quick early with Hero’s Man setting splits of 23.40, 47.14 and 1:12.76 for the first three calls. Runnin’toluvya and North Atlantic appeared to be sitting in ideal stalking spots to settle the issue later in a formful finish. But that’s certainly not how things unfolded in the lane. At the top of...
Bridging the Gap dominates in WVBC Cavada

Bridging the Gap dominates in WVBC Cavada

Photo by Coady Photography. by Frank Vespe, courtesy of TheRacingBiz.com Bridging the Gap wanted no part of the starting gate tonight before the $100,000 West Virginia Cavada Breeders Classic. She shook her head, shimmied in place, then reared up. Jockey Reshawn Latchman popped off, and for a moment, it appeared a storm could be brewing. But Bridging the Gap settled, Latchman re-mounted, and the duo proceeded to lay waste to their rivals en route to a 6 1/4-length victory.   “She was a little fractious in the gate, but she really wanted to run,” Latchman said. “Once she settled, she broke and then I knew she was good.” When the gates opened, Bridging the Gap was away quickest and showed the way. She set down solid early fractions – 23.55 seconds for the quarter-mile, 47.72 for the half – but was doing it well within herself. In the lane, Bridging the Gap opened up powerfully and cruised home to win by six lengths in 1:25.67 for seven furlongs on a fast main track. Lady Storm chased her from second all the way around to no avail but did hold the place spot, three lengths ahead of Sherwood Lady in third. “I didn’t really start asking her until the quarter pole,” Latchman said. “Then she just took off.” Bridging the Gap paid $2.40 to win was the 1-5 betting choice. The one-dollar exacta returned $4.00. Bridging the Gap earned her second consecutive stakes win and fourth win in a row overall. She now has eight wins from 13 career starts, and the winner’s share of the $100,000 Cavada pushed her...
Favorites foiled in WVBC baby races

Favorites foiled in WVBC baby races

Photo of Youthinkthatsfunny by Coady Photography. by Ted Black, courtesy of TheRacingBiz.com In consecutive races during the middle stages of the West Virginia Breeders Classics card on Saturday night, onlookers had a chance to glimpse the future when Charles Town hosted the $70,000 Vincent Moscarelli Memorial for two-year-olds and the Triple Crown Nutrition Stakes for two-year-old fillies in what would be the first attempt around two turns for most of the combatants. Heading into the Vincent Moscarelli Memorial for the boys, much of the attention was focused on Hopping Henry (Wesley Ho) the gray son of Juba owned, bred and trained by Michael Sterling who had prepped by taking the $50,000 Henry Mercer Memorial Stakes last month. With the addition of blinkers for the first time, Hopping Henry was made the even-money choice in the Moscarelli but he was felled by a rough trip and a familiar foe while well beaten in sixth. Soon after the gates opened in the Vincent Moscarelli Memorial, Uncle Funky and Youthinkthatsfunny both broke alertly while Hopping Henry was steadied behind them in tight quarters and never was able to settle down. Pilot in Command, third as the favorite in the Mercer, got away fourth and launched his bid down the backside and through the far turn but by then Youthinkthatsfunny had surged to command and the McKee homebred son of Fiber Sonde held safe the wide, late bid of Officer Appeal to score by three lengths in 1:21.42 as the 3-1 third choice. “My horse has a lot of speed and I just wanted to get away from there and stay out of trouble,” Latchman said. “I...
She Figures takes Distaff first off the claim

She Figures takes Distaff first off the claim

Photo by Coady Photography. by Frank Vespe, courtesy of TheRacingBiz.com There were a lot of ways to go In Saturday’s $70,000 West Virginia Roger Ramey Breeders Classic Distaff at Charles Town Races. You had the defending champ, B’s Wild Cork; the speedy Amelia Bedelia trying three turns for the first time; or Dubai Was Lit, who’d finished in the triple 13 straight races. A runner the bettors didn’t give much respect, though, turned out to be best of all. She Figures, making her first start off the claim for trainer Ronney Brown, pressed the early pace of Amelia Bedelia before taking over after three-quarters of a mile and then drawing away to a 7 ¾-length triumph. She Figures paid $24.40 as an 11-1 outsider in the contest and won for the seventh time in 14 career starts. The win pushed her earnings to more than $145,000. Not bad for a horse that Brown picked up for $15,000 out of her last start. “When I claimed her [on August 29] I just thought she wanted to go long,” Brown said following the victory. “I made a few adjustments with her and Luis [Batista] galloped her and he loved her. it’s tough to claim one and then win a stakes next out.” Brown, who claimed the daughter of Overanalyze from trainer Jeff Runco and owners Feebs Racing and Schnably Stable, did so for Kenneth Brown. She won the day she was claimed, her second straight victory and third in four starts. In the Distaff, Amelia Bedelia, the favorite trained by Runco, shot to the lead and pretty much threw out the anchor....