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...
Records fall in 2017 West Virginia Breeders Classics

Records fall in 2017 West Virginia Breeders Classics

by Ted Black While there was an equal mix of successful favorites and stunning upsets on the 31st edition of the West Virginia Breeders Classics at Charles Town on Saturday night, three of the winners on the card enhanced their resumes by establishing new stakes records for their respective events and perhaps gave an indication there could be more major success to come. Throughout the year, Moonlit Song (Christian Hiraldo) has been the dominant state-bred three-year-old filly, and Saturday night she capped her sophomore campaign by capturing the $125,000 Cavada Breeders Classic by three lengths in 1:25.83, establishing a new stakes record for the featured event for fillies and mares. A Fiber Sonde filly owned, bred and trained by Tim Grams, Moonlit Song ended her season with three straight stakes scores and eight wins from 10 starts overall and banked nearly $250,000. “Everything she did this year just impressed me,” Grams said. “She was really good from the start of the season all the way to the end. My other good filly, Fancy Buckles, was really good, too. She came close to winning the Cavada a couple of times. But this filly has another gear that Fancy Buckles didn’t have. She’s a big, strong filly and she just does it so easily. Tonight she didn’t want to change leads but she usually finds another gear. Now she’s going to get some time off and probably bring her back in March.” Hiraldo has been the regular pilot of Moonlit Song throughout the season, guiding her to five stakes victories, three against older rivals. On Saturday night in the Cavada, Moonlit...
Millionaire Lucy’s Bob Boy heads off to retirement

Millionaire Lucy’s Bob Boy heads off to retirement

by Frank Vespe Two of the most thrilling runnings of the West Virginia Breeders Classic have a common thread running through them. In both, Lucy’s Bob Boy and Russell Road played a prominent role. And tonight, on a crisp West Virginia evening, Lucy’s Bob Boy’s racing journey came to its deserved conclusion with a retirement ceremony prior to the 31st edition of the biggest racing day for West Virginia-breds. Perhaps fittingly, his retirement ceremony came one year after that of his longtime rival, Russell Road. “Last year we had a retirement ceremony for Russell Road and now we’re having one for Lucy’s Bob Boy,” said Carol Holden, president of West Virginia Breeders Classics. “They were quite a competitive pair who had a good rivalry.” Lucy’s Bob Boy scored perhaps his most memorable — and meaningful — victory in the 2012 West Virginia Breeders Classics when, as a three-year-old, the Flatter gelding blitzed the field to win by a shocking eight lengths over defending champ Russell Road. Two years later, in the 2014 Classic, those same rivals hooked up in a… well, classic Classic. They ran one-two all the way around the racetrack, Lucy’s Bob Boy holding a narrow edge at each point of call before his resilient rival surged late to win the Classic by just a half-length. None of which is to say that Lucy’s Bob Boy’s career could be boiled down merely to two races. In fact, the now-eight-year-old, bred by Robert Furr, Sr. and owned by his nephew Michael Furr, compiled one of the best careers of any West Virginia-bred in history while under the tutelage...
Slip the Cable romps on record-setting WVBC night

Slip the Cable romps on record-setting WVBC night

Slip the Cable took the Classic. Photo by Coady Photography. by Frank Vespe Susan Runco clutched the trophy to her. Remembering “those cold February nights when you’re waiting for a mare to foal,” she said, “This is what we breed them for.” “If I didn’t have her breeding them, I’d be in trouble,” added her husband Jeff, a trainer, who also hastened to credit the folks who work in his barn. The Runcos had plenty of reason to smile.  They had just watched their homebred Slip the Cable romp to a shockingly easy 7 1/2 length score in the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic, in the process dusting defending champ Charitable Annuity, who closed for second. The win capped a three-win day for Runco, who has 21 more wins than any other trainer at Charles Town — 105 to Ronney Brown’s 84 — and nearly twice as much in earnings (almost $2.2 million) as his nearest competitor. The Classic also capped a banner day for West Virginia Breeders Classics themselves.  The event, celebrating its 30th anniversary, recorded its highest-ever betting activity, with all-sources handle hitting $1,753,600 — well clear of the previous mark of a little less than $1.6 million, established in 2013. “We’re certainly glad the weather finally cooperated,” said WVBC cofounder Carol Holden on a night in which early drizzle gave way to clearing.  “As long as everybody gets around the racetrack safely and to the winner’s circle, that’s the best thing we can do.” And it was a night that saw NFL and West Virginia legend Sam Huff, with Holden the founder of the West Virginia Breeders Classics, return to...
Absent Candy One stars on WVBC night

Absent Candy One stars on WVBC night

Candy Man’s Girl wins the Cavada. Photo by Coady Photography. by Ted Black Trainer James W. Casey and his Taylor Mountain Farm have been a fixture in the West Virginia Breeders Classics virtually since its inception in 1987, and Saturday night the aging, albeit ageless conditioner and breeder made three trips to the winner’s circle. A trio of sires, Windsor Castle, Charitable Man and Denis of Cork accounted for Casey’s three winners on Saturday night, but one mare perhaps upstaged them when two of her offspring reached the winner’s circle. Candy One, a 13-year-old daughter of Yankee Victor out of the For Really mare Really A Fibber, is the dam of Greenway Court, who won the $60,000 West Virginia Dash For Cash that kicked off the card, and Candy Man’s Girl, who captured the $150,000 WVBC Cavada for fillies and mares. Another daughter of Candy One, Lucky Candy, was scratched out of the Cavada by trainer Michael E. Jones, Jr. “She’s been really good to me,” Casey said of Candy One. “We’ve had a lot of success with her. She raced a few times, and then we got her for a broodmare about 10 years ago and she’s a number of good foals for us. Greenway Court has probably been her best one so far, but Candy Man’s Girl keeps getting better and she’s already won the Cavada, which puts her right up near the top.” Like many successful broodmares, Candy One hardly distinguished herself on the track by winning just three times in 21 outings. She won the first two starts of her career at Charles Town for...