Owner David Raim hoping for big WVBC night

Owner David Raim hoping for big WVBC night

Penguin Power won the 2020 Onion Juice. Photo by Coady Photography. by Ted Black, courtesy of TheRacingBiz.com For much of the past 20 years, owner David Raim has enjoyed ample success on West Virginia Breeders Classics night with horses trained by Jeff Runco. That includes victories from T Rex Express, Golden Set, Bullets Fever and Penguin Power, the two-time defending champion of the Onion Juice. On October 9 Raim could be headed for his most lucrative outing as an owner with the potential favorite in three events, including the $150,000 West Virginia Breeders’ Classic. Raim’s horses have recorded 145 victories and earned just over $3.5 million lifetime, with T Rex Express leading the way and Golden Set, Penguin Power and the unbeaten Bullets Fever not far behind. Despite that success, thus far the Classic has eluded Raim. He will, however, send out the likely favorite in that event in Muad’dib. That runner, a full-brother to multiple graded stakes winner Late Night Pow Wow, is perfect through seven starts to date. Muad’dib earned his seventh straight win and first in stakes company August 27 when he took the Frank Gall Memorial over the strip. In that race he rallied from mid-flight to the lead and then just held off stablemate North Atlantic to win by a neck. “I really hope Muad’dib wins the Classic,” Raim said of the unbeaten son of Fiber Sonde, who captured the $75,000 Gall Memorial in his stakes debut despite a rough beginning. “That would really mean a lot to me and to Jeff. He’s done everything right so far. He also overcame so much to...
Fancy Her Up flashes major talent

Fancy Her Up flashes major talent

Fancy Her Up. Photo by Coady Photography. by Ted Black, courtesy of TheRacingBiz.com On September 18, when a waxing gibbous moon offered a scenic backdrop to the racing card on a crystal clear evening, Charles Town presented a trio of one-turn stakes races that may have helped provide a little more clarity for the upcoming West Virginia Breeders Classics card here in three weeks. Perhaps appropriately, given the astronomical situation, a local star may have been born. In the $75,000 Rachel’s Turn Stakes for state-bred two-year-old fillies, Fancy Her Up, with Gerald Almodovar in the irons, regained her winning ways when she darted to command soon after the break and cruised home in the lane to a five-length score while stopping the timer in 51.60 as the 4-5 favorite. That time was easily faster than the boys managed it one race prior and virtually identical to that recorded by older runners one race later. Fancy Her Up is a juvenile daughter of Juba out of a Smoke Glacken mare. John A. Casey bred, owns, and trains her, Fancy Her Up recorded her second win from three starts and rebounded from a subpar outing on the turf at Colonial Downs in her previous try. “She’s always been really fast and today she was on her game right from the start,” Casey said. “I really don’t know what happened at Colonial. She didn’t get a great start and then she rushed up on the turn and then flattened out. But she broke good tonight and Gerald rode her out a little past the wire. I think she’s got enough natural early...
WVBC contenders coming into focus

WVBC contenders coming into focus

Dr. Feelgood is by Fiber Sonde. Photo by Coady Photography. by Ted Black, courtesy of TheRacingBiz.com When the dust settled after the end of the lucrative Charles Town Classic card August 31 that included a quartet of stakes races for West Virginia-breds, many of the paths to the upcoming West Virginia Breeders’ Classics night in early October began to be clear. The evening’s finale was the $75,000 Frank Gall Memorial for state-bred older runners, and the deep, contentious event was comprised of runners who will be pointed either to the Classic at nine furlongs or to the Onion Juice at seven panels. Of course, the top two finishers, both from the same barn, will be pointed for the main event on the WVBC card, where an identical finish would not be completely unexpected. Trainer Jeff Runco unleashed a trio of runners in the Gall. Muad’dib, full-brother to the multiple graded winner Late Night Pow Wow, entered unbeaten in six career outings and making his stakes debut as the tepid 2-1 choice in a stellar local field. Another Runco trainee, the durable and consistent North Atlantic, had won a recent allowance event, while Penguin Power, previous hero of the Gall and the Onion Juice, was looking to regain his winning ways. While Penguin Power would provide the early tempo, it was Muad’dib and North Atlantic who made their presence known in the lane. Muad’dib, who was steadied and appeared to clip heels briefly behind a foe entering the clubhouse turn, saved ground down the backside then angled out turning for home to overhaul one stablemate and outlast his other one, North Atlantic, for a...
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...