Historic night for Raim, Runco, Boca

Historic night for Raim, Runco, Boca

Run to Daylight won the WVBC Vincent Moscarelli Memorial. Photo Coady Photography. by Frank Vespe, courtesy of TheRacingBiz.com David Raim was all smiles following a win in one of Saturday’s West Virginia Breeders’ Classics races. “So far, this is number one,” Raim said. “This is the best. This is the best.” It was a remarkable moment, not for what Raim, a longtime owner, said, nor for what he’d already accomplished, but for what was still to come. Raim, you see, had declared WVBC his “number one” racing day after the running of the Triple Crown Nutrition Breeders’ Classic for two-year-old fillies. That was just the second race on the card; there were seven still to come, and as it turned out, Raim would win three more, including the Classic itself. Raim’s historic five-win night provided the foundation for trainer Jeff Runco and jockey Arnaldo Bocachica to have remarkable evenings of their own. Runco, Charles Town’s leading trainer, went on to win seven WVBC races, while Bocachica, the track’s leading rider, won eight. Bocachica, who has 190 wins at the track, more than twice as many as any other rider, won aboard all seven of Runco’s winners, plus Door Buster, the Ollie Figgins, III trainee who took the WV Tourism Office Breeders’ Classic for three-year-old fillies. “It feels amazing, man, the best feeling ever,” Bocachica said. “Winning one is a good feeling. Now you win seven times: it’s a great, great feeling.” Boca had mounts in all nine races, also finishing fourth aboard the Runco-trained Aaron’s Tap in the 4 ½-furlong Dash for Cash won by Hypothesis for trainer Crystal...
Big night for broodmare Miss Henny Penny

Big night for broodmare Miss Henny Penny

Door Buster won the WV Tourism Office Breeders’ Classic. Photo Coady Photography. by Frank Vespe, courtesy of TheRacingBiz.com Call it a good week for Catherine Jennings. Jennings has five broodmares on her Charles Town farm, she said Saturday. One of those, Miss Henny Penny, made quite a splash this week. “I just told my husband I’m just savoring the moment tonight,” Jennings said Saturday evening. “Things like this don’t happen very often.” Perhaps not. But they may be happening for the next couple of years, anyway. On Monday Miss Henny Penny’s yearling colt by Tapwrit sold for $82,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale; that was the highest sales price of the eight West Virginia-breds to sell at that event. Then on Saturday her two-year-old filly by Cupid, The Sky Is Falling, and her three-year-old filly by Speightster, Door Buster, both won West Virginia Breeders’ Classics races. That made her the only broodmare to see two of her offspring win WVBC events this year. A yearling, two-year-old, and three-year-old with promise? That’s a pretty good spot to be. And there are more on the way. Miss Henny Penny is a homebred daughter of Half Ours for Jennings. She won three races in her career and earned a stakes placing in the 2012 West Virginia Division of Tourism Breeders’ Classic. “I’m the breeder of her,” Jennings explained. “We sold her as a yearling [for $62,000], and then we bought her back when her racing career was over.” That’s turned out to be a prescient decision. With Jennings and Kentucky-based Scott Mallory partnering on Miss Henny Penny, she’s thrown nothing...
Muad’dib proves best in WVBC Classic

Muad’dib proves best in WVBC Classic

Muad’dib won the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic. Photo Coady Photography. by Ted Black, courtesy of TheRacingBiz.com In the weeks leading up to the latest edition of the $300,000 West Virginia Breeders’ Classic for older runners traveling the three-turn distance of nine furlongs over the Charles Town strip, onlookers were seeking to find a knock on the unbeaten Muad’dib.The winner of the $75,000 Frank Gall Memorial in his previous start was looking to run his record to a spotless eight-for-eight. About all the skeptic could come up with was that Muad’dib had won only one stake in his brief career and had never tried three turns or nine furlongs before. Neither posed a problem for the son of Fiber Sonde, a full brother to graded stakes winner Late Night Pow Wow, who put the exclamation point on a remarkable night for his owner David Raim, trainer Jeff Runco, and rider Arnaldo Bocachica. When the gates opened in the latest renewal of the Classic, Hero’s Man was away well to gain the early advantage. Muad’dib sat just outside the leader through the far turn the first time, and neither appeared to be in any particular hurry.  Hero’s Man set modest fractions with Muad’dib looming just outside of him. They loped through the opening quarter-mile in 25.46 seconds, the half in 50.58, three quarters in 1:16.33. North Atlantic, making his fifth appearance in this event for Runco, was just behind the leaders. After stalking Hero’s Man through the first three calls, Muad’dib surged to command at the head of the lane and gradually edged clear late to a 2 1/4-length score while...
Star of Night scores in WVBC Cavada

Star of Night scores in WVBC Cavada

Star of Night won the WVBC Cavada. Photo Coady Photography. by Ted Black, courtesy of TheRacingBiz.com Heading into the latest edition of the $175,000 West Virginia Cavada Breeders Classics for fillies and mares, virtually all of the attention was on Star of Night. Though Bridging the Gap arrived as the defending champion, Star of Night arrived as reigning state-bred horse of the year and carrying a seven-race win streak that included two wins over Bridgin the Gap.  On a night when the trainer-jockey combination of Jeff Runco and Arnaldo Bocachica did little wrong, Star of Night lived up to her billing as the 1-9 favorite for the most lucrative score of her career to date. A four-year-old daughter of Creative Cause trained by Runco for owner Huntertown Farm (Eric Steinmann) and breeder Heinz Steinmann, Star of Night had defeated Bridging the Gap in the $75,000 Sadie Hawkins Stakes last out in the last local prep for the main event.  She was made the prohibitive choice despite breaking from post 10 and having a tendency to get away from the gate in tardy fashion. In that respect, neither the beginning of the Cavada nor the outcome offered any sense of surprise. When the gates opened, Coach Rube, one of three 99-1 shots in the field, broke well to assume command from Privately passing the finish line the first time. Meanwhile, Star of Night was away a step slow in typical fashion, then advanced widest of all entering the clubhouse turn. Coach Rube and Privately set the early fractions, but Star of Night loomed a menacing presence throughout under confident handling...
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...