West Virginia-bred horses from across the state are gearing up for the lucrative Oct. 20 Breeders' Classic races, which offer purses totaling $1.75 million at Charles Town Races & Slots Oct. 20.
The night will kick off with six $100,000 races, followed by the $350,000 West Virginia Jefferson Security Bank Cavada Breeders' Classic Stakes for fillies and mares. The card will then be highlighted by the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders' Classic Stakes.
A field of 10 will go postward in the feature race, with four other horses also eligible.
Confucius Say is looking to defend his two-time Breeders' Classic title. The 9-year-old son of Eastover Court was almost not allowed to enter the race when his owner, Randy Funkhouser, recently had his license suspended by the track stewards after they accused him of deceiving the West Virginia Racing Commission and having personal interests in getting a rival horse scratched from a July 4 race.
Independent hearing examiner Oscar Bean ruled in Funkhouser's favor Oct. 16, however, finding that the commission had failed to sustain its burden of proof for its accusations against Funkhouser, who also acts as president of the state's Horsemen's Benevolent Protective Association.
Confucius Say, an earner of more than $700,000, has won or placed in 16 stakes in a 35-start career. Trained by George Yetsook, he races in the name of Funkhouser's O'Sullivan Farms. Confucius Say won the Breeders' Classic in 2001 and 2002.
Going up against the gelding is Running Rhythm Farm's Brigader, a two-time stakes victor with the second-highest bankroll in the field. Although the son of Gneiss has lifetime earnings of more than $275,000, he's been unable to score a win since last winter. Brigader is trained by Frankie Martinez.
Threes a Crowd, who won the Sept. 22 Robert R. Hilton Stakes, is also sure to provide a challenge in the Breeders' Classic. The son of Ecton Park is owned by Taylor Mountain Farm and trained by James Casey. The third-place finisher of the Robert R. Hilton, Eastern Delite, will also contend for the Classic.
There are three horses entered in the Classic that will be making their stakes debuts: Ainthatrighthoney, Double Tollgate, and Castina, who is the only filly in the field.
Rounding out the field is Charles Town stakes winner Fancy Dan, Mining Shaft, and Seeking the Cash.
West Virginia Breeders' Classic Stakes, $500,000, Oct. 20, 1 1/8 miles, 10:15 p.m. EDT
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Ainthatrighthoney, 122, Arnaldo Bocachica
2. Eastern Delite, 122, Oscar Flores
3. Confucius Say, 122, Larry Reynolds
4. Castina, 119, Alcibiades Cortez
5. Double Tollgate, 122, Gerald Almodover
6. Fancy Dan, 116, Thomas Clifton
7. Three's A Crowd, 122, Travis Dunkelberger
8. Brigader, 122, Dale Whittaker
9. Mining Shaft, 122, Anthony Mawing
10. Seeking the Cash, 122, Luis Perez
AE Staubach, 122, Arnaldo Bocachica
AE The Real Seal, 116, Carlos Castro
AE Vanastash, 122, no rider
AE Easter Sunrise, 122, Fredy Peltroche