Fred High, making his third attempt in the rich West Virginia Breeders' Classic Stakes (VIDEO), upended previous winners Russell Road and Lucy's Bob Boy to post a mild upset at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races the night of Oct. 19.
Ridden by Wesley Ho for trainer John Robb, Fred High rallied from seventh with a six-wide move around the final turn on the Charles Town bullring and nabbed Russell Road with a determined rush to win by three-quarters of a length at 5-1 odds.
The $450,000 event was the highlight of an evening of stakes for West Virginia-breds.
The veteran 7-year-old Russell Road, looking for his third victory in the Classic, gave way grudgingly but had to settled for second in the 1 1/8-mile test. The 5-2 second choice, ridden by Matt McGowan, finished one length in front of 53-1 Clink Clink Clink.
Lucy's Bob Boy, an eight-length winner in last year's Classic who had won 13 of his previous 14 races at Charles Town, faded to ninth as the 3-5 favorite after setting the pace.
Edward R. Krishack's homebred Fred High was timed in in a slow 1:55.01 on a track rated fast. The 5-year-old son of of Crypto Star out of the Castline mare Cross Creek Rosie was sixth to Lucy's Bob Boy in last year's Classic and fourth behind Russell Road in 2011.
With Lucy's Bob Boy off the board, the show payoffs were impressive. Fred High paid $12, $6.80, and $12 across the board, while Russell Road returned $6 and and $9.80. The show payoff on Clink Clink Clink was $104.
Fred High was unhurried while racing three-wide in the first turn near the back of the 10-horse field. Lucy's Bob Boy, gunning to the lead inside of Russell Road, clipped off quarter-mile fractions of :24.25, :48.45, and 1:13.01.
Under heavy pressure from Russell Road heading into the final turn, the favorite continued to battle into the stretch before Russell Road took over and opened a 1 1/2-length advantage at the eighth pole. Fred High, still fourth at that point after rallying wide off the turn, finished with a flourish, however, to overtake the lifetime earner of more than $1.6 million.
Fred High defeated Russell Road in his previous start, the Roger Ramey Handicap Sept. 21 at Charles Town, by 2 1/4 lengths on a sloppy, sealed track. That was Fred High's first stakes victory. The bay gelding has now won three straight while improving his career mark to 8-11-5 in 34 starts with earnings of $489,388.
A race earlier, 3-5 favorite Fear the Facelift dominated her three opponents with a 12 3/4-length victory in the $180,000 West Virginia Jefferson Security Bank Cavada Breeders' Classic for fillies and mares.
Fear the Facelift ($3.20) is a 4-year-old daughter of Fear the Cape trained by Maryland-based Hugh McMahon for Premier Stables Unlimited and was ridden to victory by J.D. Acosta. Bred by Barbara Houck out of the Vice Regent mare Twochindordor, the gray/roan filly is an eight-time winner of $300,770 from 25 starts. The winning time for seven furlongs was 1:27.01.
McMahon claimed Fear the Facelift for $40,000 out of an allowance/optinal claiming event June 17 at Presque Isle Downs & Casino.The Cavada was her first victory from four starts for her new connections.