Runco to the 'Rescue' on Classics Night

Sea Rescue gave trainer Jeff Runco three wins in the West Virginia Breeders Classics.

Coleswood Farm’s Sea Rescue rallied strongly heading into the far turn and gradually edged away late to post a 57-1 upset in the $450,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic for state-bred runners Oct. 16 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.

The win gave trainer Jeff Runco three wins on the all-stakes nine-race program that offered more than $1 million in purses for West Virginia-breds. Runco and his wife, Susan, own Coleswood Farm, so Runco’s night was even bigger.

Sea Rescue, a 4-year-old colt by Brahms out of the Dixieland Band mare Heater, was ridden by Xavier Perez. Sea Rescue covered the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:53.71.

The track record for the distance is held by Researcherat 1:49.76. Runco trained that graded stakes winner and two-time Charles Town Classic champion before he was switched to train as a steeplechase horse earlier this year.

Taylor Mountain Farm’s Colonel J W, part of a heavily favored entry with Russell Road, finished second in the Classic, a head behind the winner. Black Belt was third and Russell Road, the defending champion, finished fourth.

“The horse ran great,” Runco said after the race. “We’ve been dying to run him long, we know he can go long, and we thought we could get a piece. We obviously didn’t expect this.”

Runco as trainer also won the $67,500 West Virginia Farm Family Insurance & Vincent Moscarelli Breeders’ Classic for 2-year-olds with Golden Set, and the $67,500 West Virginia Division of Tourism Breeders’ Classic for 3-year-old fillies with Stowe White.  Both horses are owned by David Raim.

The only other trainer to saddle three winners on West Virginia Breeders Classics night is John A. Casey, who did so in 1999.

Charles Town officials reported this year’s Breeders Classics set an all-sources handle record of $1,526,418, up 27% from the previous high of $1,200,425 in 2002. Ontrack handle for nine live races was $186,185. Attendance at the racetrack/casino wasn’t reported.