The richest night of racing in West Virginia history takes place Oct. 17 when the $2-million West Virginia Breeders Classics program is held at Charles Town Races & Slots.
The nine-race, all-stakes program for West Virginia-bred runners attracted 85 horses, just five short of the maximum allowed given the fact Charles Town can start no more than 10 horses in a race.
Co-features on the program are the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles and the $500,000 West Virginia Cavada Breeders Classic for fillies and mares at seven furlongs. The other seven races are worth a collective $1 million.
Russell Road, a 3-year-old who is six-for-six in West Virginia-bred stakes, will attempt to go 1 1/8 miles—around three turns at Charles Town—in the Classic. Trainer James Casey said he’s taking and wait-and-see attitude.
“That’s really my biggest concern,” Casey said of the distance. “There are a lot of horses that close well going seven furlongs that just can’t stretch out much farther. I just hope we’re not one of them.”
The Classic field includes last year’s winner, Ghostly Thunder.
The Cavada Breeders Classic is headlined by Run Louis Run and My Sister Margaret, who finished one-two in the Ruth C. Funkhouser Memorial Stakes Sept. 25 at Charles Town. Another entrant is 2008 winner Julie B, who would clear the $1-million mark in career earnings with a victory.
Julie B checked in fifth in the recent Roger van Hoozer Memorial Stakes at Charles Town.
“She was off for five months before the van Hoozer,” trainer George Yetsook said. “That and she had to be five-wide down the backstretch. I’d be surprised if she didn’t run well.”
First post time for Classics night is 7:15 p.m. EDT. The Classic, with a post time of 10:45 p.m., will be shown live locally on Comcast SportsNet and on tape delay on some regional FOX Sports affiliates. As usual, the full card will be broadcast live on HRTV.