Kinross Corp.’s Researcher, winner of the first two editions of the Charles Town Classic, will make his return to flat racing March 26 in a $35,000 open allowance race at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
After winning the $1 million Charles Town Classic last year, Researcher, then a 6-year-old, began training over the jumps with an eye toward a career in steeplechasing. Earlier this year, his owner decided to again train him for flat racing with a goal of making the April 16 Charles Town Classic, now a grade III event.
Neil Morris took over the training of Researcher, a Virginia-bred by Two Smart, after last year’s Classic. The 7-year-old gelding previously was trained by Jeff Runco.
“We made a decision around Jan. 1 that we were going to create a plan for the horse to get back to this point and make an effort at the Charles Town Classic,” Morris told Charles Town officials. “He has done everything textbook so far that we’ve asked him to do.”
Researcher has posted three bullet workouts, the most recent a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.60 at Charles Town March 19. The allowance race March 26 is at 1 1/8 miles, the distance of the Classic.
“I don’t need to see a win on Saturday night,” Morris said. “I’m more interested in seeing him come from off the pace, make his run, and finish strong.”
One of the challengers in the six-horse field is Janet Wayson’s In The Juice, who is two-for-two at 1 1/8 miles—a three-turn race—at Charles Town. In The Juice, by Rock Slide , made his 2011 debut with a fifth-place finish March 16 at Laurel Park.
Nominations for the Charles Town Classic close April 1.