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Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: October 18, 3:35 PM ET
Handicapping the WV Breeders'

By Terry Turrell
Special to ESPN.com

West Virginia Breeders' Classic
Charles Town
1 ⅛ Miles
Three-year-olds & up
October 19, 2013
Post Time: 10:45.45 p.m. ET
Purse: $500,000

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town is a race track and casino, owned and operated by Penn National Gaming. It features a six-furlong track with one of the shortest distances from the last turn to finish line of 660 feet, while in comparison the distance of the Churchill Downs stretch run is 1,234 feet. The track record for the 1 ⅛ miles distance of Saturday's West Virginia Breeders' Classic is 1:49.76 and is held by Researcher.

The 27th Running of the West Virginia Breeders' Classic will be part of a nine-race card for West Virginia breds having been nominated to the West Virginia Breeders' Classics program. Total purse money will be 1.2 million. The seed for the West Virginia Breeders' Classic was planted after Sam Huff, former Washington Redskins and New York Giants football great and Carol Holden attended the 1986 Maryland Million. The first West Virginia Breeders' Class was held in 1987. Currently Sam Huff is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Classics while Carol Holden is the president.

The four-year old gelding Lucy's Bob Boy, with a record of fifteen wins and three runner up efforts from eighteen Charles Town starts will be the prohibitive public choice. One horse in the field, Russell Road, has beaten Lucy's Bob Boy and won twenty-two times over the Charles Town surface. Russell Road is the second highest money-earner of West Virginia breds with $1,532,918. The leading West Virginia bred is Soul of the Matter, who raced from 1993 thru 1996. Bred by Burt Bacharach's Blue Seas Music and racing for Bacharach, he was a winner of seven of 16 starts and earned $2,302,818. The ten listed starters and two also-eligibles all geldings.

A closer look by Post Position

1. RUSSELL ROAD (6-1)
Trainer: James W. Casey
Rider: Mathew McGowan
Owner: Mark E. Russell
Seldom missing a dance this seven-year old gelding has a lifetime record of twenty-six wins from forty-five starts with twenty-two of those wins over the Charles Town oval. Drawing the rail a plus for this horse-for-course, who can handle the sharp turns of this six-furlong track. He comes into this race off a bullet :58.4 work Oct 5, labeled a breeze. He will be on or near the lead throughout and at 6-1 odds on the morning-line cannot be ignored.

2. FIGPENN (30-1)
Trainer: O L Figgins III
Rider: J.D. Acosta
Owner: Ray M. Pennington III
The current Charles Town leading rider J D Acosta takes the call and he will need all his skill and some racing luck to earn a share of the $500,000 purse. This four-year old gelding has won all of his five career wins locally. however beaten badly by the prohibitive favorite Lucy's Bob Boy.

3. LUCY'S BOB BOY (4-5)
Trainer: Sandra A Dono
Rider: Gustavo Larrosa
Owner: Michael Furr
His record speaks for itself. Fifteen wins from nineteen starts and three times second. The only blemish on his career when he ventured to Monmouth and was fifth facing Graded foe. He definitely loves the six-furlong Charles Town surface and has been the heavy odds on favorite sixteen of those nineteen starts. Handled to perfection by his trainer Sandra Dono she was quoted as saying, "We can tell that he's just a lot sharper than he was as a 3-year old." Seldom far off the pace he does not need the lead, but if left alone to set his own pace gets into that cruising-mode and will not come back to those giving chase. He is strictly the one to beat.

4. SON OF A BEAR (15-1)
Trainer: David Walters
Rider: Gerald Almodovar
Owner: Baers Racing Stable
Veteran trainer David Walters has been training since 1978 and has won 1,328 races from 7,428 starters. He has never won at this distance with his best results sprinting. I look for him to be a factor early and would be surprised to see him finish better than fourth.

5. LUCA'S WIND DANCER (20-1)
Trainer: Timothy Grams
Rider: Erick Ramirez
Owner: Cleil W. Albrite Jr.
He will need his absolute best to stick with these seasoned veterans. He did have an excuse in his last start when breaking poorly and failing to fire thereafter. Finishing fourth in the 2012 West Virginia Breeders' Classic, he was third facing Lucy's Bob Boy two outs ago definitely. Merits consideration for share in the exotics.

6. CLINK CLINK CLINK (15-1)
Trainer: Brenda Godfrey
Rider: Anthony Mawing
Owner: Brenda M Godfrey
He is reunited and runs well for rider Anthony Mawin, who was his regular rider for his first seven career starts. With his regular rider committed to the heavy public choice Lucy's Bob Boy he has the opportunity for a nice check with his very best effort. He will get a stiff test for class today and will be facing Lucy for the first time.

7. STRAWBERRY CUPCAKE (10-1)
Trainer: James W. Casey
Rider: Antonio Lopez
Owner: Taylor Mountain Farm LLC
A gem of consistency seldom missing a check, but zero for eight this year. Primarily a sprinter he is one-for-one at the 1 ¼ miles distance. The only time he as faced Lucy's Bob Day, November 2012, he was second. Speed to be on or near the lead from flag to wire he will not be far off the pace. Cannot be ignored in the exotics.

8. FRED HIGH (9-2)
Trainer: John Robb
Rider: Wesley Ho
Owner: Edward R. Krishack
Sharp runner is one of the 'now-runner' who is in good form and fresh from back to back wins working on the hat-trick tonight. His rider Wesley Ho a good fit has been at the controls six times and together they have never been worse than fourth. He handled softer in the slop in his most recent win, however has a problem with the demanding distance of the WV Breeders's Classic. He did string together three wins early in the year at seven-furlongs. He would love to see a sloppy track.

9. GOLDEN SET (8-1)
Trainer: Jeff C. Runco
Rider: Travis Dunkelberger
Owner: David M. Raim
Sprinter with eight wins from twenty-eight career starts, all at Charles Town, has only been past seven-furlongs once when finishing third at 1 1/16 miles. Trainer Jeff Runco is first in the training standings with seven wins from twenty-two starts this meet. He is clicking at a impressive twenty-three percent win clip this year. With his rider Travis Dunkelberger winning at a twenty-two percent win clip this year you have a top trainer, top jockey, and a five-year old gelding by Tapit. There is plenty to like and you can make a case for this grey to run the race of his life and prove tough throughout.

10. ALLEGHENY JACK (20-1)
Trainer: Ollie L. Figgins III
Rider: Xavier Perez
Owner: E. Clinton Lowry
Young and improving rider Xavier Perez has improved consistently since beginning in 2007 and is having a break-out year. He has 123 wins from 672 starters and his mounts have earned $3,422,569. His trainer Figgins III since 2005 has also improved regularly and is having his best year to date. He turned in a effort in the 2012 WV BC finishing third to the winner Lucy's Bob Boy.

Also Eligible:

11. MISTER BRASS (12-1)
Trainer: Jeff Runco
Rider: J.D. Acosta
Owner: James A. Boyer
Will be a factor if he gets a break at scratch time. His trainer Jeff Runco has a runner, #9 Golden Set, and this would give him a nice one-two punch. Proven at a mile and one-sixteenth he should handle the extra distance. The perfect style for this race with tactical speed and finishing kick. Danger if he starts.

12. SEA RESCUE (30-1)
Trainer: Jeff Runco
Rider: Arnaldo Bocachica
Owner: Coleswood Farm Inc.
Trainer Jeff Runco has another potential runner waiting in the wings needing some help at scratch-time. Winner at this distance but has not had much luck facing Lucy's Bob Boy.

Our eyes

Lucy's Bob Boy appears to have this field at his mercy and only racing luck can stand in his way of repeating his facile eight length victory of the 2012 West Virginia Breeders' Classic. And, in the last week we have seen multiple 'locks' bite the dust. This is why they 'Run The Race'. The key to the race will be #1 Russell Road and his position early. He was the odds on pubic choice last year while Lucy's Bob Boy was 3-1. This year the tables will be turned as Lucy will be the odds on choice and Russell will be the longer price. My key to the race will be playing exotics. I will use Russell Road and #3 Lucy's Bob Boy in Trifectas and Superfectas. Underneath I will be using #2 Figpenn, #4 Son of a Bear, #5 Luca's Wind Dancer, #8 Fred High, #9 Golden Set, #10 Allegheny Jack. I will be punching the All button in some of my 10 cent Superfectas. If the #11 Mister Brass is lucky at scratch time and gets the start, he cannot be ignored.