Breeders Classic has photo finish
CHARLES TOWN – Mere inches separated the first three finishers in this year’s Breeders Classic at Charles Town Races.
In probably the most exciting finish in the 31 years the Breeders Classic has been contested, it was trainer James W. Casey’s Charitable Annuity prevailing by scant inches over North Atlantic and third-place Weekend Liberty, both owned and trained by Coleswood Farm’s Jeff Runco.
The No. 350,000 “Classic” saw Charitable Annuity fall back into the pack under the guidance of jockey Christian Heraldo in the early furlongs of the 1 1/8 mile race. Moved to fifth with about five furlongs to run, Charitable Annuity gained ground on the leaders through the backstretch but was wide in the six-path coming into Charles Town’s short stretch.
Casey’s lithe brown colt dueled with both North Atlantic and Weekend Liberty in the last 200 yards with all three thoroughbreds inching into the lead at one time.
The blanket finish at the wire had Charitable Annuity just ahead of his rivals in a photo finish to separate the three thoroughbreds.
The 9-5 favorite earned the winner’s share of $157,500 for his handlers.
The owner of Taylor Mountain Farm LLC, James W. Casey also won Race 3 on the nine-race card with longshot Bound to Windsor prevailing in a $75,000 race for two-year-olds going 6 1/2 furlongs.
Bound for Windsor left the starting gate with the hopes of longshot bettors watching him and his 15-1 odds.
Ridden by Christian Heraldo, the Taylor Mountain Farm entry raced evenly until the home stretch loomed in front of the modest field.
Trailing by about 2 1/2 lengths with only the stretch to negotiate, Bound for Windsor and Heraldo surged past the opposition and continue to distance themselves from rivals to the wire, winning by 1 1/2 lengths and sending longshot bettors careening off to the windows to collect their winnings.
The nine-race card was held on track listed as “fast” and on an unusually warm mid-October night.
Casey has been there for the 31-year duration of the West Virginia Breeders Classics and has owned or trained many of the fixtures in the three decades or racing, including Russell Road, Taylor Mountain, Coin Collector, Greenway Court, Step Out Dancing and It’s Binn Too Long.