Runnin’toluvyu popular winner of Breeders Classic
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Drawing the No. 2 post position in the nine-furlong West Virginia Breeders Classic was the coup de grace for trainer Tim Grams.
The lithe gray thoroughbred with the intelligent eyes, cool demeanor and business-like mannerisms prevailed in last Saturday’s featured race on the nine-race card that filled out the 32nd edition of the Breeders night of stakes racing.
Sent out as the even-money favorite over another 7-5 fan-backed contender in runner-up North Atlantic and Weekend Liberty, both trained by Jeff Runco, Runnin’toluvyu left the starting gate full of run, and quickly settled in along the rail as the race’s pacesetter. Moving easily through the middle furlongs of the race, the lean gray seemed to have the mind-set of a certified public accountant, so focused on the job at hand and unruffled was he as he moved along in front.
With about a furlong left, North Atlantic, who had been on the far outside in post position 10 at the beginning, made his last move toward the still-composed leader. Runnin’toluvyu was never in any real jeopardy of being overhauled, instead gliding away to about a three-length win.
It was the four-year-old’s sixth consecutive win. He was injured last year and didn’t race in 2017.
Bred by former jockey Leslie Cromer, Runnin’toluvyu had never raced farther than seven furlongs, but did not waver when pressed, after about five furlongs or in the short Charles Town stretch.
He had posted a win in the Frank Gall Memorial Stakes earlier this year, and the betting public made him the odds-on favorite over trainer Jeff Runco’s North Atlantic.
Runco trained Battleground Star and T Rex Express to victories in the night’s first and last races.
James Casey, the Breeders Classics all-time champion trainer with a total of 32 wins in WVBC races, settled for a pair of second-place finishes in the two-year-old feature, and the closing heat that had fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, competing.
Should Runnin’toluvyu return to more racing at Charles Town in this calendar year, he will likely be entered in stakes events of more than eight furlongs. He would be favored to edge his current winning streak on to seven or even eight races.
It’s certainly an unusual story line for the athletic thoroughbred that completely missed the 2017 season with an injury.