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Researcher, strapping and rangy, was one of Charles Town’s best

By Staff | Jul 24, 2014

Because he was a gelding, the tall and long-striding Researcher was given his chances at becoming a graded stakes champion.

There was no breeding shed anywhere in his future, so the broad-chested bay raced from age two through three tries when he was eight back in 2010.

Through his most successful racing seasons he was trained by former jockey, Jeff Runco. The 54-year-old Runco and his wife (now the decision maker in the breeding end of the family business) are based in Charles Town at Coleswood Farm. Jeff is actually one of only eight all-time trainers with more than 3,000 winners and a winning percentage of at least 20 percent.

Researcher’s family tree is filled with some all-time greats like Mr. Prospector, Round Table, Smarten and Moccasin only two generations back.

Trace his genealogy back a little farther and you spot Native Dancer, Nashua, Northern Dancer, Princequillo, Raise A Native, Damascus and Candy Spots.

It seems Researcher came to his 13 wins in 35 career starts honestly.

Before being eventually sold by the estate of his one-time owner, Researcher was under the direction of Runco. The thoroughbred and trainer were at their winning best from 2008 through 2010.

When he came on the smallish oval track at Charles Town for the running of the million-dollar Charles Town Classic in 2010, Researcher and rider Luis Perez had already crafted a victory in the same race the year before.

It was 2010, when he was a six-year-old, that proved to be Researcher’s most lucrative year in earnings. That year saw him earn $596,100 for his efforts.

In 2008, Researcher, Runco and Perez won the Grade 3 Queen’s County Handicap at Aqueduct Park in New York. That success came in December and only a month before the same threesome had gotten a win in the Mountaineer Mile Handicap in Chester, West Virginia. And in October of 2008, Researcher proved the best in the Governor’s Cup Handicap at Charles Town.

Runco had saddled Researcher and boosted Perez to his wide back for a second-place run in the 2009 Queen’s County Handicap. There was another bold-face type second place in the R.R.M. Carpenter, Jr. Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park in the same 2009 campaign.

Researcher’s nearly $600,000 in earnings in 2010 gave him spot number 55 on the nationwide earnings list for all thoroughbreds in training that year.

Charles Town has seen several other dynamic thoroughbreds whose stakes and handicap wins have brought the sport’s spotlight out of California, Kentucky, New York and Florida and to West Virginia for short periods of time. However, Researcher’s base of operations and home grounds at the county track brought about as much notoriety and attention to Charles Town as any of the others ever did.

Researcher and trainer Runco gave a certain always-sought credibility to Charles Town’s image and reputation.