West Virginia Classic celebrates 30th anniversary
This Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of the West Virginia Breeders Classic thoroughbred race at the area six-furlong track in Charles Town.
It was in 1986 that the first Classic program was run at the Charles Town Races, now known as Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
One of the first trainers to put his stamp on that 1986 card was James W. Casey, owner of Taylor Mountain Farm in the Kabletown area of Jefferson County. Casey has been an important figure ever since the first year and has been joined by trainer Jeff Runco of Coleswood Farm as the two most-winning figures of stakes races on Classics cards.
There will be another nine races featured this year with the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic again headlining the track’s most significant night of racing.
Casey won last year” Breeders Classic with Charitable Annuity and had one more win on the 2015 card.
Runco posted four wins on the 2015 nine-race schedule, taking both the first and second race to complete his own daily double of sorts.
Also winning two races last year was trainer John McKee, a venerable fixture at the track.
The second-most important race on Classics night has always been the Cavada Stakes, won last year by Cuppa Mocha Mojo.
The first race this year has a scheduled post time of 7 p.m. with the Breeders Classic listed as the eighth race on the program.
The annual Breakfast of Champions will be held in conjunction with the Breeders Classic, again on the morning of the nine-race stakes card.
Casey and Runco will be back, each with several versatile thoroughbreds that have done well leading up to the Oct. 8 events.
But if Runco wins another four times on a nine-race card, he will have accomplished something never before seen on Charles Town’s most publicized night of thoroughbred racing. And another Casey win in the West Virginia Breeders Classic would further enhance his already record-setting legacy, laced with victories on the previous 29 Breeders Classic evenings raced through the decades.