Special to the Spirit
Several other stakes for state-bred runners tuning up for the West Virginia Breeders Classics here on Oct. 19 highlighted Run for the Ribbon night.
Many of the races were restricted to West Virginia-breds, but the top runner was competing against open competition in the $45,000 Wild And Wonderful Stakes. Lucy’s Bob Boy, defending champion of the $500,000 West Virginia Classic, tuned up with a handy score against open runners by taking the Wild & Wonderful by three lengths.
Lucy’s Bob Boy bided his time over the sloppy going early, then launched a three-wide bid to take command down the backside and edged clear from Tomorrow’s Tale for a three-length score as the 3-5 favorite. The Sandra Dono trainee has never been worse than second in 18 starts over the local strip.
One of the other durable and talented runners that Lucy’s Bob Boy will encounter in the West Virginia Classic settled for second in his final tuneup. Russell Road, a two time Classic hero who was second to Lucy’s Bob Boy last fall, delivered a subpar effort while running second as the 1-5 favorite behind Fred High in the $35,000 Roger Ramey Handicap.
Fred High, a winner at Timonium in his previous start for trainer John (Jerry) Robb, appears to be peaking at the right time. He will be seeking to upend both Lucy’s Bob Boy and Russell Road in the Classic.
Russell Road had been idle since being placed first in the Robert Byrd Memorial at Mountaineer Park. Russell Road nearly led throughout over the sloppy going in the Roger Ramey, but had nothing to offer when Fred High engaged him inside the furlong pole.
Another talented state-bred runner, Down Town Allen, maintained her winning ways when she prepped for her title defense in the $250,000 Cavada by capturing a $35,000 stakes event by four lengths. Down Town Allen, owned, bred and trained by John A. Casey, has won four of five starts this year.
In the $35,000 Dr. Benner Handicap, Golden Set sat just off the early leaders while three-wide then surged to command entering the far turn and outfought Strawberry Cupcake late for a neck victory.
Although he watched his immensely talented Dance to Bristol settle for second in the Grade II, Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park earlier that afternoon, trainer Ollie Figgins. III, saw his rapidly improving Red Hot Diva prevail in the $35,000 Harry Buch Stakes.
Midwest invader Nana Anna prevailed in the $50,000 Rachel’s Turn Stakes for state-bred two-year-old fillies for her first win in three starts, then Amherst Street remained perfect in his young career when he easily captured the $50,000 Henry Mercer Memorial for two-year-old colts. Greenway Court capped the card by taking the $50,000 It’s Only Money Stakes by two lengths for owner-breeder-trainer James W. Casey for this third win in six starts.