The $500,000 West Virginia Breeders' Classic anchors a nine-race program worth a total of $1.28 million in stakes purses on Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races' West Virginia Breeders' Classics card Oct. 18.
The total purse figure for the 2014 Classics program represents a $125,000 increase over the purses available for the event in 2013.
As has been the case since West Virginia Breeders' Classics founders Sam Huff and Carol Holden put on the inaugural event in 1987, the richest race on the card will be the West Virginia Breeders' Classic for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles. Originally run for $100,000 in 1987, the $500,000 Breeders' Classic now stands as the country's richest state-bred contest.
Also similar to recent Breeders' Classics cards is the return of the $200,000 West Virginia Jefferson Security Bank Cavada Breeders' Classic as the top supporting stakes race on the program. For fillies and mares going Charles Town's two-turn seven-furlong distance, the Cavada will be run for a purse of $200,000 or more for the 11th consecutive year.
Four races—the West Virginia Breeder's Classic Distaff, Division of Tourism Breeders' Classic, Lottery Breeders' Classic and Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Onion Juice Breeders' Classic—all received a purse bump of $20,000 to $85,000.
The card will be rounded out by a trio of $80,000 stakes in the West Virginia Dash for Cash Breeders' Classic, Triple Crown Nutrition Breeders' Classic and Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders' Classic. All three of those races received a purse hike of $15,000 this year.
The full lineup of races for the 2014 West Virginia Breeders' Classics will be:
$500,000 West Virginia Breeders' Classic, 3&up, 1 1/8 miles
$200,000 West Virginia Jefferson Security Bank Cavada Breeders' Classic, F&M 3&up, 7 furlongs
$85,000 West Virginia Breeders' Classic Distaff, F&M 3&up, 1 1/8 miles
$85,000 West Virginia Division of Tourism Breeders' Classic, F 3YO, 7 furlongs
$85,000 West Virginia Lottery Breeders' Classic, 3YO, 7 furlongs
$85,000 West Virginia Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Onion Juice Breeders' Classic, 3&up, 7 furlongs
$80,000 West Virginia Dash for Cash Breeders' Classic, 3&up, 4 1/2 furlongs--$80,000 West Virginia Triple Crown Nutrition Breeders' Classic, F 2YO, 4 1/2 furlongs
$80,000 West Virginia Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders' Classic, 2YO, 6 1/2 furlongs
With four victories in four starts this year, Palace Malice hopes to continue making a statement in the second half of the season when he races Aug. 2 in the grade I Whitney Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.
And, if the 4-year-old Curlin colt continues his roll, his owners believe he has a shot at Horse of the Year honors for 2014.
"Right now I'd have to think he's a strong candidate for Horse of the Year," Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell said July 29 during a national media teleconference hosted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
So far this year Palace Malice has won the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I), New Orleans and Gulfstream Park handicaps (both gr. II), and the Westchester Handicap (gr. III). He got a short break after the June 7 Met Mile and has been pointing to the Whitney at 1 1/8 miles.
"I think we circled (the Whitney) early on in the year," Campbell said. "It's in Saratoga and we race up here, and it's logical (on the calendar). He's a good work horse. He's very sharp and actually a little edgy, a little feisty right now."
The victory was especially sweet for trainer and Fort Erie local Justin Nixon, who launched his career at the Ontario oval and was based there from 1996 to 2002.
A Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands hopeful earlier this year, Coltimus Prince came into the Prince of Wales off a ninth in the Queen's Plate Stakes, the first leg of the series for Canadian-bred runners. In the Queen's Plate, won by the filly Lexie Lou, he was forwardly placed through swift early fractions then faded but emphatically rebounded for classic victory in the Prince of Wales, taking charge to earn his first stakes win.
Breaking from the six hole in the 10-horse field, the son of Milwaukee Brew was quick to lead and laid down an even pace throughout. He shook off a stretch challenge from runner-up Lynx before drawing away to triumph by 3 1/2 lengths at 5-1 odds. Ami's Holiday, the 8-5 favorite off a runner-up finish in the Queen's Plate, was up for third after racing in sixth, then fifth early on.
"I looked at the Form and it seems my horse was the speed in the race," said winning rider Eurico Rosa da Silva, who guided Coltimus Prime through fractions of :24.03, 48.11, and 1:12.86 for six furlongs while Lynx pressed from second. As the mile went in 1:36.82, Frankie Pennington moved Lynx to challenge in midstretch, but Coltimus Prime found another gear to secure the victory.
"I was screaming (down the stretch)," Nixon said after the race. "We've won a lot of races here. This is awfully special. It means a lot. It's a dream come true. I've watched a lot of good horses (at Fort Erie). I learned the game here when I first started my career. It's something special to win its biggest race.
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Boasting an increase in size and several welcome additions to the consignor ranks, the OBS Selected Sale of Yearlings gets underway Tuesday, August 26th at a new time: 10:30 a.m. There are 257 yearlings cataloged and the early start time reflects the forty five percent increase in the size of the sale from last year.
The two-day Open Sale begins the following day and features 773 yearlings. Hip No.’s 259 – 648 sell on Wednesday, August 27th and Hip No.’s 649 – 1037 will be offered Thursday, August 28th. Both Open sessions also begin at 10:30 a.m.
OBS Yearling Sale Grads have a Story to Tell
An important source of quality horses throughout its history, the OBS August Sale has produced twenty-two millionaires, a roster that includes Eclipse Award winners Groovy, Kodiak Kowboy, Not Surprising, Silver Charm and Xtra Heat.
In the last decade, OBS August graduates have won or placed in a long list of major races from coast to coast and overseas. From Royal Ascot to Dubai as well as from New York to California, it’s a roster that includes all three Triple Crown classics, four Breeders’ Cup events and more than forty grade one races from the Ancient Title to the Woodward and the Apple Blossom to the Woodbine Mile.