Now Jeff Runco gets to prove Sea Rescue is no fluke.
The four-year-old son of Brahms shocked a stacked field to win as a 57-to-1 longshot in last month's $500,000 West Virginia Breeders' Classic, beating out the likes of Russell Road and Colonel J W. He'll have to do it again in Saturday's $50,000 A Huevo Stakes at Charles Town Races, as trainer James W. Casey has both primed to exact a bit of vengeance.
The A Huevo is restricted to West Virginia breds and will be run at the same 1 1/8-mile distance as the Classic. The win last month also elevated Runco into some elite company as one of only 12 trainers to win races worth $500,000 or more this year. Runco won the $1 million Charles Town Classic earlier this year with Researcher. The others on that list are All Stall, Anthony Dutrow, Bill Mott, Bob Baffert, Bret Calhoun, Christophe Clement, David Fawkes, Jerry Hollendorfer, John Sadler, Nick Zito and Todd Pletcher.
Russell Road, owned by Winchester's Mark Russell, is looking for a bounceback performance after two sub-par stakes efforts. The brawny red gelding, a son of Wheaton out of the mare Roberta Grump, had won nine straight restricted stakes races before his mini-slump. He'll have regular jockey Travis Dunkelberger aboard and will team with Colonel J W as a formidable combined entry.
Trainer Gary Capuano, winner of back-to-back stakes at Charles Town the past two weeks, will try to make it three straight with Ghostly Thunder. The 2008 West Virginia Breeders' Classic winner, Ghostly Thunder is 0 for 3 in stakes races since then.
Here's a look at the full nine-horse field:
$50,000 A Huevo Stakes (WV)
Race 9 - Post time 10:52 p.m.
3&up, 1 1/8 miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Sea Rescue, Xavier Perez, 122, Jeff C. Runco
2. Ghostly Thunder, Antonio Lopez, 122, Gary Capuano
3(a). Colonel J W, Arnaldo Bocachica, 122, James W. Casey
4. Vivo, J.D. Acosta, 122, Anthony K. Grigsby
5(a). Russell Road, Travis Dunkelberger, 122, James W. Casey
6. I Got'm, Gustavo Larrosa, 122, John A. Casey
7. Green Spring Boy, Gerald Almodovar, 120, Ollie L. Figgins, III
8. Silver Tie Affair, Grant Whitacre, 122, Hassan Elamri
9. Peaceful Bliss, Oliver Castillo, 122, John J. Robb