When trainer Jeff Runco saddled four-year-old Slip the Cable in the $ 500,000 West Virginia Breeders’ Classic, the conditioner of more than 3,700 winners in his career knew from some time the horse that his Coleswood Farm also owns and bred would be as ready as he could be to tackle his first try going farther than 7 furlongs.
“Stretching this horse out, we’ve been wanting to do it,” said Runco, who has won the last ten training titles at Charles Town. “We’ve had 7 weeks between his last race and tonight to get some bottom in him and really get him prepared for the route.”
However, what he couldn’t expect was what would follow as the Midshipman colt took the lead leaving the gate and never looked back under jockey Arnaldo Bocachica, demolishing the field by 7 1/2 lengths in the featured event on Saturday evening’s West Virginia Breeders’ Classics XXX card. After carving out early fractions of :23.68, :47.88 and 1:12.86 for the first three calls in the race, Slip the Cable had plenty left in the tank and gradually pulled away to defeat 1.20-to-1 favorite and defending champion Charitable Annuity who checked in 2 3/4 lengths ahead of third place finisher Start Line.
“Once he got him to relax, he ran perfect. It’s kind of how he does it. When he does it, he does it big usually. If you look at his last race, he won that one by more than seven lengths too.”
Slip the Cable provided Runco with his fourth victory in the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic and 18th win in a Breeders’ Classics race overall having also won earlier in the night with Bullets Fever and Spa Creek. The win on Slip the Cable also capped off a great three weeks for Bocachica, who won his first graded stakes race in September when he piloted Covey Trace to a win in the Charles Town Oaks (G3).
Despite another win in a career that has also included two Charles Town Classic triumphs, Runco is quick to tout the team effort of the entire barn in bringing it to fruition.
“The entire team and all of our help who work with these horses day in and day out deserve so much credit for this. And without my wife Susan breeding these really good horses, this wouldn’t be possible either.”
There was also good news on the wagering front as West Virginia Breeders’ Classics XXX established a new pari-mutuel benchmark for the event. The $ 1,753,600 in all-sources handle wagered on Saturday night was the largest in the Breeders’ Classics 30 year history and easily topped the old mark of $ 1,576,267 established in 2013.
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