WVBC: Without William and Mary, Moscarelli looks wide open

by | Oct 12, 2017 | Breaking, Racing, Top Stories, West Virginia, WV Racing

William and Mary

William and Mary was much the best in the Henry Mercer Memorial Stakes — but is not eligible to compete in the West Virginia Breeders Classics. Photo by Coady Photography.

by Ted Black

In the weeks leading up to the West Virginia Breeders Classic, longtime prominent owner, trainer and breeder James W. Casey was rapidly becoming more and more confident that his best chance of reaching the winner’s circle rested on the talented hooves of one of his youngest runners, William and Mary, handy winner of the $50,000 Henry Mercer in his second lifetime start.

But Casey found out somewhat belatedly — and surprisingly — that William and Mary is not even eligible to the Vincent Moscarelli Breeders Classic for state-bred two-year-old colts and geldings, so now the success of his night this Saturday will hinge on the performances of several of his older, proven commodities in Greenway Court, Charitable Annuity and Candy Man’s Girl.

“When I found out I was sick,” Casey said. “I had 27 colts that I was supposed to nominate to the West Virginia Breeders Classics and one of them suffered a leg injury and never made it to the track. But when I sent in the sheet, that colt and William and Mary were not on the list, so my best one never got nominated. Then the other day when I found out he wasn’t eligible, it was one day after the last day to supplement. He’s still got the Tri-State Futurity and the West Virginia Futurity, but he’s going to miss the Breeders Classics.”

William and Mary won his career debut as the 4-5 choice against state-bred maiden special weight rivals and then came right back to trounce his foes by nearly five lengths in the Henry Mercer. William and Mary covered the 4 1/2-furlongs that night in 52.06, a faster clocking than Casey’s durable older campaigner, Greenway Court, posted while taking the It’s Only Money Stakes, his prep for the $80,000 West Virginia Dash For Cash this weekend.

“After his first two races, he’s the best horse that I’ve ever trained,” Casey said of William and Mary. “He ran three lengths faster than Greenway Court on the same night. I can’t remember the last time that I had a two-year-old run faster than my top older horse.

“He’s capable of being something special. Next year, I might consider supplementing him to the Classic [at a price of $35,000] to the Classic. But I would only do that if I thought he was going to be 8-5 or less or looked like he was going to be one of the top two choices in the race.”

With William and Mary out, favoritism in the Moscarelli falls to Ollie Figgins trainee Dionysus’ Chalice (2-1). Sent off the favorite in the Mercer Memorial, Dionysus’ Chalice could not go with William and Mary but was able to save third. Regular pilot Jose Montano will ride. The Jose Corrales-trained Owen’s Way, who was fourth in the Mercer, a neck behind Dionysus’ Chalice, is the 3-1 second choice.