Speedy sophs to contest Robert G. Leavitt Saturday at Charles Town
Hero’s Man won impressively at first asking. Photo by Coady Photography.
Among the group of West Virginia-bred three-year-olds slated to clash this Saturday in the latest renewal of the $50,000 Robert Leavitt Memorial are a pair of undefeated sophomores with familiar ties, but the conditioner of one of them believes his stablemate is perhaps the horse to beat this weekend.
Trainers James W. Casey, Tim Grams and Jeff Runco have each entered a pair of runners in Saturday’s Leavitt, a stepping stone to the West Virginia Breeders Classics. Grams is slated to send out Loving Touch, the three-year-old full-brother to state-bred star Runnin’toluvya, a winner of all three of his races in a compact four-week span, most recently August 2, along with Cayenne Creek, a Misremembered gelding who won his first three starts but will arrive in the midst of a drought.
“They’re both doing really good,” said Grams, who is leaning toward running both in the Leavitt. “Loving Touch has won three races close together, but he’s doing so good I might run him. He came out of that last race so good and he’s going to need some earnings to make the Breeders Classics. Cayenne Creek has been running with much better horses. He’s coming into the race really good. I think my other one [Loving Touch] is really going to have to step up his game a bit to beat him.”
Loving Touch, listed as the tepid 3-1 morning line favorite, scored at first asking on July 4, came right back to prevail against allowance foes on July 20 then won another allowance event on August 2, giving him three wins in just under a month. After winning his first three starts, Cayenne Creak has been second three times, third once and fourth three times since. He was fourth in the Coin Collector Stakes on the undercard of Grade II, $1 million Charles Town Classic but second in his most recent outing.
Casey will send out a pair of sophomores who have won five of six combined outings. Rush To The Castle, a son of Windsor Castle, has won both of his starts thus far and arrives as the 4-1 second choice on the morning line in his stakes debut. Hero’s Man (5-1) won his debut on February 7, got a brief vacation then won consecutive allowance events before finising third in his most recent outing on August 8. He, too, makes his stakes debut in the Leavitt.
Runco will send out two runners as well, K Town Brass (9-2) and Boaster (8-1). K Town Brass has won twice in four career tries, prevailing in his career debut on May 30 then running fourth in a June 27 allowance before rebounding to win another allowance on July 12 before running second inhis most recent outing. Boaster has won twice in eight stats this year and three times in 11 career tries. Both will seek their first stakes triumph on Saturday.
Ironically, the one sophomore getting the least amount of attention is Burnin Ring O Fire, who already boasts a pair of stakes victories. The Ollie Figgins, III trainee won his first three starts at age two, including the Henry Mercer Memorial and the Vincent Moscarelli Memorial. But he has failed to score in six outings since then. Burnin Ring O Fire has finished third three times and fourth twice in five winless outings this season and will seek to regain his winning ways as a 12-1 shot in the Leavitt.
The Robert G. Leavitt Stakes is carded as the seventh race on an eight-race card. The seven-furlong test has a post time of 10:02 p.m.
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