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Coolmars wins Breeders feature

September 18, 2000

Coolmars wins Breeders feature



By LARRY YANOS / Mail Sports Editor


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Coolmars, claimed last December for $10,000, won the $225,000 Breeders Classic Sunday afternoon at the Charles Town Races.

Jockey Mark Rosenthal rode the five-year-old gelding to victory in the mile-and-an-eighth featured race of the $750,000 West Virginia Breeders Classics XIV - a group of races contested Saturday and Sunday which were restricted to West Virginia bred-or-sired horses.

Sunday's overall handle was $578,528, which included $119,619 being wagered on the feature. It was a Sunday high at Charles Town for 2000.

Coolmars, trained by Jeff Runco and owned by H, Neil Glasser, went postward at 5-1 odds and defeated 4-5 favorite Rebellious Dreamer and jockey Travis Dunkelberger in winning his first race of the year.

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Ironically, Dunkelberger has first call for Runco and could have ridden Coolmars.

Early Package, with jockey John Luzzi aboard, finished third.

Rosenthal broke Coolmars alertly from the No. 3 post position and moved to the rail when it opened up down the backstretch.

He held off Rebellious Dreamer and a host of closers the rest of the way.

The win was worth $101,250.

"This is the biggest purse I've ever won, I owe it to Jeff and the owner for having faith in me,'' the Maryland-based jockey Rosenthal said.

Runco claimed the thoroughbred for Glasser on Dec. 10, 1999, at Charles Town with an eye on the Breeders Classic.

"We gave him three months off and he ran two 7 furlong preps for this," Glasser said. "Jeff asked me which Breeders Classics race I wanted to run in - the Onion Juice (a 7-furlong, $75,000 stakes) or this one and I said 'Let's go for the big one.'''

Rosenthal said it was a smooth trip to the winner's circle.

"I was able to save ground early in the race and he got through to the rail on the backside about the three-eighth pole," Rosenthal said. "When Rebellious Dreamer came to us on the turn, I was a little concerned but my horse pinned his ears back and dug in. I looked over my shoulder for just a second nearing the finish line. The anticipation (of winning) was killing me. I was real excited."

Rosenthal said he didn't intend to go for the lead so early in the race but had no choice when the rail opened up down the backside.

"It was an opportunity and I knew I had to take advantage of it," Rosenthal said.

With the victory, Coolmars now sports an overall record of nine wins, five second-place finishes and 10 third-place finishes from 32 starts for career earnings of $179,558. At Charles Town, he shows eight wins, five second-place finishes and 10 third-place finishes from 30 starts for earnings of $171,021.

Runco was impressed with Rosenthal's effort.

"We knew the horse could go the distance (he has won two earlier mile-and-an-eighth races) and Mark did a good job riding him. He kept him out of trouble and saved ground with him."

Runco, one of the leading trainers in the country in races won, uses both Dunkelberger and Rosenthal on his horses.

Dunkelberger, the third-leading rider in the country in races won, said, "my horse never had a chance to settle. He was in tight on the first turn and he was in tight on the clubhouse turn. He moved pretty well down the backside but I had to go real wide. I still thought I had a chance on the turn."

The impressive day of racing included the $225,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic, five other $75,000 Classic races and three additional $35,000 "open" races not restricted to West Virginia bred-or-sired horses.

Dunkelberger was the only jockey to win two races on the card - taking the $75,000 Triple Crown Feed Breeders Classic aboard Sweet Music and the $35,000 Horsemen's Benevolent Protective Association City of Charles Town Stakes aboard Bluemont Affair.

Two other noteworthy races:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Basic Trainee, who competed in all three Triple Crown races in 1998, won the $35,000 Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association Governor's Cup and the James W. Casey family, which has dominated previous Breeders Classics events, won two more races.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Owner Eleanor M. Casey and trainer James W. Casey were in the winner's circle for the $75,000 West Virginia Lottery Breeders Classic when jockey Jesus Sanchez guided Hot Ziggity to victory and also in the $75,000 Onion Juice Breeders Classic when jockey Joe Rocco guided Hushaby Adam to victory.

"It was a tremendous weekend of racing, the greatest weekend ever for the Breeders Classics and the Charles Town Racetrack," West Virginia Breeders Classics Ltd. president Sam Huff said. "Everyone connected with this event did a marvelous job."

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