Brown makes his one entry count at Classics

October 17, 2004|by LARRY YANOS

Ronney Brown, the leading trainer at Charles Town Races & Slots in 2004, saddled one horse on last Saturday's $1 million Breeders Classics Night card, and it was a winner.

Lightly raced Original Gold captured the $250,000 The Jefferson Security Bank "Cavada" West Virginia Breeders Classic and gained $112,500 for the victory.

Jockey Ramon Dominguez handled the assignment on the 4-year-old filly and won the 7-furlong race by three lengths over fast-closing Marthamountainmama. The winning time was 1:29.1.

"She ran a beautiful race," Brown said of Original Gold. "I wasn't too concerned with the 10 post position or the early speed duel (with Fancy Buckles). I was confident."


It was only the fourth race of the year for Original Gold.

"She got hurt earlier in the year and I have taken it easy with her, pointing toward this race," Brown said. "She ran a mile-and-an-eighth last time out so I knew she could handle the 7 furlongs."

Sent postward at 2-1 odds, Original Gold broke alertly from the outside post position and quickly hooked up with Fancy Buckles - the second choice.

Dominguez and Original Gold shook loose turning for home and won by three lengths.

Despite a very successul training career at Charles Town, Brown had never won either of the two signature races of the West Virginia Breeders Clsssics: the featured Classic or the Cavada Classic.

"I think Me No Sissy finished third two different times in the Classic and Landing Mate finished fourth in the filly race in 1992, but this is my first win," Brown said.

The owner-trainer of Original Gold says he offered no special instructions to Dominguez - who rode earlier in the day at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.

"He's one of the best riders in the country. He rides on instinct and knows what to do," Brown said.

Charles Town-based jockey Travis Dunkleberger had been the regular rider on Original Gold but decided to switch to Miss Roberson for the Cavada. Miss Roberson finished sixth for trainer Ernest M. Haynes.

Original Gold has four wins, four seconds and one third in 10 career starts at Charles Town, with career earnings of $206,697.

Classics success worth Huff-ing about

West Virginia Breeders Classics, Ltd. President Sam Huff says the 18th annual event - for West Virginia-bred-or-sired horses - went extremely well.

"I was real pleased, it was just fantastic," Huff said of last Saturday's $1 million, eight-race card at Charles Town. "The track held up nicely, there was an enthusiastic crowd and the big purses brought in some nice horses."

The featured $300,000 Classic was for 3-year-olds and upwards at a mile-and-an-eighth while the $250,000 "Cavada" Breeders Classic was for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upwards at 7 furlongs.

A Huevo, who won the feature in 1999, did it again last Saturday and was impressive.

"Having A Huevo returning was a big story, what a great horse," Huff said. "I've seen a lot of horses in my time but that horse is really built, awesome. He won so easily it reminded me of when Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths."

Speaking of Secretariat, his former jockey Ron Turcotte attended the weekend of racing at Charles Town and was among the speakers at the annual Breakfast of Champions.

"Having Ron here with us was wonderful," Huff said. "He really added a lot to the program."

The National Football League Hall of Famer said the Gala Dinner Dance on Thursday, the celebrity golf tournament on Friday, the Breakfast of Champions and the races themselves all went well.

"It was a great weekend, even the weather cooperated," Huff said. "It was the best Breeders Classics ever."

A Huevo, with Dominguez aboard, won the mile-and-an-eighth feature by 19 1/4 lengths. He covered the distance as the 2-5 favorite in 1:53.65.

A Huevo, trained by Michael Dickinson and owned by Mark Hopkins, earned $135,000 for the win.

Turcotte visits

Turcotte said he never rode horses at Charles Town but remembers visiting some friends here.

"It was a long time ago," the Horse Racing Hall of Fame member said. "I knew some of the jockeys, Sam Palumbo, Patsy Grant, Jesse Davidson and a few others, and I stopped by to pay a visit."

Turcotte, who rode the legendary Secretariat to the Triple Crown in 1973, had an outstanding career ended by a tragic accident at Belmont Park in 1978. He is now confined to a wheelchair, his lower extremities paralyzed.

A native of Grand Falls, New Brunswick, Canada, Turcotte also remembered former Charles Town-based jockey Roger Van Hoozer - who was also paralyzed in a racing mishap.

"What a wonderful man," Turcotte said of the deceased Van Hoozer. "He did a great job for the Jockey's Guild and really looked out for the disabled jockeys. He was a great friend and is truly missed."

Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131 ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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