10/12/2017 1:16PM

Cavada tops stakes-laden W.Va. Breeders' Classic undercard

Coady Photography
Moonlit Song enters Saturday's Cavada having won seven of her last eight starts.

The richest of the eight supporting stakes on West Virginia Breeders’ Classic night at Charles Town is the $125,000 Cavada, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares named in honor of the 4-year-old filly who won the Classic at even money in 1995, when it was held at Mountaineer Park.

The undercard also includes the 1 1/8-mile Distaff, sister race to the $350,000 Classic; the Onion Juice, for 3-year-olds and up at seven furlongs; the 4 1/2-furlong Dash for Cash; a pair of 2-year-old races at 6 1/2 furlongs; and two seven-furlong stakes for 3-year-olds.

Total purses on the nine-race card, which begins at 7 p.m. Eastern, are $1 million. The entire program will be streamed live on DRF.com.

Moonlit Song, a 3-year-old filly facing older rivals in the Cavada, will be the shortest price on the card. Bred and owned by the husband and wife team of Timothy and Judy Grams, she has won 8 of 11 starts, including seven of her last eight.

Trained by Timothy Grams, Moonlit Song comes into the Cavada off a 6 3/4-length win over older company in the Sadie Hawkins on Sept. 23 at Charles Town. Grams said he believes Moonlit Song is the best horse he and his wife have owned.

The Gramses also bred, owned, and trained Fancy Buckles, who won 9 of 17 starts and $278,000 between 2002 and 2004. Grams won the Fancy Buckles Stakes at Charles Town for the second time this year with Moonlit Song.

“The difference between the two is Fancy Buckles was more of a sprinter,” Grams said. “She was damn near unbeatable at 4 1/2 furlongs, but going 6 1/2 or seven furlongs, what you had at the top of the stretch was basically what you had.

“Moonlit Song is a stronger filly, and going 6 1/2 or seven furlongs she has another gear.”

:: Get PPs, analysis, and watch Saturday's card live

In the $80,000 Onion Juice, the male version of the Cavada, Help a Brother is the horse to beat off his runner-up effort last out in a no-conditions statebred allowance. The winner of that race, Ello Guvna, is a contender in the Classic later on the card. Help a Brother was bred and is owned and trained by Craig Lewis Jr.

In the Fairway will start in the Onion Juice for the fifth straight year for trainer Jeff Runco. In the Fairway won the Onion Juice in 2013, a year following his victory in the Vincent Moscarelli on Classics night as a 2-year-old.

The $75,000 West Virginia Lottery is one of the most interesting races on the card. Unrideabull is the top locally based 3-year-old but will face Grumpelstiltskin, whom Jeremiah Englehart ships in from Belmont Park.

Unrideabull is owned by his breeder and trainer Michael Sterling, who operates a small stable. Unrideabull has won his last three starts, including the Frank Gall Memorial over older rivals.

The son of Bullsbay earned his name because he hasn’t been the easiest horse to train at times.

“We’ve had some different little issues with him,” Sterling said. “He was laying into the rail, so I took him to a few different vets but nobody found anything wrong with him. It was more in his head. But now we’ve got him going straight. He’s maturing.”

Unrideabull races with an extension blinker over his left eye to keep him from wanting to go in that direction.

Grumpelstiltskin has finished third in first-level allowance races at Saratoga and Belmont in his last two starts. While the 85 Beyer Speed Figure he earned last time out is the high number in the field, Unrideabull owns the home-field advantage in this seven-furlong race, which will be run around two turns.

The $75,000 Division of Tourism is a wide-open, seven-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies. The top contenders include Scottish Denis and Tricky Windsor, who are trained by James W. Casey, and Honeymoon Cruise, who races for Runco.

Greenway Court is a horse for the 4 1/2-furlong course and would be a popular winner of the $65,000 Dash for Cash. Now 8, he recently won the It’s Only Money for the fourth time in five years. He won the Dash for Cash in 2016, 2015, and 2013, and finished second, beaten a neck, in 2014.

Casey, his owner, breeder, and trainer, said this could be his last year of competition.

“Early in his career, he won going seven-eighths, but he loves the 4 1/2 furlongs,” Casey said.

The $75,000 Moscarelli, for 2-year-olds, and the $75,000 Triple Crown Nutrition, for 2-year-old fillies, both have solid favorites.

Dionysus’ Chalice won his debut by five lengths for Ollie Figgins III before finishing third to William and Mary and Pinch Your Brother in the Henry Mercer Memorial. Neither of the horses who beat him are running back in the Moscarelli.

No Blame won the Rachel’s Turn by 6 1/2 lengths as the 2-5 favorite in her local debut for trainer Joe Sharp and is now 3 for 3. She won her first two starts at Indiana Grand.