08/02/2005 11:00PM

Charles Town track report


It would have been a fitting tribute to a longtime pillar of the racing community at Charles Town if Hello Out There had been able to win the ninth race on July 28.

Hello Out There, a 3-year-old gelding owned by the Taylor Mountain Farm founded by James W. and Eleanor Casey, raced only hours after 73-year-old Eleanor Casey died of a heart attack. Although sent off as the 8-5 favorite, Hello Out There could only manage to finish fifth of six in the two-other-than allowance race.

Eleanor Casey, who would have turned 74 on Aug. 1 and would have celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary later this month, was the matriarch of a family with deep roots in Charles Town racing.

Her husband is a breeder and trainer. Sons James M. and John are also in the horse business - James M. as a veterinarian and trainer, and John as a breeder, trainer, and manager of Taylor Mountain LLC, the family farm near Charles Town. A daughter, Ann Casey, owned Ring Them Bells, a winner in the 1995 West Virginia Breeders Classics series, an event the Casey family has dominated since its inception in 1987.

Horses who ran in the name of Eleanor Casey or Taylor Mountain Farm won 12 Breeders Classics races from 1989 to 2003. She won the biggest race, the Classic, four times - twice with Taylor Mountain, in 1989 and 1990, and with Step Out Dancing in 1998 and Its Binn Too Long in 1999.

In addition to taking the 1998 Classic, Casey won the Cavada with Marcy Marcy and the Vincent Moscarelli with Hushaby Adam on that year's West Virginia Breeders Classics program.

In 1999, her best year in recent history, Casey's horses won at a 20 percent clip while amassing 53 victories and $593,761 in earnings.