10/11/2006 11:00PM

Classic winners from 2005 out in force

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Five returning winners from last year's series, led by Classic winner Speed Whiz, will vie for the record $1.45 million up for grabs in the 20th annual West Virginia Breeders Classics program Saturday night at Charles Town. The program features eight races, all of which are stakes.

Speed Whiz, a 5-year-old based in Maryland with owner-trainer William Campbell, is among 10 male horses, plus two also-eligibles, in the program's biggest race, the 1 1/8-mile Classic, worth $500,000.

The Classic field also includes King Cohl, who won last year's Vincent Moscarelli for 2-year-olds, one of three consecutive stakes he captured. King Cohl, the lone 3-year-old in the Classic, has not done nearly so well this season, going winless in four starts. He is trained by Forrest Kaelin.

Other returning champions are Not for Sam in the 4 1/2-furlong Dash for Cash; Spindini in the seven-furlong Onion Juice; and Standing for Peace, who won the Triple Crown Nutrition in 2005 and now moves up to the West Virginia Division of Tourism for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs.

All the stakes are restricted to West Virginia-bred or West Virginia-sired horses.

A year ago, Speed Whiz came from seventh to cruise to a 7 1/2-length victory in the Classic, then worth $450,000, earning a 95 Beyer Speed Figure. He has not been nearly as sharp recently, finishing no better than fourth in his last three starts with a top Beyer of 84 during that span.

Fortunately for Campbell and Speed Whiz, this edition of the Classic came up soft. Only one other runner, Wesh's Rul, has ever won going nine furlongs, and he did so against nonwinners-of-three allowance horses.

Among Speed Whiz's rivals, only Hello Out There has exceeded 80 on the Beyer scale this year. A 4-year-old trained by Ronney Brown, Hello Out There got an 84 for winning a second-level allowance in March. He will be stretching out off a half-length victory in the seven-furlong Robert Hilton Memorial on Sept. 2.

The second-richest race on the card is the $325,000 Cavada, a seven-furlong event for fillies and mares. It matches 4-year-old Carnival Chrome, a winner of 6 of 7 lifetime starts, against 3-year-old Julie B, a two-time stakes winner who is stepping up to face older horses for the first time.

In the other stakes, each worth $100,000:

* Not for Sam, winless in five starts this year and unraced since early August, will be hard-pressed to repeat against Earth Power, a 6-year-old who won the Onion Juice in 2004 and finished third as the even-money favorite last year. Earth Power will be making only his second start of the year and his first since May.

* Proper Jazz, a nine-length winner with a 71 Beyer against maidens last time out, appears to tower over his competition in the 6 1/2-furlong Vincent Moscarelli for 2-year-olds.

* Glorious Appearing, a decisive winner in last month's local prep, and Sue's Sweet Girl, a wire-to-wire maiden winner at Belmont Park in her only start, are the fastest 2-year-old fillies coming into the Triple Crown Nutrition at 4 1/2 furlongs.

* Spindini is the defending champion, but the most intriguing entrant in the Onion Juice is 8-year-old Confucius Say. A two-time winner of the Classic, Confucius Say returned to the races this past spring after a 3 1/2-year absence. He has won only 1 of 6 starts this season, but the Beyers he has earned in two of his last three races, 100 and 94, are easily good enough to win in this spot.

* Mike'sgoodandtough, who has won his last two starts by a combined margin of 14 1/2 lengths with superior Beyers, figures to be a short-priced favorite in the seven-furlong West Virginia Lottery for 3-year-olds.

* Last year's West Virginia Futurity winner, Shesagrumptoo, a dominant winner of two of her last three starts, and Malibu Sue, coming off a front-running victory at the same distance, head the seven-furlong West Virginia Division of Tourism for 3-year-old fillies.