10/18/2014 10:29PM

Russell Road rallies to win third West Virginia Breeders' Classic

Coady Photography
The 7-year-old Down Town Allen, ridden by Matt McGowan, moves to within $2,000 of becoming the first female West Virginia-bred to win $1 million.

Based on recent performances, Russell Road was beginning to show signs of slipping at age 8. He had lost four straight races this season, and was easily handled by Lucy’s Bob Boy three straight  times since August.

It looked like Russell Road, despite hounding heavy favorite Lucy’s Bob Boy from start until the top of the stretch in Saturday night’s $450,000 West Virginia Breeders’ Classic at Charles Town, was going to lose again. But this time, the old-timer simply refused to lose.

Lucy’s Bob Boy, sent off at 1-2, opened up by 1 1/2 lengths with an eighth of a mile remaining, but Russell Road kept coming under Jose Montano and wore down his rival to win the Classic for a record third time. Now 28 for 53 lifetime, Russell Road ($11.40) also won the Classic in 2009 and 2011 while finishing second each of the past two years. The winning time for 1  1/8 miles was 1:53.84.

Trained by James Casey for owner Mark Russell, Russell Road prevailed by a half-length. Lucy’s Bob Boy, winner of the 2012 Classic, had to settle for second. Last year’s winner, Fred High, was third.

Down Town Allen takes Cavada

At an age when many mares are done racing Down Town Allen is still going strong.

The 7-year-old Down Town Allen, the richest West Virginia-bred female of all time, made it 5 for 5 this season with a front-running, three-quarter-length score in the$180,000 Cavada for fillies and mares.

In addition to giving trainer John Casey his second win of the all-stakes card, Down Town Allen moved close to $1 million in earnings. Her $95,400 share of the purse boosted her career bankroll to $998, 787. She won the 2012 running of the Cavada, but was scratched on race day last year.

Ridden by Matt McGowan, Down Town Allen ($2.60) ran seven furlongs in 1:26.55 and was not seriously threatened by runner-up Dora Dora.

Defending champion Fear the Facelift finished fifth.

Red Hot Diva, who was expected to provide the stiffest competition for Down Town Allen, was scratched.

In the other undercard stakes:

The Wayne Catalano-trained filly Harlan’s Destiny ($2.40) won her second straight stakes locally, scoring by two lengths under Rafael Hernandez in the $72,000 Triple Crown Nutrition for 2-year-old fillies.

Prince of Windsor ($27.60), eighth after the first half-mile, got up by a neck over 5-2 favorite Comeonletsplay in the $76,500 West Virginia Lottery for 3-year-olds. Travis Dunkelberger rode Prince of Windsor for trainer Ollie Figgins.

Hear the Chatter ($4.80), ridden by Gerard Almodovar, easily defeated stablemate One More Time by 4 3/4 lengths in the $72,000 Vince Moscarelli for 2-year-olds. The top two finishers, who were uncoupled in the wagering, are trained by John Casey for owner Kristy Petty.

Halter Off ($14.80), ridden by Luis Batista, outfought defending champion and 2-5 favorite Greenway Court by a neck  in the $72,000 Dash for Cash at 4 1/2 furlongs.

Perfect Cross, the second longest shot on the board at 39-1, ended a 16-race losing streak and upset defending champion and 3-5 favorite In the Fairway by a nose in the seven-furlong, $76,500 Onion Juice. Ridden by Jose Montano for trainer Carlyne Tapscott, the 4-year-old Perfect Cross paid $81.40, winning for the first time since June 2013.

Flirting Song ($8) prevailed by a head in a three-horse photo over Spa Creek and Runaway Brae in the 1 1/8-mile, $76,500 Distaff. Christian Hiraldo was aboard the 4-year-old Flirting Song for owner-trainer John McKee.

Hiraldo and McKee teamed up one race later to capture the $76,500 West Virginia Division of Tourism with the 3-year-old filly Cat That’s Gray ($14.20), who  won a stretch duel with 3-5 favorite Chrome Mine by a neck.