04/18/2016 3:29PM

Russell Road set for 10-year-old debut in Confucius Say Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Russell Road scores in the 2015 Confucius Say Stakes.

Russell Road will begin his 10-year-old season in the $50,000 Confucius Say Stakes for West Virginia-breds on Saturday on the Charles Town Classic undercard.

Russell Road will be making his first start since finishing ninth at 5-2 in the $450,000 West Virginia Breeders’ Classic in October. He bled in that race, according to trainer James M. Casey, and then was given the winter off at the Casey family’s Taylor Mountain Farm.

“We’re going to try him here and see how he does,” Casey said.

Since beginning his career at Charles Town in the summer of 2008, Russell Road has won 30 of 58 starts for owner Mark Russell. He is a little more than $35,000 shy of $2 million in earnings.

Casey has worked Russell Road three times since March 12.

“I’m thinking he may not be as good this year as he was last year, but he’s training great,” Casey said. “Usually, they start going downhill once they reach 7, but he’s not acting that way.”

Russell Road has won his season debut in each of the last five years. He began last year by winning the Confucius Say by 4 1/2 lengths. He also won the Confucius Say to start off 2012 and 2011. Russell Road won allowance races at Mountaineer Park in his first races of 2013 and 2014.