Muad’dib Will Need ‘A-Game’ To Defend His Title In West Virginia Breeders Classic

Fresh off a historic 2021 West Virginia Breeders Classics night, the duo of Jeff Runco and Arnaldo Bocachica will team up once again with defending champion Muad’dib in the night’s signature event, the $300,000 Sam Huff West Virginia Breeders Classic. The West Virginia Breeders Classics XXXVI card features ten West Virginia-bred stakes races worth a total of $1 million in purses, and will also have a mandatory distribution of the Charles Town 6-12 jackpot carryover that currently sits at $84,745.

Muad’dib’s win in the 2021 Classic was one of seven on the night for trainer Jeff Runco, and one of eight for jockey Arnaldo Bocachica, both records for wins on a single card at Charles Town.

“It really was an incredible night. It took a lot of great trips, great rides, and the horses to be at the top of their games that night,” said Runco of his record-setting 2021 Breeders Classics night. “Obviously it will be tough to top but we’re certainly going to try.”

Runco will have plenty of chances at Breeders Classics success again in 2022, with 17 entrants in the 9 Breeders Classics races (the 10th race is a non-WVBC state-bred stakes race), the most of any trainer on the night.

But when the Sam Huff West Virginia Breeders Classic rolls around, all eyes will be on his West Virginia-bred Champion Muad’dib. Owned by David Raim and bred by John McKee, Muad’dib comes into the Classic off of the first defeat of his career, though he was hardly disgraced while finishing second to now two-time Charles Town Classic (G2) champion Art Collector in Charles Town’s signature $1 million race in August. Muad’dib will now attempt to become just the fifth horse to record back-to-back wins in the richest race for West Virginia-breds. And despite suffering his first career defeat last out, Runco says he found out a lot about his charge that night.

“He showed that he’s a really good horse. He’s got a ton of heart, he does what he has to do every time, and he can do just about anything. He can go to the lead, he can come from out of it, he’s just a special, special horse. But he’s going to have to bring his A-game on Saturday. Candy Invasion is a nice horse. [Jockey Arnaldo Bocachica] is going to ride his race, but he’ll be aware of where he (Candy Invasion) is and when he makes his move.”

The aforementioned Candy Invasion – a homebred for trainer John Casey — will attempt to play the role of spoiler. He enters the Classic off of the best race of his career, an 8 ½ length win in an open West Virginia-bred allowance event. Following a 4th place effort in last year’s Classic as a 3-year-old, the now 4-year-old gelded son of Normandy Invasion has developed into a route specialist, and will relish the nine furlong distance of the Classic.

The $300,000 Classic will bear the name of the late co-founder of the West Virginia Breeders Classics and NFL Hall of Famer Sam Huff for the first time.

The night’s co-featured race, the $125,000 West Virginia Cavada Breeders Classic, drew a field of seven fillies and mares, and is led by last year’s Triple Crown Nutrition Breeders Classic winner The Sky Is Falling for the same connections as Muad’dib: Raim, Runco, and Bocachica. The 3-year-old daughter of Cupid enters the Cavada on a four-race winning streak, and took down older foes when taking the local prep for the Cavada, the $75,000 Sadie Hawkins Stakes on Charles Town Classic night.

The Charles Town 6-12 carryover currently stands at $84,745 with two cards remaining prior to its distribution. The Charles Town 6-12 is a jackpot style Pick 6 covering the final six races on each Charles Town card and carries a low 12-percent takeout.

The first race on Saturday’s West Virginia Breeders’ Classics program is slated for 7:00 P.M EST, with the featured Sam Huff West Virginia Breeders Classic going off as Race 8 and carrying a tentative post time of 10:30 P.M.

West Virginia Breeders Classics festivities kick off on Friday, October 7th with the Sam Huff Golf Classic, featuring honorary Chairman Mike Nelms, a two-time Super Bowl champion and three-time Pro Bowler, followed by the Breeders Classics Gala that night. In addition to live country and western music on the track apron, Classics night will feature a new addition for fans and racegoers, as Jefferson Security Bank will be sponsoring the first ever West Virginia Breeders Classics Hat Contest, which will have $3,000 total in cash prizes covering two categories: Most Original and Best Racing Theme.

$300,000 SAM HUFF WEST VIRGINIA BREEDERS CLASSIC

OCTOBER 8, 2022

Race 8 – Post time 10:30pm EST

3&up, 1 1/8 Miles

PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer

1. Ishihara, Christian Hiraldo, 123, Jeff C. Runco

2. Hero’s Man, Gustavo Larrosa, 123, James W. Casey

3. Allen Can Do It, Gerald Almodovar, 123, John A. Casey

4. Martin Man, Victor Rodriguez, 123, Wade S. Sanderson

5. Candy Invasion, Jose Montano, 123, John A. Casey

6. Muad’dib, Arnaldo Bocachica, 123, Jeff C. Runco

7. Buff’s Eye View, Fredy Peltroche, 123, David Walters

9. Out of Cents, Marshall Mendez, 123, Jeff C. Runco

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