Runnin’toluvya became the first West Virginia-bred to win the $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2), dueling with Diamond King before edging away to a half-length decision. Dismissed at 9-1 with regular rider Oscar Flores, the five-year-old gelding stretched his win streak to nine and made his graded stakes debut for owner/trainer Tim Grams.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet to be truthful with you,” Grams said. “I’m just lucky to own a horse like this who steps up and seems to always do what we ask him to. We’ve put a lot of challenges on him but he’s stepped up and really surprised us.”
“It’s really big. I know this sounds corny but this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me besides me meeting my wife 18 years ago. This is just unbelievable. Especially for a country boy that didn’t have anything. It means anybody who walks through this gate here has a chance and that’s why this business is so great.”
The gray son of Fiber Sonde was exiting an open score in the March 29 Russel Road Overnight Prep at Charles Town and made his second start of 2019 on Saturday. Runnin’toluvya tracked Diamond King into the first turn and then battled head-and-head to the stretch, eventually proving too good in the final furlong.
“My horse when he had the lead in the stretch, he always gave me another gear,” Flores said. “Whenever I asked, my horse just responded again. Every time I asked, he gave me more.”
Diamond King easily held second as the 5-2 second choice, 5 ½ lengths better than the late-running War Story, who finished second in last year’s Charles Town Classic. It was nearly another length back to 5-2 favorite Rally Cry in fourth.
With the $564,000 payday, Runnin’toluvya has now earned $913,916 from a 16-12-2-0 record.
He’s made all but one start at Charles Town and captured four restricted stakes during the current win streak. Runnin’toluvya was bred by Leslie G. Cromer.