OffTrackBetting.com - Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia will play host to the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic on Saturday, April 23. A very nice purse of $1.25 million will be on the line for horses four years old and upward willing to go 1 1/8 miles on Charles Town's dirt track.
A competitive field of 10 plus 1 Also Eligible have been confirmed for the Charles Town Classic - race 12 on Charles Town's Saturday card. Post time is 6:05 PM. Here is a glance into the past performances of all 11 possible combatants for this lucrative and intriguing Grade 2 stakes.
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Donworth 3-1 - Doug O'Neill trained colt has just six career starts with two wins, a second and two third place finishes. Last time out was a very disappointing seventh as second choice in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 12 which followed a respectable third after clipping heels in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes here February 6, a good win by 11 lengths in the minor Stanton Stakes at Delaware Park way back on June 20, a third in the minor Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico in May, a second in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes in April and a win at first asking in March. Donworth had been in every race before last time out and hopes to bounce back from an uncharacteristic effort with Mario Gutierrez in the saddle of the lukewarm favorite from gate 4.
Imperative 7-2 - finished second behind Dortmund in the 2015 Charles Town Classic in April (a race he won in 2014 at 26-1 odds) but didn't looked great after that. He's been OK in his last four starts however - a fourth last time out in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 12 followed three straight runner-up finishes - a nose behind Hoppertunity in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes February 6, in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes January 9 and in the Grade 3 Native Diver Stakes at Del Mar November 28. Before those results was a fourth in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes September 26 and a fifth in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic in August. Imperative has hit the board in three of his last four starts overall after an unflattering stretch and looks for his first ever Grade 1 score - his first win overall since April, 2014 (15 races) which ironically was in this race. Mike Smith will try to get him that win from post 5.
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Stanford 9-2 - Todd Pletcher trained colt has three wins and four runner-up finishes in 10 career starts. He enters on the heels of consecutive runner-up finishes - the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap last time out March 5 and the Grade 3 Fred W Hooper Stakes at Gulfstream Park February 6 which followed a fifth in the minor Curlin Stakes at Saratoga July 31 and a nice win in the minor Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park July 11. He also had a respectable second in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in March, 2015. Stanford has placed in five of his last six starts overall and will be after his first graded stakes score from post 7. Javier Castellano has the mount.
Page McKenny 6-1 - Mary Eppler trained gelding has 43 career starts with 16 wins, 12 seconds and four third place finishes and has placed in a staggering 23 straight races over the last 24 months ahead of this weekend. He finished third right behind Imperative in this race last year and went on to a second in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special in May and a third in the Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap in June. He enters on a terrific four race win streak - the Grade 3 General George Stakes last time out at Laurel Park February 15, the minor Native Dancer Stakes on that track January 2, the minor Swatara Stakes at Penn National November 25 and the minor Richard W. Small Stakes at Laurel Park November 14. Page McKenny has been as competitive as they come and hopes to keep an impressive run going with Horacio Karamanos in the reins of the 120 pound co-highweight from post 9.
Hard Aces 8-1 - John Sadler trainee looked awfully impressive seven starts back - winning the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita in upset fashion over Catch a Flight and Hoppertunity June 27 but hasn't won in six starts since. Last time out was a respectable second however, ahead of Imperative in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 12. It followed a fifth in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes February 6, a fourth in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes January 9, a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Classic, a sixth in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes September 26 and another disappointing sixth in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar August 22. Hard Aces now has six wins, four seconds and seven third place finishes in 29 career starts and hopes to build on his best effort in quite some time Saturday. He chases his first graded stakes score in nearly a year from gate 10 with Abel Lezcano guiding him.
International Star 8-1 - Michael Maker trained colt was on quite a roll at this time last year on the Kentucky Derby trail, winning three straight graded stakes races at Fair Grounds - the Grade 3 Louisiana Derby, the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes and the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes but was sent to the sidelines for eight months after that. He has been OK in four races since that time - a respectable second thanks to a DQ - behind S'marvelous last time out in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap March 26 followed a fourth in the Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap February 20, a nice win in the minor Louisiana Stakes in January and a fourth in the minor Zia Park Derby in November. International Star now has six wins and three runner-up finishes in 13 career starts and will be after his first graded stakes score in over a year from gate 6. Jose Ortiz rides.
S'marvelous 10-1 - Michael Maker trained gelding has placed in 16 of 20 career starts - eight wins, four second and four third place finishes. He enters on a good two race win streak - the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap last time out at 20-1 odds in his stakes debut March 16 and an Allowance Optional Claiming March 3 - both at Fair Grounds. He placed in nine of 10 starts prior to those wins including five wins over that span. S'marvelous has been impressive the last year and hopes for his third straight win Saturday from post 3. Jockey Jose Lezcano tries to accomplish that goal on the other 120 pound co-highweight from post 3 Saturday.
La Macchina 15-1 - has 13 career starts with three wins and three second place finishes - two wins in three starts this year. Last time out however was an unsuccessful step up into graded stakes competition when he finished sixth in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap March 19. Before that was a win in the minor Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park and an Allowance Optional Claiming score on that track in January. He has placed in five of his last seven starts overall and hopes for a bounce back performance Saturday. Channing Hill will be in the irons from gate 8.
Charitable Annuity 20-1 - has been very good in his career so far for trainer James Casey - seven wins and two third place finishes in 12 career starts - all on this track. He makes his graded stakes debut off a third in an Allowance March 23, a fourth in a similar race March 2 and four straight wins including the minor A Huevo Stakes in November, the minor West Virginia Breeders Classic in October and the minor Robert G. Leavitt Stakes in August. Charitable Annuity knows this track well and hopes to snap a two race losing streak from gate 2. Antonio Lopez has been tabbed to ride.
Sonny Inspired 20-1 - has 29 career starts with six wins, six seconds and seven third place finishes. He enters in decent form having placed in his last three starts overall. Last time out was a win in the minor Ben's Cat Stakes at Laurel Park March 19 after a respectable third in the Grade 3 General George Stakes on that track February 15 and another minor stakes score at Laurel Park - the Fire Plug Stakes in January. Sonny Inspired arrives in career best form and looks for his first graded stakes score from the rail. Jevian Toledo rides.
Incremental 20-1 - Also Eligible Entry has just two wins, two seconds and three third place finishes in 21 career starts. He has failed to place in his last three starts - a seventh in an Allowance Optional Claiming last time out April 2 followed a tenth in his only stakes action to date - the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap March 19 and a fifth in an Allowance Optional Claiming March 3. He hasn't been great and will need a special effort if he does indeed draw the start Saturday.
2016 Charles Town Classic Entries & Odds
Race 12 on Charles Town's Saturday card with a Post Time of 6:05 PM.
|1||Sonny Inspired||20-1||Jevian Toledo||Phil Schoenthal|
|2||Charitable Annuity||20-1||Antonio Lopez||James Casey|
|3||S'maverlous||10-1||Jose Lezcano||Michael Maker|
|4||Donworth||3-1||Mario Gutierrez||Doug O'Neill|
|5||Imperative||7-2||Mike Smith||Richard Baltas|
|6||International Star||8-1||Jose Ortiz||Michael Maker|
|7||Stanford||9-2||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher|
|8||La Macchina||15-1||Channing Hill||Otabek Umarov|
|9||Page McKenney||6-1||Horacio Karamanos||Mary Eppler|
|10||Hard Aces||8-1||Abel Lezcano||John Sadler|
|11||Incremental||20-1||Geovanni Franco||Otabek Umarov|