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Las Vegas, NV - Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in the great state of West Virginia will play host to the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic this Saturday, April 19. The richest purse in North America outside of the Breeders' Cup and Triple Crown - $1.5 million will be on the line for horses four years old and upward willing to go 1 1/8 miles on Charles Town's main track.
The Charles Town Classic has attracted a small but quality field of seven to go in race 12 on Charles Town's Saturday card. Post time is 10:30 PM. Let's take a glance at the past performances of all seven combatants for this intriguing Grade 2 stakes.
Game on Dude Bob Baffert trained gelding is a multiple Grade 1 winner and is the defending champion in this race - he was second in this race second in 2011. He has 10 graded stakes scores in his last 15 starts - five straight last year including the 2013 Charles Town Classic over Clubhouse Ride, the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup in July and the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar August 25 in the second fastest time recorded in that race in the last 10 years. He stumbled a bit in the winter losing three straight - a disappointing fifth in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes February 8, a second to Will Take Charge in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs November 29 and a very disappointing ninth as 8-5 favorite in the Breeders' Cup Classic but he bounced back most recently with a terrific repeat win in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap - a race he's won three times. He was the most impressive horse on the planet last year and will be looking to start another win streak Saturday. He leaves from post 3 as the 4-5 favorite with Mike Smith in the saddle.
Moreno - was last seen running a disappointing tenth in the Breeders' Cup. The Eric Guillot pupil raced to a seventh in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes in August 2012 in his second career start and concentrated on MSW races in his next eight starts. His only win in those races came by 6 1/4 lengths at Belmont Park June 8. Recently he stepped back into graded stakes company and he won the Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes in impressive fashion by seven lengths July 6 and followed that with a respectable third behind Palace Malice and Will Take Charge in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes July 27. He had a pair of good seconds at the end of the summer before his Breeders' Cup experience - in the Grade 1 Travers behind Will Take Charge and ahead of Orb and in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx September 21. Moreno has placed in five of his last six starts and hopes to rebound from an ugly effort last time out. He will have Joel Rosario in the saddle from post 2 Saturday and is expected to be Game On Dude's biggest challenge Saturday.
Clubhouse Ride - finished second in four straight races to start 2013 including 2013 Charles Town Classic behind Game On Dude, the Big Cap and the Grade 2 San Antonio and then went on to a terrific win in the Grade 2 Californian at Hollywood Park in June. He failed to place in his next five starts however - a fifth in the minor Joe Hernandez Stakes February 23 after a fourth in the minor Ralph M. Hinds Handicap in September, a fifth in the minor Harry F. Brubaker Stakes in August, a sixth in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap in July and a fourth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup three weeks earlier. He enters having finished third in two straight races however - the minor Santana Mile Stakes last time out March 30 at Santa Anita and the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes March 8 so we know that he is getting over his prior funk. He has just four wins in 35 career starts and enters this weekend looking to best his old nemesis Game On Dude. Tyler Baze gets the call from the rail as the 3-1 co-third choice.
Charles Town Classic betting at Charles Town Races with OffTrackBetting.com
Long River - Kiaran McLaughlin trained colt entered the Excelsior Stakes on a three race win streak - the Evening Attire Stakes January 18 after the Time for a Change Stakes December 1 and then finished a good second behind Romansh in the Grade 3 Excelsior March 22. His prior graded stakes action came in February 2013 - an eighth in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes which followed a fourth in the Grade 2 Jerome Stakes in January 2013. Long River has four wins and three second place finishes in 10 career starts and enters this weekend in the best form of his career - three wins and a second in his last four starts. Irad Ortiz will be in the saddle from gate 5 at 3-1 odds.
Lucy's Bob Boy - has an impressive 17 wins and three seconds in 23 career starts for trainer Sandra Dono and enters having won two of his last three starts - an Allowance last time out on this track March 14 and the minor A Huevo Stakes also here November 16 with a disappointing seventh in the minor Broad Brush Stakes at Laurel Park sandwiched in there. He has just on graded stakes start so far - a fifth in the Grade 2 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park in July but he has won four of six starts since. Lucy's Bob Boy will attempt to break through in graded stakes company for the first time Saturday with Arnaldo Boccachica aboard from post 6 at 12-1 odds.
Imperative - improving George Papaprodromou trained gelding has 14 career starts with two wins, four seconds and a third place finish and is coming off a somewhat disappointing seventh in the competitive Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 8 after his career best performance - a second behind Blingo and ahead of Game On Dude in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes here February 8. His only other stakes start came in September 2012 - a tenth in the Grade 1 FrontRunner but he has placed in four of his last five starts overall. Kent Desormeaux gets the mount from the outside post Saturday at 20-1 odds.
Ruler of Love - has placed in just one of his last four starts for trainer Joan Scott - an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Tampa Bay December 22 but went on to a fourth in the minor Challenger Stakes on that same track March 22. He did have a pair of good seconds last summer - in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby in August and to Departing in the Grade 2 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs in September. But he hasn't quite been the same since. Ruler of Love has just three wins, three seconds and three thirds in 16 career starts and will be looking to get back to his summer 2013 form Saturday. He departs at 20-1 odds from post 4 with Jose Montano in the reins.
Race 12 on Charles Town Races's Saturday card with a Post Time of 10:30 PM.
|1||Clubhouse Ride||T. Baze||C. Lewis|
|2||Moreno||J. Rosario||E. Guillot|
|3||Game On Dude||M. Smith||B. Baffert|
|4||Ruler of Love||J. Montano||J. Scott|
|5||Long River||I. Ortiz, Jr.||K. McLaughlin|
|6||Lucy's Bob Boy||A. Bocachica||S. Dono|
|7||Imperative||K. Desormeaux||G. Papaprodromou|
|Race Tracks||Time (EST)|