It’s the smallest field thus far for the Charles Town Classic, which will have its fifth running at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. It appears the presence of the multiple grade I stakes winners scared off some of the competition.
The 1 1/8-mile Charles Town Classic this year offers $1 million to the winner and $500,000 for the other finishers. The purse trails only some Breeders’ Cup races and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) in North America.
Game On Dude, the two-time Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) winner owned by Diamond Pride, Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable, and Bernie Schiappa, won the 2013 Big ’Cap in his last start. Ron the Greek checked in fourth in that race. Second-place Big 'Cap finisher Clubhouse Ride is entered in the Charles Town Classic as well.
Game on Dude, a 6-year-old Awesome Again gelding, finished second in the 2011 Classic at Charles Town. Trainer Bob Baffert told Charles Town officials Game On Dude shipped well and is ready for the challenge.
“He’s doing great; he’s happy,” Baffert said. “He worked (April 14) very well—five-eighths of a mile in 59 3/5. He’s really sharp right now. This is the second time we’ve been there. It’s a $1.5 million race, and it’s easier to get there than Dubai (for the group I World Cup).”
Regular rider Mike Smith is named aboard Game On Dude, the the 123-pound highweight breaking from post 3.
CHARLES TOWN CLASSIC
MOST WINS BY A HORSE: Researcher 2 (2009-10).
MOST WINS BY A JOCKEY: Four tied with 1.
MOST WINS BY A TRAINER: Jeff Runco 2.
BIGGEST LONGSHOT WINNER: Caixa Eletronica (2012), paid $18.80.
BIGGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY: Caixa Eletronica (2012), 3 lengths.
FASTEST TIME: Researcher (2009), 1:49.86.
FACTOIDS: The betting favorite has yet to be involved in the trifecta.
Compiled by Gary Dougherty
Ron the Greek, a 6-year-old Full Mandate horse owned by Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable, and Jack Hammer, was scheduled to leave Florida April 17. Trained by Bill Mott, Ron the Greek won the Sunshine Millions Classic for Florida-bred runners earlier this year before his trip to California.
Ron the Greek last year defeated eventual Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, and before that won the Big ’Cap. Jose Lezcano is named to ride at 118 pounds from post 5 in the three-turn race.
Trainer Todd Pletcher entered three horses, including last year’s Charles Town Classic winner, Caixa Eletronica. Owned by Repole Stable, the 8-year-old Arromanches horse entered last year’s Classic off of a race in a sprint, and will do so again this time.
in his last start in March, Caixa Eletronica won the Uncle Mo Stakes at six furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack. Caixa Eletronica will be ridden by Javier Castellano, who was aboard for the Charles Town Classic win and his nine subsequent starts, at 116 pounds from post 6.
The Charles Town Classic is the 12th race on a 13-race program that begins at 5 p.m. EDT. Post time for the Classic is set for 10:30 p.m.
There are five other stakes and two overnight handicaps on the program, including the $200,000 Sugar Maple Stakes Presented by CANTER Mid-Atlantic. It is for fillies and mares at seven furlongs.