Eighty-eight horses with 52 North American graded-stakes victories among them have been nominated to the $1 million Charles Town Classic, which this year has been elevated to grade III status.
The April 16 event, first graded stakes in the history of Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in Wset Virginia, headlines a six-stakes program that gets under way at 6 p.m. EDT, a departure from the usual 7:15 p.m. first post time. The Classic, at 1 1/8 miles, is scheduled to go at 10:30 p.m.
Because of the configuration of the three-quarter-mile racing surface, the field for the Classic, like all other races at Charles Town, is limited to 10 starters.
Among the nominees are Game On Dude and Setsuko, the one-two finishers in this year’s Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I); Misremembered, winner of last year’s Big ’Cap; Tackleberry, winner of the Gulfstream Park Handicap and Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship (both gr. II) this year; and Rule, one of 13 horses nominated by trainer Todd Pletcher.
Nominations for the other five stakes on the Classic program—the $250,000 TVG Sugar Maple, $100,000 Blue & Gold, $55,000 Webb Snyder, $50,000 Confucius Say, and $50,000 Original Gold—close April 6.