The rematch between the one-two finishers in this year’s Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in the April 16 Charles Town Classic (gr. III) appeared doubtful the evening of April 11.
Game On Dude, winner of the March 5 Big ’Cap is a go, but Setsuko, a close second in the California race, could be bumped from the field, which is determined primarily by graded or group stakes victories in the past two years.
The racing office at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia received a call April 11 from the connections of Inherit the Gold, a New York-bred by Gold Token who won the grade III Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct April 2 to bag his first graded-stakes victory. Setsuko, far better than his one-for-12 record suggests, has come close but never has won a graded stakes.
With Setsuko scheduled to leave California for West Virginia April 11, and the draw for the Charles Town Classic set for April 13, it appeared unlikely he would make the trip.
Inherit the Gold, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Glas-Tipp Stable and Susanne Hooper and trained by Jimmy Hooper, has won five straight races, all at Aqueduct. Three of his wins have come at the Charles Town Classic distance of 1 1/8 miles.
“Who knows where we’ll go next,” Jimmy Hooper said after the Excelsior. “I want him to be happy. As long as this horse is happy, we’ll have a lot of fun.”
Inherit the Gold has won before with only two weeks between races.