Don­worth to face 9 in Charles Town Clas­sic

Daily Racing Form Saturday Stakes Preview - - FRONT PAGE - – Jim Dun­leavy – Steve Andersen – Marty Mcgee – David Gren­ing

A full field of 10, plus one also-el­i­gi­ble, has been en­tered for the Grade 2 Charles Town Clas­sic on Satur­day. There are six stakes on the Clas­sic un­der­card.

Don­worth, trained by Doug O’neill, is ex­pected to rule a slight fa­vorite in the $1.25 mil­lion Clas­sic from post 4. But the Todd Pletcher-trained Stan­ford (post 7) and Page Mcken­ney (post 9), a win­ner of five of his last six starts for trainer Mary Ep­pler, also are sure to take money.

Im­per­a­tive will have his share of sup­port­ers as two of his best races have come at Charles Town. Three for 30 in his ca­reer, Im­per­a­tive de­feated Game On Dude in the 2014 Clas­sic at 26-1 and was sec­ond to Moreno last year at 31-1. Im­per­a­tive’s train­ing was taken over by Richard Bal­tas last sum­mer. He will start from post 5.

Trainer Mike Maker will take two shots at the Charles Town Clas­sic with S’maver­lous and In­ter­na­tional Star. S’maver­lous up­set the New Or­leans Hand­i­cap at 20-1 in his last start. In­ter­na­tional Star fin­ished third at 2-1, beaten 2 1/2 lengths, but was el­e­vated to sec­ond when run­ner-up Jes­sica’s Star was dis­qual­i­fied.

“S’maver­lous was a pleas­ant sur­prise,” Maker said. “I thought he de­served a chance in the race, but I didn’t think he could beat In­ter­na­tional Star.”

S’maver­lous has im­proved markedly since Maker claimed him for $32,000 at Bel­mont Park last Septem­ber. In­ter­na­tional Star ran hard in the New Or­leans Hand­i­cap, but there was no catch­ing S’maver­lous, who opened up a clear lead in up­per stretch of the 1 1/8-mile race. In­ter­na­tional Star was beaten a half-length for sec­ond.

Maker is pleased with how both horses came out of the race.

“They’ve both main­tained their weight and are train­ing for­wardly,” he said.

Maker said In­ter­na­tional Star would be aided by a quick pace.

“His best races come when there is a pretty con­tested pace, and judg­ing by the horses Charles Town is ex­pect­ing, I would think it will be a lively pace this week­end,” Maker said.

The field for the 1 1/8-mile Clas­sic also in­cludes Santa Anita Hand­i­cap run­ner-up Hard Aces, who is trained by John Sadler. Hard Aces will start from post 10 in the three­turn race.

The other run­ners are Sonny In­spired, a win­ner of two Lau­rel Park Stakes in his last three starts, post 10; La Macchina, the win­ner of the Es­sex Hand­i­cap at Oak­lawn Park, post 8; and the lo­cally based Char­i­ta­ble An­nu­ity, post 2.

Otabek Umarov, the trainer of La Macchina, also en­tered In­cre­men­tal, who is on the also-el­i­gi­ble list. Umarov had in­tended to en­ter Looks to Spare, but ac­cord­ing to Charles Town of­fi­cials, the horse came down with a fever in tran­sit from Oak­lawn.

Na­tion­ally known riders with mounts in the Clas­sic in­clude Javier Castel­lano (Stan­ford), Jose Or­tiz (In­ter­na­tional Star), Mike Smith (Im­per­a­tive), Mario Gu­tier­rez (Don­worth), and Jose Lez­cano (S’maver­lous).

The Charles Town Clas­sic card will be streamed live on

com. The Clas­sic is the fi­nal race of a $100,000-guar­an­teed all-stakes pick four. The card will be­gin at 12:45 p.m. East­ern, with the Clas­sic sched­uled for 6:05.

The un­der­card in­cludes the $150,000 Sugar Maple, a seven-fur­long race for fil­lies and mares; the $100,000 Robert Hil­ton Me­mo­rial, for 3-yearolds at seven fur­longs; and four $50,000 stakes for West Vir­ginia-breds.

Rus­sell Road, who is clos­ing in on $2 mil­lion in earn­ings, will make his 10-year-old de­but in the $50,000 Con­fu­cius Say.

Los Alami­tos: Great Lady M.

Fan­tas­tic Style will be fa­vored to win her fourth con­sec­u­tive start in Satur­day’s $200,000 Great Lady M. Stakes at Los Alami­tos, the rich­est race of the track’s spring meet­ing.

Fan­tas­tic Style won the Grade 2 Great Lady M. Stakes for fil­lies and mares in 2015, when the race was run in July. Los Alami­tos does not have a July meet­ing this year.

Fan­tas­tic Style won the Grade 3 Las Flores Stakes at Santa Anita last month in her only start this year.

Owned by Kaleem Shah and trained by Bob Baf­fert, Fan­tas­tic Style is part of a pro­jected field of seven in the Great Lady M., run at 6 1/2 fur­longs. Other ex­pected run­ners are Ben’s Duchess, Dr. Fager’s Gal, Finest City, Lost Bus, Minks Aprise, and Thir­teen Ar­rows.

Kai­gun and Twi­light Eclipse head a field of eight older horses en­tered in the $250,000 Elkhorn Stakes, a Grade 2 turf race to be run Satur­day at Keeneland 1 1/2 miles. From the hedge, this is the Elkhorn lineup: Da Big Hoss, Up With the Birds, A Red Tie Day, Idolo Porteno, Royal Al­bert Hall, Twi­light Eclipse, Kai­gun, and St. Al­bans Boy.

High­land Sky, the run­ner-up in the Cut­ler Bay Stakes here in his sea­sonal de­but, and Un­bri­dled Daddy, a sharp al­lowance win­ner in his sea­sonal de­but, top a field of nine 3-year-olds en­tered for Satur­day’s $100,000 Wood­haven Stakes at a mile on the Aqueduct turf.

High­land Sky, trained by Bar­clay Tagg, fin­ished sixth in the Breed­ers’ Cup Ju­ve­nile Turf last fall, beaten just 4 1/2 lengths. Un­bri­dled Daddy was third to sta­ble­mate Azar in the With An­tic­i­pa­tion at Saratoga last sum­mer be­fore run­ning 10th in the Grade 3 Bour­bon over yield­ing turf.

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