Donworth to face 9 in Charles Town Classic
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.