In Focus: Wagering Charles Town Classic Day stakes

by | Apr 20, 2018 | Breaking, Handicapping, Top Stories

Rose Brier

Moonlit Song. Photo by Coady Photography.

Our In Focus Guide offers the most in-depth analysis and commentary on the $100,000 guaranteed, all-stakes Pick 4 culminating with the $1.2 million, Grade 2 Charles Town Classic.


  • Race 8 — 3, 4, 10
  • Race 9 — 5, 10
  • Race 10 — 2, 3, 5
  • Race 11 — 5, 6
  • TOTAL COST: $36 on a $1 ticket


RACE PARTICULARS: Race 8, post time 4:01 p.m., $35,000 purse for WV-bred fillies and mares 4yo and up, 6 1/2 furlongs


#1 Lies and Scandals (15-1): Loves the 6 1/2-furlong trip but is winless in six tries versus stakes company; plus, has lost five times to favored #10

#2 Scottish Denis (15-1): Did win the WVBC Triple Crown Nutrition has a 2yo but for the most part has been slowly grinding through her conditions; has two wins at the trip and two this year

#3 Cuppa Mocha Mojo (12-1): Returns from 18-month layoff to tackle the best distaffer on the grounds; winner and runner-up in 2015-2016 runnings of the Cavada

#4 Anna’s Bandit (7-2): Laurel-based runner cross-entered in stake at home track; would be first CT try; enters on three-race win streak and looked solid in comfy score last out against Md-breds

#5 My Sweet Charity (15-1): Just three wins from 22 starts and figures to be in deep here

#6 March Wind (12-1): Was third but beaten a dozen two back in the My Sister Pearl; loves this trip

#7 T Rex Express (9-2): Will need a big one here against Moonlit Song, a runner who’s bested her twice; has not raced in three months, but trainer Runco – who’s absolutely red-hot right now – does fine bringing ’em back off the layoff

#8 Not a Secret (12-1): That was a heckuvan effort last out, overcoming a bunch of trouble to win easily while posting a career-best Beyer – but that was just nine days ago

#9 Di Colas Cowgirl (50-1): Hard to see a scenario where this one wins

#10 Moonlit Song (6-5): Easy winner last out in season bow, this Tim Grams trainee was the class of the local distaffers last year  and seems to have picked up where she left off; can grab the lead or eyeball the other speed from outer post


  1. #10 Moonlit Song — Have to consider her the one to beat until proven otherwise, and solid seasonal debut suggests “otherwise” may be a ways off
  2. #3 Cuppa Mocha Mojo — ’15 Cavada winner may offer value in return from lengthy vacation
  3. #4 Anna’s Bandit — If she shows up here, LRL-based runner arrives in good form, has been keeping right sort of company
  4. #8 Not a Secret — Might bounce to the moon off short rest, but that was a big effort last out and a repeat allows her to make some noise here at a price

Queen Caroline

William and Mary was much the best in the Henry Mercer Memorial Stakes. Photo by Coady Photography.


RACE PARTICULARS: Race 9, post time 4:33 p.m., $50,000 purse for WV-bred 3yo, 4 1/2 furlongs


#1 Rescue Five (20-1): Easy winner last out but it’s a big step up from maiden claimers to some of thse rivals

#2 Mr. Jacoby (12-1): Has lost nine straight, including defeats by three of today’s rivals

#3 Lite the Storm (12-1): Broke his maiden last out with an easy score in which he felt the whip just once

#4 True Heir (20-1): Still looking to deliver on promise of debut score

#5 Opera Nite (6-1): Nothing wrong with his two efforts; debut much better than it looks after being steadied out of contention early before mounting stout rally

#6 Jaxbradenrishi (3-1): Won at this trip on debut; decent effort to be second last out vs. elders

#7 Castle Five (15-1): Return to one-turn sprint figures to help, but perhaps not enough

#8 Dionysus’ Chalice (5-1): Solid enough runner likes this zippy trip and has placed in two stakes; note that regular pilot Bocachica picks #5 in here

#9 Molokai (15-1): Defeated by #8 here two back; will need a big step forward, though is lightly raced enough that you can’t totally discount the possibility

#10 William and Mary (9-5): Class of the local two-year-olds last year makes his first start since January; showing two sharp works in preparation

#11 Eagle Pride (12-1): Casey trainee needs a scratch to draw in, made favorable impression in debut win


  1. #5 Opera Nite – Might be a fool’s errand to try to beat the chalk in here, but this Gattopardo gelding has flashed some talent
  2. #10 William and Mary — Best of the local 2yo boys in ’17 returns after credible fourth-place try in LRL stake featuring the two best sophomores there
  3. #6 Jaxbradenrishi — Has the speed to handle the trip, ran gamely versus elders in last
  4. #3 Lite the Storm — Dominant maiden score last out, must step forward in first versus winners

Lovable Lady

In the Navy Now (#8) was up in time to win the Nellie Morse Stakes. Photo by Laurie Asseo.


RACE PARTICULARS: Race 10, post time 5:04 p.m., $100,000 purse for fillies and mares 4yo and up, 7 furlongs


#1 Frosty Margarita (5-1): NY-bred figures to need her running shoes here, gets top jock Irad Ortiz up

#2 Lake Ponchatrain (9-2): Veteran loves this track and trip, scored at 14-1 in the Pink Ribbon last fall and was third in this event; contender

#3 Inspeightofyou (6-1): The speed figs say no, but trainer Tom Amoss has a CT record of 9-5-3-1

#4 Riveter Gloria (15-1): Solid enough local filly was beaten 14 in this event a year ago

#5 In the Navy Now (6-1): Has been in the money in 16 straight, including win two back in the Nellie Morse; like to see regular pilot Pimentel in for the ride

#6 Ascertain (8-5): Fun fact: top trainer Pletcher just 1-for-8 at CT last five years; that wasn’t much of a group she beat last out

#7 Keep Your Distance (10-1): Set a decent pace en route to win last out against allowance rivals and owns bullring win at TIM; trainer Magee and rider Almodovar sport gaudy numbers together (41 percent at CT)

#8 Angel At War (8-1): Astute claim won the first six starts of her career, ran second last out in the Xtra Heat at AQU; improved effort not out of the realm for lightly raced speedster


  1. #5 In the Navy Now — If she takes to CT, there’s every reason to think she posts her 17th straight in the money finish
  2. #3 Inspeightofyou — Arrives with three straight wins, plus Amoss’ ludicrously good record over the strip
  3. #2 Lake Ponchatrain — Veteran loves this trip, often outruns her odds here
  4. #7 Keep Your Distance — Solid win last out, plus bullring experience and trainer-jock success, make this one live at a price

Lovable Lady

Something Awesome was much the best in the Harrison Johnson Memorial Stakes at Laurel Park. Photo by Laurie Asseo.


RACE PARTICULARS: Race 11, post time 5:36 p.m., $1.2 million purse, for 4yo and up, 1 1/8 miles


#1 Fear the Cowboy (9-2): G3 winner was a well-beaten third in the Big Cap last out; has had bullring success at Delta; trainer-jock combo has had success

#2 You’re to Blame (8-1): Thrashed by #5 in here last out and will need to step forward here

#3 Discreet Lover (10-1): Nice effort in last to win G3 Excelsior after mild stumble early and addition of CT veteran Acosta in the irons a good thing but feels a cut below the best in here

#4 Something Awesome (8-1): G3 General George winner stretched out nicely last out to win the Harrison Johnson, well ahead of #3 in here; two closest rivals in Johnson filled out the exacta in the G3 Excelsior; note mile work

#5 War Story (5-2): Just missed in this event a year ago; G2 winner doesn’t always fire his best shot, but his best makes him a major player in here

#6 Diversify (8-5): Owns class advantage after sharp win in the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup two back, and no shame in decent fourth as the chalk in the G1 Clark last out; long string of solid works preparing for this, though one question mark is how he likes the bullring, plus presence of other speed

#7 Afleet Willy (12-1): First visit fot CT for LRL-based runner who’s won four straight stakes beyond a mile; has plenty of early speed but also has won closing; gets tested for class here


  1. #5 War Story – Experience over the strip makes the difference
  2. #6 Diversify – Can’t ignore the G1 winner, but combination of first try on a bullring and first start in five months make expected short odds a bit tough to stomach
  3. #4 Something Awesome – Formful sort won with style in the Harrison Johnson against pair who ran one-two in G3 event next out
  4. #1 Fear the Cowboy – Might get the right pace to run into