Sleepy Eyes Todd
Sleepy Eyes Todd won the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic. Photo by Coady Photography.

Charles Town Races has an eight-race card on tap for this evening. Post time for the opener is 7:00 p.m., and we’ve got Charles Town picks.

Carryovers: Jackpot Pick 6, $63,930

Check out our other handicapping here!

Race 13-5-4-1Betting this 4 1/2-furlong maiden contest pretty much turns on what sort of odds you’d find acceptable on the favorite, #5 Eye of the Needle (4-5). Her speed figs are clearly the best of the group, and her record demonstrates she can compete at this level. The bad news: she’s lost three straight locally while going off at even-money once and 3-10 twice. Also worth considering is that she’ll be shortening up from two turns to one, her first time going 4 1/2 locally. In her only prior very-short sprint try, going 5 furlongs at Pimlico in her debut, she seemed a bit outfooted early before rallying a bit late. Can she win here? Yes, of course. Will she? She’s the most likely winner, but the combination of a distance change and her trio of losses as the fave make it impossible to accept the odds she’ll likely go off at. By all means, keep her in your multi-race bets, but let’s see if there’s any value to be had… We landed on #3 Cherokee Castle (9-2) to aim for the upset. The first-timer is a homebred for Law Legacy Stables and Ronney Brown, who also trains her. Brown’s having a productive season, does pretty well with debut runners, and here teams up with Christian Hiraldo, who’s winning at a 38% clip for the trainer in the last two months. This miss is showing a bullet gate work among her four recorded works… #4 Just Ask Me (3-1) won at this level three back but was DQed for a medication violation. Her two since are just OK… #1 Denali d’Oro (15-1) is a first-timer for trainer William Straughn. He’s by young sire Mio d’Oro (who’s by Medaglia d’Oro) out of a winning Langfuhr mare…
Race 25-2-1-3Several of the half-dozen runners in this allowance/optional claimer want the front, which suggests a horse who can sit off the pace and make a run, and that leads us to #5 Rookie Salsa (8-5). The Claudio Gonzalez trainee is set to make his third start of the season, and he ran a good one last out when second at 13-1 in a claimer at Monmouth. As a two-year-old, this guy was a stakes winner, and while that doesn’t seem likely to come around again, he’s had occasional moments since… #2 Golden Answer (7-5) won nicely at this level last out in front-running fashion. He generally doesn’t need the front, but drawn inside the other speed and with only a closer to his inside, he may not have much choice here. If any of the early sorts survives, it’s likely to be this one… #1 Gaming Jack (12-1) may not be quite good enough to win here but does figure to be running at the end… #3 Pool Boy Charlie (4-1) didn’t show much last out when wide throughout. Look for him to be much more involved early in this spot…