Sleepy Eyes Todd
Sleepy Eyes Todd won the 2020 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: None

Check out our other handicapping here!

Race 22-4-5-3We’re going to try to beat the morning line favorite, #3 Ministry of Magic (9-5) in this two-turn state-bred allowance. Sure, he could win, but he enters off a clunker (albeit at 64-1) on WVBC night, and more to the point, he’s lost at this level seven straight. That makes taking short odds a dicey proposition… Instead, we’ll look at a pair of recent maiden winners on top. #2 Catfish (6-1) took seven tries to break his maiden, but he did it with style last time out on Oct. 1, winning off by nearly 10 lengths. He showed improved speed in his last two with the bug boy Hiraldo up, and though he’s getting a rider switch today, it’s to J. D. Acosta, known as a good gate rider, and it doesn’t seem like he needs the lead. We landed on him over #4 Hot Fudge Sonde (4-1) for one reason: when they faced off Oct. 1, Catfish finished nine-plus ahead of Hot Fudge Sonde. Still, that was this one’s first start, and he bounced back nicely to graduate next time out, and we wouldn’t tell you not to back this runner… #5 C R’s Mandate (2-1) is another who’s run competitively at this level but has lost all three tries…
Race 67-8-9-6Top choice #7 Just Right (3-1) was running competitively against New York-bred $25,000 claimers earlier this year. Those horses probably are better than the ones he’ll face tonight, and so the odds appear to be square on a horse who should be tough if he takes to night racing and the bullring. Plus, there looks to be some speed here to tee up his late kick… #8 Fast Loaded (4-1) is one who should be involved in the early running and was a good second against similar last out. He’ll make his second start in the Patterson barn (41% this year)… This could be a bridge too far, but #9 Cayenne Creek (8-1) should get the right setup to run on late… You can’t fault anything morning line favorite #6 Nico (5-2) has done: the Javier Contreras trainee is 4-for-8 with four seconds in his career. But he also hasn’t raced in nearly four months, and given his history — he hadn’t raced in 18 months before returning to action in May — we’re inclined to take a wait-and-see approach here…