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: Jackpot Pick 6, $21,284

Check out our other handicapping here!

The return of West Virginia Futurity winner Jungle Beast highlights Charles Town’s Friday night card. The three-year-old Golden Years gelding is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the evening’s eighth race, a never-won-three allowance for state-bred three-year-olds.

Trained by Javier Contreras for O’Sullivan Farms LLC, Jungle Beast ran into top local runners Run to Daylight and Amidships in the first two starts of his career — finishing third and then second — before graduating in his third time out with a 5 1/4-length score.

In his follow-up, he went off at 3-10 in the Futurity and ran like it. Jungle Beast bided his time in mid-flight during the opening quarter-mile before powering home to win by over four lengths. He hasn’t raced since that November 27 tilt and is showing just two works in the meantime, so bettors looking to beat the chalk here — #1 Jungle Beast is 8-5 on the morning line — may be able to hang their hats on that fact. Regular pilot Antonio Lopez is named; trainer Contreras wins at a 17% clip off similar layoffs.

One horse who’s seen Jungle Beast before is #3 Penguin Parade (10-1). Penguin Parade finished third — in a race won by Jungle Beast — in his debut. The Jeff Runco-trained son of Cupid finished third against similar last out in his seasonal debut but likely deserved a better fate. He was making what seemed to be a winning move before the leader, Windsors Tail, drifted out badly in front of Penguin Parade, forcing him several paths out and robbing him of all momentum.

Bug rider Marshall Mendez will ride.

Tim Grams has a pair in here in the form of #4 Road Party (4-1) and #8 Windsors Tail (9-2). The former posted a good-looking, front-running score last out at first asking, while the latter won at this level but was disqualified for interfering with Penguin Parade.

Race 8 Picks: 1-3-4-8

Just prior, in the seventh race, brings a pretty wide-open maiden event for older state-breds. We’ll give the nod to #7 Small Paw (9-2), who ran a good one on debut. The Angelo Jackson trainee pressed the pace of 1-2 favorite Jackson Man, and while he couldn’t go with that runner, he stayed on willingly to be a clear second. Carlos Marrero retains the mount on a runner who can move forward today.

#4 Secret Swirl (7-2) also was second on debut after rallying from fifth. The question with this Tim Grams runner is the distance: that debut came going 4 1/2 furlongs, and he’ll be stretching out to seven (and two turns) today. Grams also has #9 Felicias Castle (5-1) here. This runner won against maiden claimers last out but was DQed after bearing out in front of a rival. Seems like a positive that Grams moves this one back into special weight company.

Race 7 Picks: 7-4-9-2