Charles Town picks and analysis: August 26
Charles Town has 13 races on the docket for this Friday card, topped by the Grade 2 Charles Tonw Classic and Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks! Post time is 5:00 p.m. Good luck!
Carryovers: Jackpot Pick 6 $27,143
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In this two-turn allowance for state-bred fillies and mares that will kick off the Friday card later highlighted by the track’s two graded stakes, #2 Midnight Brass (6-5) graduated on debut in late April then was good second in return outing earlier this month for trainer Jeff Runco and looms the one to beat at possible odds-on price. #6 My Sister Pam (6-1) graduated four back and has gradually improved against allowance foes in three tries since and could forge mild upset here. #5 Pearly Ghost (9-2) has been first and third in only two previous local outings and certainly merits respect here for trainer Amanda Rawlings. #1 Moiraine (3-1) was good third last out and gives Runco solid chance to be one-two here.
In this two-turn maiden special weight event for fillies and mares, #2 Asue (4-1) has finished second and third in two local tries for trainer Flint Stites and gets the nod for mild upset to cap early daily double. #1 Overcooked (2-1) was solid second in local debut following three tries elsewhere and merits respect with favorable rail draw for trainer Javier Contreras. #6 Gilded Quest (9-5) makes local debut after five tries on synthetic tracks elsewhere and will likely be a factor late for trainer Ronney Brown. #4 Unbridled Irish (5-1) has been third in each of last two local outings for trainer Anthony Farrior and could graduate here at a decent price.
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In this competitive, three-turn allowance for state-breds, #1 Road Slew (9-5) gets coveted rail draw for short run into first turn and looks poised to prevail in this spot as the solid choice. #2 Air Medal (10-1) returns to allowance level after fourth-place outing against claimers last out for trainer Crystal Pickett but merits respect in this spot. #3 Azure Fire (3-1) has been consistent sort all year and gets quick turnaround following third-place effort against similar last Friday for trainer Joseph Pyke. #6 Officer Appeal (8-1) has shown fondness for route races for trainer and former jockey Lenworth Kirlew.
RACE 4 – $50,000 Shenandoah Stakes
In this competitive, intriguing, one-turn stakes for West Virginia-bred fillies and mares, #8 Goodness Gracious (6-1) romped home seven lengths clear against allowance foes last out and looks poised to handle stakes company for trainer Javier Contreras. #7 Silky Serena (5-2) has won two straight one-turn stakes for state-bred fillies for trainer John McKee but was vet scratch prior to Sylvia Bishop. #6 Good Karma (3-1) won allowance race smartly last out for trainer Tim Grams after finishing second in four previous tries after being claimed. #5 Vacation Secret (10-1) returns to Charles Town after series of good outings at Mountaineer Park for owner-trainer Marcus Kocijan.
In another contentious, wide open two-turn allowance for state-bred boys, #3 Run to Daylight (4-1) exits Robert Leavitt and seeks first win of the season after dominating local freshman group here last fall for trainer Jeff Runco. #1 Remys Showtime (8-1) has been a fixture in these types all season and is still in quest of first seasonal score for trainer Tim Grams but should benefit from rail draw here. #4 Shameless Risk (2-1) has been second in each of last two since posting lone seasonal score for trainer Ronney Brown and merits respect as likely favorite. #2 Noballstwostrikes (8-1) gives Runco outside chance to run one-two in this spot.
RACE 6 – $50,000 Potomac Stakes
In this early prep for the $75,000 West Virginia Dash For Cash BC in six weeks, #5 Hypothesis (7-2) will look to turn the tables on his newest rival and perhaps gets better of the draw here. #2 Penguin Power (3-5) perhaps has found his niche moving forward in one-turn events for trainer Jeff Runco and arrives off sharp performance that will have him odds-on choice again. #7 Jefferson Native (8-1) has won last three against allowance foes and gets acid test in this spot. #3 Nico (6-1) has won four of nine at the distance for trainer Javier Contreras and certainly cannot be overlooked here.
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RACE 7 – $75,000 Sadie Hawkins Stakes
In this prep for the $125,000 Cavada BC, #8 Stowe Angel (5-1) is generally better on a fast track and should get a dry surface here and looks poised for mild upset for trainer Jeff Runco. #2 Moonlit Shadow (8-5) romped home nine lengths clear in the slop last out for trainer Tim Grams and looms possible odds-on prospect here. #7 The Sky Is Falling (5-2) has been been the top state-bred three-year-old filly this season and certainly merits respect while tackling older foes in this spot. #6 Azzurra (6-1) has usually been right there turning for home in numerous local outings for trainer Anthony Farrior.
RACE 8 – $250,000 Misty Bennett Pink Ribbon Stakes
In the first of five consecutive lucrative open stakes on the card, #3 Frank’s Rockette (2-5) has been third in each of last three stakes tries, including a pair of graded events for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and looks poised to end bridesmaid status here as possible shortest-priced favorite on the night. #1 Fille d’Esprit (7-2) rebounded from gate trouble at Laurel Park to capture $150,000 stakes at Colonial Downs last out for trainer John [Jerry] Robb of recent Anna’s Bandit fame and will seek to overhaul top choice late. #5 Allworthy (5-1) was no match for Ce Ce in Grade II event at Gulfstream last out but was sharp allowance winner two back at Churchill Downs and should be a factor here. #4 Bow Draw (30-1) arrives off sneaky good debut score and could complete several gimmicks at a huge price in this event.
RACE 9 – $250,000 Robert R. Hilton Memorial
In this competitive, two-turn event for three-year-old boys, #3 Old Homestead (5-2) was solid second at Colonial Downs last out after sharp score in Concern Stakes at Laurel Park and seeks to regain winning ways here for trainer Brett Brinkman. #10 Alottahope (4-1) rebounded from modest outing behind top choice at Laurel in Concern to romp home 15 lengths clear in Star de Naskra Stakes last out for Jerry Robb and will be a presence throughout. #5 El Pando (10-1) has won all three of his career outings for owner-trainer Jaylan Renay Clary and merits an upset chance here. #2 Jungle Beast (20-1) was beaten choice in Robert Leavitt last out but could complete several gimmicks at a generous price for trainer Javier Contreras.
RACE 10 – $250,000 Russell Road Stakes
In this compact group of older males, #6 Wondrwherecraigis (3-5) was solid second as odds-on choice in Frank De Francis Memorial Dash last out following return from Dubai and Grade 3 winner looks poised to regain winning ways in this spot. #3 Kadri (8-1) won his only previous attempt over the strip but faces much tougher here for trainer Norm Cash. #4 Sir Alfred James (9-2) was sharp allowance winner at Delaware last out and makes local debut here for Cash. #2 Eastern Bay (6-1) has won three of last four for Cash and gives conditioner three live chances to upset the top choice here.
RACE 11 – Grade 3, $500,000 Charles Town Oaks
In the first of two consecutive very lucrative graded stakes on the card, #7 Midnight Stroll (7-2) arrives off gritty score in the Grade III Delaware Oaks last out and gets the nod while slight cutback in distance. #5 Society (3-1) had won her first three outings before no match for division’s best in Grade I event at Saratoga last month but could certainly regain winning ways here for trainer Steve Asmussen. #9 Free Like a Girl (6-1) has dominated Louisiana-bred stakes foes past two years while offering little in graded action but cannot be overlooked in this spot. #2 Divine Huntress (4-1) won minor stakes at Laurel last out after running second in Grade I event at Belmont Park for trainer Graham Motion and certainly merits respect.
RACE 12 – Grade 2, $1 million Charles Town Classic
In the richest and most prestigious event on the local calendar, the Grade 2, $1 million Charles Town Classic for older runners at nine furlongs, #4 Art Collector (6-5) arrives as defending champion for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and again will use victory in the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga last out as prep for repeat score as solid choice. #7 Muad’dib (10-1) has won all 10 of his career outings over the strip and has been favored in each of them, nine at odds-on, and gets genuine acid test in open stakes debut for trainer Jeff Runco, who boasts victories in the first two runnings of this event with Researcher. #2 Mind Control (2-1) arrives off sharp score in Grade III Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park last out for trainer Todd Pletcher but makes debut at distance and navigating three turns and could settle for minor spoils. #3 Last Samurai (8-1) won Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap three back for Hall of Fame conditioner D. Wayne Lukas and certainly cannot be overlooked in this spot.
RACE 13 – $75,000 Frank Gall Memorial
In the Friday night finale, a likely steppingstone to the $350,0000 West Virginia Breeders Classic for several of the participants, #10 No Change (7-5) has won last two and six of seven overall this year for owner-breeder-trainer John McKee and will look to topple Muad’dib in the WVBC in six weeks. #3 Runnin’toluvya (8-1) boasts both the WVBC and Charles Town Classic on his resume and showed ample grit while second last out for trainer Tim Grams and could be rounding back into form. #4 Candy Invasion (12-1) has been solid all season and likely headed for three-turn affair on WVBC night for owner-trainer John A. Casey. #5 River Crosroad RVF (12-1) always merits respect when he minds his manners.