Charles Town stakes picks

We turn our experts loose on the five biggest stakes on the Charles Town Classic card Friday night.

Who will win the biggest races of the year at Charles Town Races? Where is value to be found? How will locals like Muad’dib and Jungle Beast fare? The answers to these and other questions are below…

Also, check out our full card picks and analysis for all 13 races here.


Ted BlackFrank Vespe
Win3. Frank’s Rockette (2-5)1.Fille d’Esprit (7-2)
Place1.Fille d’Esprit (7-2)3. Frank’s Rockette (2-5)
Show5. Allworthy (5-1)5. Allworthy (5-1)

Franks Rockette keeps running big races, and she keeps the right kind of company. She’s the class of this group and should win on best… Fille d’Esprit impressed last time out in the Seeking the Pearl at Colonial, and while the time and speed fig aren’t overwhelming, she beat a solid group impressively with a bit of trouble. Draw a line through the Alma North… Allworthy makes her third start off a bit of break and has some competitive efforts on the ledger….


Ted BlackFrank Vespe
Win3. Old Homestead (5-2)4. Double Thunder (5-1)
Place10. Alottahope (4-1)3. Old Homestead (5-2)
Show5. El Pando (10-1)10. Alottahope (4-1)

Old Homestead has run a couple of good ones in a row, including a good-looking score in the Concern. He has a couple good tries at Delta Downs, another bullring, and should find this trip to his liking… Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher thought enough of Double Thunder to run him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall, and while that didn’t go well – and he hasn’t run since – that’s a major vote of confidence. Pletcher does well off the layoff… Absolutely huge effort in last by Alottahope when he won by a pole in the Star de Naskra. Can he repeat? He’s always flashed talent, often found trouble, so another clean trip is the key… Can’t criticize anything the undefeated El Pando has done in three starts. The company lines are a question, but the results speak for themselves…


Ted BlackFrank Vespe
Win6. Wondrwherecraigis (3-5)6. Wondrwherecraigis (3-5)
Place3. Kadri (8-1)2. Eastern Bay (6-1)
Show4. Sir Alfred James (9-2)1.Shacks Way (12-1)

Have some tasty chalk! Wondrwherecraigis has too many positives to ignore in this spot… Kadri owns a win over the strip and has been churning out good races of late… Eastern Bay looked ready to move back to stakes company after sharp score in last, and here he is… Sir Alfred James ran big in last and has some history of stringing good races together… Shacks Way offers speed from the rail….


Ted BlackFrank Vespe
Win7. Midnight Stroll (7-2)7. Midnight Stroll (7-2)
Place5. Society (3-1)5. Society (3-1)
Show9. Free Like a Girl (6-1)8. Lady Scarlet (5-1)

Everybody agrees it’s G3 Delaware Oaks winner Midnight Stroll in the CT Oaks. You can draw a line through the Black-Eyed Susan – she took all kinds of the worst of that trip… Society took a thumping last out, but that was against divisional heavy heads Nest and Secret Oath. She’s not that kind, but she won’t need to be to compete here… Free Like a Girl’s graded tries are pretty middling, but she’s thrived on the Louisiana bullrings, and that might translate here… Lady Scarlet’s last on turf needn’t matter to us. A couple prior tries are just fine. But will the distance suit?


Ted BlackFrank Vespe
Win4. Art Collector (6-5)4. Art Collector (6-5)
Place7. Muad’dib (10-1)6. Officiating (8-1)
Show2. Mind Control (2-1)2. Mind Control (2-1)

Not looking too far afield in this spot with morning line favorite Art Collector, the defending champ. He won this event a year ago off a win in the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga and parlayed those dual wins into a Grade 1 Woodward score. He’s following the same route this year… Local hopeful Muad’dib is undefeated in 10 career starts, all over the strip… Officiating ran huge to win the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in last – maybe route distances are what he’s wanted all along… Mind Control outdueled Hot Rod Charlie in last, and that runner ran well in the Whitney next out…