Although there aren’t any Kentucky Derby prep races to look forward to this Saturday, handicappers are nevertheless in for a treat thanks to a terrific card at Charles Town that includes nine stakes races.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the main contenders in each event….
Race 3: Its Binn Too Long Stakes
Pure speed could be the most important factor in this 4 ½-furlong sprint, so Late Night Pow Wow—who has never been headed while winning two starts at Charles Town by a combined 13 ½ lengths—is surely the filly to beat. Her main competition should come from Bound to Windsor, a winner of three straight stakes races at Charles Town.
Race 4: Lucy’s Bob Boy Stakes
The veteran Charitable Annuity, winner of the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic last fall at Charles Town, is the most prominent name in this competitive field, but this seven-furlong distance is probably short of his best. North Atlantic, a winner of five of his last six starts, could be an upset candidate.
Race 5: Russell Road Stakes
Shaft of Light fired off a 104 BRIS speed figure when winning a seven-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream last month, stamping him as the horse to beat while sprinting the same distance in the Russell Road. But watch out for Struth, who has posted sharp speed figures of his own in stakes company at Laurel Park this winter.
Race 6: Caixa Eletronica Stakes
The veteran graded stakes winner Delta Bluesman could be tough to beat while cutting back to 4 ½ furlongs for the Caixa Eletronica, though he’s never run at Charles Town and will be facing several rivals with strong records over this track, including Strong Like Bull, who is 7-for-12 sprinting 4 ½ furlongs at Charles Town.
Race 7: Robert Hilton Memorial Stakes
Whereshetoldmetogo ran well against some talented three-year-olds in Florida and New York this winter, so the drop in class for the Robert Hilton could be just what he needs to reach the winner’s circle. However, victory isn’t a given since he’ll be facing the likes of Midnight Poker—unbeaten in three starts at Parx Racing—and Navy Commander, a 10-length allowance winner at Parx last time out.
Race 8: Down Town Allen Stakes
From a speed figure perspective, this 6 ½-furlong sprint should come down to a battle between Anna’s Bandit, winner of three straight races (including the Conniver Stakes) at Laurel, and the local stakes winners T Rex Express and Moonlit Song, with the latter being 10-for-13 at Charles Town.
Race 9: Coin Collector Stakes
William and Mary is 4-for-5 at Charles Town and wasn’t disgraced when facing tougher company in the Frank Whitely Stakes at Laurel last time out, marking him as the likely favorite. Jaxbradenrishi, never out of the trifecta in five starts, might be the most probable upset candidate.
Race 10: Dance to Bristol Stakes
Eight fillies and mares will contest this seven-furlong sprint, including the experienced Lake Ponchatrain, who posted a 102 BRIS speed figure winning an allowance race at Mahoning Valley last month. Frosty Margarita, a three-time stakes winner at Aqueduct, is another logical contender.
Race 11: Charles Town Classic (gr. II)
With a purse of $1.2 million, the Charles Town Classic is by far the most prestigious race on the card and has attracted a quality field to match. Diversify, winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) last fall, will make his seasonal debut in the Charles Town Classic while facing the likes of Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) winner War Story, Excelsior Stakes (gr. III) winner Discreet Lover, and Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (gr. III) winner Fear the Cowboy.
Post time for the first race of the day is 12:30 p.m. Eastern.