Trainer Todd Pletcher is looking for his third win in the richest race in West Virginia, the $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2) with Rally Cry.
Rally Cry has not started since running fourth in the Woodward (G1) at Saratoga last September. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez is in to ride and break from the four post.
Pletcher won the Charles Town Classic in 2016 with Stanford and Caixa Eletronica in 2012.
Two former winners of this race are back looking for more cash. Something Awesome (12-1) won this ace last year at 9-1 but has lost his four starts since including a well beaten 10th in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park.
Imperative (20-1) is looking for the hat trick. He won this race in 2017 and 2014.
In just over a decade this race has become a key early race in the handicap division and became the first graded stakes race to be run at Charles Town in 2011.
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From 2013 to 2015 the purse for the race was $1.5 million. Perhaps the most well-known winner of the race was the Bob Baffert trained Game On Dude, who won the 2013 edition.
Let’s head out to Chuck Town for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Charles Town Race 11 The Charles Town Classic (G2) Post time 5:37 ET
4 Rally Cry 9-2
9 War Story 7-2
6 Discreet Lover 5-1
3 Diamond King 4-1
Trainer Todd Pletcher seeks his third win in this race with this six-year-old who makes his first start since running fourth in the Woodward (G1) at the Spa last September. That was just his second start last year after a fourth against optional claimers off the bench. In ’17 he won twice in six starts and ran huge in both of those wins. He earned a 110 Beyer winning the restricted Alydar at the Spa at nine furlongs and a 105 beating second level allowance foes. He prepped at Palm Beach Downs for his return and good to see Johnny V. is in to ride. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers and should be up front or sitting just off the pace and that is where you want to be on these tight turns. The barn is 33% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff.
This gelding is also coming off the bench. Last seen fading to finish sixth in the Marathon (G2) at Churchill Downs. He just missed in this race last year by a neck to Something Awesome and was third in this race in ’17 beaten just a half-length. Decent works on the morning tab in Florida for his return for the Navarro barn that tis 33% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. This guy has amassed $2.6 million in earnings despite just six wins, but he fits here. I like to see Carmouche back on board, he just missed in the Greenwood Cup three back when he was aboard. Kendrick likely is aggressive early and should work out a good trip on or near the lead.
This six-year-old has a habit of outrunning his odds and won the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park last September at 45-1 and was third in the Whitney (G1) at 39-1 and the Suburban (G2) at 41-1. He has been working quickly in the mornings at Philly for the St. Lewis barn that is just 1 for 31 with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff and has just one win overall with 61 starters this year. He ran in this race last year, checking in sixth at 29-1. His best puts him right in the hunt here but after going off at 13-1 or higher in eight starts, usually much higher, the 5-1 morning line sure looks light here.
WIN: Rally Cry to win at 4-1 or better.
EXACTA: 4,9 / 3,4,6,9
TRIFECTA: 4,9 / 3,4,6,9 / 2,3,4,6,9