Friday, April 22, 2016

Handicapper's Corner: Charles Town Classic Stakes (GII)

Looking for a Star in the Charles Town Classic Stakes

By: Dylan Jarmulowicz 

In recent years the Charles Town Classic has become a race that has gained in stature and quality. The race was first a Grade III in 2011 and the very next year it was upgraded to a Grade II and increased purse of 1.5 million. This year the purse has been reduced to 1.25 million but has still attracted some big name horses going around the Charles Town bullring.

Charles Town Race 12 – Grade II 1&1/8th Miles 
Post Time – 6:05pm (Eastern)
Advance Weather: Chance of Storms, 70s

This race is unique to all these horses as no one in the field of 11 has run a race going three turns and the Charles Town track is a bullring with sharp turns so that could add another wrinkle into handicapping.

Let’s start with the three horses shipping in from Santa Anita; #4 DONWORTH (3-1), #5 IMPERATIVE (7/2) and #10 HARD ACES (8-1). They were all wired by Melatonin in their last race and I’m not exactly sure what to make of them as speed is usually strong at Santa Anita. DONWORTH lost all chance in the race when he had to steady. Throwing that race out, his other races give him a good chance in here but I’m not sure he can wire the field and that’s what it looks like he will have to do to win. IMPERATIVE is a hard knocking horse but he doesn’t like to win, he has not won in two years and just kind of plods around the track wherever he breaks. I’ll pass on him. HARD ACES is essentially the same as IMPERATIVE and his second last time out was dressed up as he really didn’t close, he just passed the tired horses who were dueling on the lead late.

#2 S’MARVERLOUS (10-1) and #7 STANFORD (9/2) will likely set the pace with DONWORTH but both have lot of questions in their own right. S’MARVERLOUS wired a field last time at the Fairgrounds and his better races have come on the front end but no way can he run those fractions in this race. STANFORD is a pure speed horse but his best races are all around one turn, this race is three turns; hard to make a solid case for either of them.

My pick in this race will be #6 INTERNATIONAL STAR (8-1). He is a closer in a race there is plenty of speed in. I think the three turns will suit him well and after a disappointing effort two races back, he ran well last time only to be wired by S’MARVERLOUS who set a slow pace that was impossible to close into. His last two works have been strong and should be good value in this spot.

My Plays:
Win: #6
Exacta: 6/2,4,9
Trifecta: 6/2,4,9/2,4,5,9,10
Good Luck!

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