Charles Town Classic features top runners on Saturday Night
Charles Town will offer up one of the biggest purses of the spring on Saturday night, when $1,500,000 is up for grabs in the Charles Town Classic. Game on Dude, Ron the Greek and defending champion Caixa Electronica are the big headlining names and will offer up bettors a challenge. Game on Dude was simply sensational in his last win, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, where he beat Ron the Greek and everyone else in the field by a huge margin. Mike Smith will once again be on board for trainer Bob Baffert in the mile and one eighth race. Ron the Greek will try and get back to his Sunshine Millions form, a race that saw him dominate by eleven lengths. Jose Lezcano will ride for Bill Mott and Ron the Greek will be making his first start at Charles Town, which is a bullring style track that will feature three turns. Caixa Electronica will look to make it two Charles Town Classics’ in a row. Caixa Electronica has 20 career wins and regular jockey Javier Castellano will be back on board for a horse who has been sprinting primarily as of late, but is 2 for 3 at the nine furlong distance.
Charles Town will feature four undercard stakes races on the big Saturday night card that gets underway at 5:00pm EST. The Charles Town Classic is race 12 and post time is 10:30pm EST.
BetPTC.com Selections for the Charles Town Classic
1. Game on Dude
2. Caixa Electronica
3. Ron the Greek
Coolmore Lexington one of the last chances for Derby points at Keeneland
The $200,000 Coolmore Lexington represents a crucial 20 points to the winner to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. Eleven three year olds will contest the mile and a sixteenth over the synthetic course at Keeneland, and an interesting entry is Pure Fun, a filly, who drew to the extreme outside. She was third in the Bourbonette Oaks last time out at Turfway Park and prior to that won the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet. Pure Fun will pick up the services of Rosie Napravnik and should improve second off the layoff. Sunbean comes out of the Louisiana Derby and had a brutal trip that day. He looked as though he was going to make a move but was blocked and steadied for much of the way down the stretch. Sunbean picks up the services of jockey Gary Stevens who will be on board for the first time. River Rocks is an intriguing new shooter to stakes racing as he has been solid in both of his starts against winners. He’s making his second straight try at a mile and a sixteenth and should have some extra late punch with that added fitness.
The Giants Causeway Stakes features some red-hot turf runners competing at five and a half furlongs on the grass. Sweet Cassiopeia has taken four straight sprint events, including a pair on the grass at Gulfstream Park in her last two. She’s won at the stakes level before and will be a competitor in this spot from post nine. Sounds of the City comes in from Maryland where she’s racked up three straight victories. Sounds of the City will also pick up perennial Keeneland leading rider Julien Leparoux’s services. Spun Cap comes into the Giants Causeway with two straight victories, both over the Gulfstream grass. She was however fifth in her only start at Keeneland.
BetPTC.com Selections for the Lexington
2. River Rocks
3. Winning Cause
Longshot: General Election
BetPTC.com Selections for the Giants Causeway
1. Sounds of the City
2. Sweet Cassiopeia
3. Spun Cap
Longshot: Sensible Lady
Illinois Derby is Hawthorne’s signature event
Even though it doesn’t have any Kentucky Derby points up for grabs, the Illinois Derby will offer three year olds a Grade 3 status and $750,000 in purse money. Fourteen three year olds will compete in the one mile and one eighth event and Departing looks like he could be a big favorite in this spot. He was a perfect three for three in his young career before finishing a solid third in the Louisiana Derby last time out. BJ Hernandez keeps the mount for trainer Al Stall, but Departing will have to utilize the long run to the first turn, as he’s been assigned the 13 post. Siete De Oros comes in from New York where he had three very competitive runs against horses who are amongst the leading Kentucky Derby contenders like Vyjack and Revolutionary. Angel Arroyo gets back on board of Siete De Oros who also drew outside in post 12. For Greater Glory has just one win but has been competitive against solid competitors, including his sixth place finish in the Spiral Stakes, a race in which he was gaining ground to only be beaten by four lengths.
The Sixty Sails Handicap features a pair of Grade 2 winners as solid contenders, with Brushed By a Star and Disposablepleasure the two to beat. Both carry impressive resumes, but neither has experience at Hawthorne Race Course. Maude S might be a good local longshot to watch out for, as she’s 4 for 9 at Hawthorne.
BetPTC.com Selections for the Illinois Derby
1. Siete De Oro
3. For Greater Glory
BetPTC.com Selections for the Sixty Sails
1. Brushed By a Star
2. Royal Lahaina
Longshot: Maude S
Emerald Downs, Evangeline, Prairie Meadows and Thistledown all open up this week
The next few weeks will not only feature great racing leading up to the Kentucky Derby, but will also mark the opening for many tracks who will run spring and summer meets. Evangeline Downs got underway on Wednesday Night and as always will feature big full fields for players to attack, with racing on Wednesday through Saturday Night’s at 6:40pm EST all spring and summer long. Emerald Downs in suburban Seattle will return on Friday night and race all throughout the spring and summer until the end of September. Racing will be run on Friday Nights at 9:45pm EST and Saturdays and Sundays at 5pm EST. The main event of the season is the Grade 3 Longacres Mile which is run on August 18th.
Prairie Meadows kicks off the season Friday Night as well and will feature great racing Thursdays through Sundays. Racing on Thursdays through Saturdays will commence at 7:30pm EST and Sundays will feature a matinee program at 2pm EST. Prairie Meadows Iowa Festival of Racing will feature some great graded stakes racing on Friday June 28th and Saturday June 29th. Thistledown in Ohio opens up and will race Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the Summer and into the fall. First post each day will be 12:55pm EST.
Saturday Stakes Action at BetPTC.com
Race 7 Howard B. Noonan Stakes 4:03pm EST
Race 9 Miami Mile 4:25pm EST
Race 8 Robert Hilton Stakes 8:15pm EST
Race 9 Original Gold Stakes 8:45pm EST
Race 10 Charles Town Dash H. 9:15pm EST
Race 11 Sugar Maple Stakes 9:45pm EST
Race 12 Charles Town Classic 10:30pm EST
Race 10 Hallowed Dream Stakes 10:25pm EST
Race 7 Sixty Sails Handicap 5:35pm EST
Race 8 Illinois Derby 6:15pm EST
Race 8 Giants Causeway Stakes 4:42pm EST
Race 9 Coolmore Lexington Stakes 5:13pm EST
Race 7 Stormy Blues Stakes 3:58pm EST
Race 9 Primonetta Stakes 4:55pm EST
Race 10 Henry Clark Stakes 5:24pm EST
Race 7 Mister Lewie Memorial 9:26pm EST
Race 8 Laico Bird Stakes 10:02pm EST
Race 9 Bob Moore Memorial 10:28pm EST
Race 10 Oklahoma Bred Derby 10:54pm EST
Race 11 Oklahoma Bred Futurity 11:20pm EST
Race 9 B of A Texas Challenge Champ. 10:28pm EST
Race 4 Santa Barbara Handicap 5:02pm EST
Race 8 San Simeon Stakes 7:07pm EST