by Dustin Fabian
April 18, 2019
If you’re looking for quality races to bet this weekend, look no further than Charles Town. Their Saturday card is loaded with nine stakes races, headlined by the $1 Million Grade 2 Charles Town Classic. Additionally, the card features a $100,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 (Races 9 – 12) – hit it to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points – and a Mandatory Payout of their 20-cent Jackpot Pick 6. Heading into Saturday’s races, the Jackpot Pick 6 carryover was $179,963.
Here’s my take on the Rainbow Pick 6, complete with a recommended ticket. Rain is in the forecast for Friday and Saturday, so we should keep that in mind. But I’m writing this on Thursday for Saturday, so we’ll monitor the track conditions on Saturday.
Race 8 (3:55PM ET) – Robert Hilton Memorial Stakes
I’ll kick off the Pick 6 by using a pair of runners here – Joe Sharp’s #3 MALPAIS (5/2) and Todd Pletcher’s #2 FEDERAL CASE (9/5). On paper, MALPAIS is ‘speed of the speed’ and he should make the front. If he can’t stay the trip, FEDERAL CASE, who was runner-up in the G2 Hutcheson Stakes last out at Gulfstream, should run a big one for Todd Pletcher. If you’re playing a larger ticket #1 Thatwouldbegrand (6/1) and #4 Admiral Lynch (7/2) are worth considering.
Race 9 (4:29PM ET) – Russell Road Stakes
This race is pretty wide open on paper and I think you’ll want to use any number of these to stay alive. I feel like there are a handful of legs where you don’t necessarily have to go deep so I’ll take the easy – albeit more expensive – way out and press the ALL button here. If you forced me to give a top 3, I’d use #2 COOL ARROW (4/1), #5 LINE JUDGE (9/2) and #3 DONJI (7/2). Eight of the nine entrants have won on a wet track and several of these, including COLONEL SHARP (8/1, 5-for-10), LINE JUDGE (2-for-3), CONCORD FAST (12/1, 2-for-2) and COOL ARROW (2-for-3) have formidable records on off going.
Race 10 (5:01PM ET) – Dance to Bristol Stakes
#6 LAKE PONCHATRAIN (2/1) is a warrior of a mare. She is 18-for-45 in her career, including 12-for-23 at Charles Town. There’s something about this oval that brings out the best in her and she’s won her last four local races including this race. She’s a deep closer and she’ll be tasked with running down #5 TWEETING (5/2). LAKE PONCHATRAIN will need some racing lucky to steer through the field to catch TWEETING, which puts both mares on my ticket. LAKE PONCHATRAIN trends closer to being a single on a wet track as she’s 3-for-8 in the slop while TWEETING is 0-for-3.
Race 11 (5:37PM ET) – Charles Town Classic (G2)
This year’s Charles Town Classic isn’t loaded with top end talent, but it is loaded with evenly-matched runners. 11 of them, in fact. 10 in the main body of the field and an Also Eligible in case there’s a scratch. Among those entered are defending champion, #7 SOMETHING AWESOME (12/1), last year’s runner-up, #9 WAR STORY (7/2), Todd Pletcher’s #4 RALLY CRY (9/2), ‘Big Cap’ third-place finisher #1 MONGOLIAN GROOM (6/1), Jockey Club Gold Cup upsetter #6 DISCREET LOVER (5/1) and Charles Town stalwart #8 RUNNIN’TOLUVYA (12/1). Frankly, you could make the case to ‘ALL’ button here and pare down the Russell Road, but I’m going to bet on a quick early pace and use MONGOLIAN GROOM, RALLY CRY, SOMETHING AWESOME, WAR STORY and UNBRIDLED JUAN (15/1).
Race 12 (6:07PM ET) – Its Binn Too Long Stakes
We need a single here and I’ve got mine in #5 PARISIAN DIVA (7/5), a speedy daughter of Freedom Child that is 3-for-5 lifetime at Charles Town. I’m slightly concerned that this 4 1/2-furlong distance is too short for her but she broke her maiden going this distance and she’s only lost to one filly in her career and that gal, Battleground Star, isn’t here. A muddy track would boost my confidence as PARISIAN DIVA is 2-for-2 in such circumstances.
Race 13 (6:36PM ET) – Allowance
The last race of the sequence is the only that isn’t a stakes race and, again, we’re dealing with an overflow field. 10 will run and for the sake of this analysis, let’s assume the AE horses don’t get in. #2 FRATHOUSE MUSIC (9/2) ran big at a massive price (25/1) in a similar race here on March 29 and if he replicates that performance, he probably wins. Concern is that he’s never finished first in a race (lone win came via DQ) and he’s now a low price after being a $50 horse last out. With wavering confidence in him, I’ll look at including #3 THE SEVEN FIVE (6/1) on my ticket. I’m not sure he gets over a wet track as well as he does a fast one, though, so we’ll make that call on Saturday. #4 RUCKER (3/1) continues to improve and will be on my ticket, while #7 WINNING SCHOLAR (4/1) is a good add for either fast or wet tracks.
Race 8: 2, 3
Race 9: ALL
Race 10: 5, 6
Race 11: 1, 4, 7, 9, 10
Race 12: 5
Race 13: 2, 3, 4, 7
Ticket Cost: $144 for 20-cents