Charles Town Classic: Art collector pursues repetition, mind control expands – Reuters

Bruce Lunsford’s art collector returns to Hollywood Casino at the Charles Town Races on Friday night as he looks to defend his crown at the track’s flagship event of 2022 – the $1,000,000 Charles Town Classic (G2) .

The Charles Town Classic joins the Charles Town Oaks (G3), a trio of other stakes worth $250,000 each and a pair of restricted stakes worth $75,000 on the biggest Charles Town card in the world. year, which begins at 5:00 p.m. EST. The night also offers great betting opportunities for horse gamblers with a guaranteed $100,000 Pick 5 that starts in race 9, a guaranteed $100,000 Pick 4 that starts in race 10 and a mandatory carry payout. of Charles Town 6-12 which currently sits at $23,527. .

Trained by Bill Mott, Art Collector will look to replicate the path he took to eastern West Virginia in 2021 when he also captured the Alydar Stakes in Saratoga ahead of his run in the Classic. Unlike last year, Art Collector entered Alydar 2022 after a lengthy layoff following their trip to the Middle East and the $20m Saudi Cup, but did not disappoint with a dominating effort that could have signaled a return to his 2021 form which saw him. capture the Charles Town Classic and the Grade 1 Woodward.

“The Alydar was a nice comeback for him,” the Art Collector’s Hall of Fame conditioner said. “It looked like he did everything effortlessly. He did well. There’s no reason to think he’s not entering the race as well this year as he did last year.

Like Mott, Lunsford is confident in how the 5-year-old left Alydar and looks forward to returning to West Virginia on Friday night.

“The winter was a bit difficult with him, but once we got him back here he’s doing great. In fact, he ran better this year in the Alydar than last year. And he’s been training really well since then, so we feel like he’s going into the race really well. He’s in good hands with Bill.

Art Collector will attempt to reverse recent history as the last eight horses attempting to win two consecutive Charles Town Classics have failed, the most recent being Sleepy Eyes Todd in 2021.

Luis Saez has the recall on Art Collector and will start from Post 4.

Mind Control, a multiple Grade 1 winner from Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stable, has consistently made his mark in his career in single-round events, highlights being victories in the Hopeful (G1) at 2 and the Allens Jerkens (G1) in his second campaign. But last time out in the Salvator Mile (G3) at Monmouth, Stay Thirsty’s now 6-year-old son notched the first two-round graduated stakes triumph of his career by winning a long battle with multi-millionaire Hot Rod . Charlie.

While the Salvator Mile was his first graded win over two rounds, Mind Control revealed his ability to go longer on his final start of 2021 – a win over Met Mile (G1) winner Silver State in the Parx Dirt Mile of $200,000.

Taking a horse best known for its sprinting prowess and successfully stretching it into the Charles Town Classic wouldn’t be anything new for Pletcher who sent Caixa Electronica to win a decade ago in the 2012 edition. later his second Classic with Stanford in 2016.

John Velazquez travels from Saratoga to mount Mind Control in the Charles Town Classic.

Pletcher and Mott aren’t the only Hall of Fame trainers represented in the Charles Town Classic, as legendary conditioner D. Wayne Lukas will saddle his first horse in Charles Town in twelve years when he dispatches the upset Oaklawn Handicap (G2) of Willis Horton Racing Samurai.

Lukas himself is in the midst of a successful 2022 which has seen him win the Kentucky Oaks (G1) for the fifth time with Secret Oath, the Adirondacks (G3) at Saratoga with Naughty Gal and release several 2-year-olds with promise, including impressive Bourbon Bash, Saratoga’s first winner.

As for his 4-year-old son, Malibu Moon, he had struggled to find his footing, running both on dirt and grass and for distances ranging from seven furlongs to 1 1/2 miles in the first ten starts. of his career before finally breaking through for his signature win in the $1,000,000 Oaklawn Handicap. Last Samurai followed that victory with lackluster efforts in the Stephen Foster (G2) and RA Cowboy Jones Overnight Stakes at Ellis Park, but appeared to be bouncing back on Friday night.

Regular Last Samurai rider Jon Court has the call Friday night and starts from Station 3.

The Vesgo Racing Stable officiant scores in the Cornhusker Handicap (G3) at Prairie Meadows on the final start. Much like fellow Classic Mind Control, the Saffie Joseph trainee had already enjoyed his greatest success sprinting through the graded stakes ranks with victories in both the Mr. Prospector (G3) at Gulfstream Park and Tom Fool (G3 ) at Aqueduct.

By Blame of Dixie Union mare Come a Callin – who also produced Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ and Eclipse Award winner Caledonia Road – The officiant’s pedigree page doesn’t reveal many challenges from a distance and her trainer thinks his tactical speed should serve him well. the Charles Town oval.

“Tactically he’s a horse that wants to be put forward, especially when stretching, which certainly helps Charles Town,” said the Barbados native who dispatched Math Wizard and Ny Traffic in the past two Chares Town Classics. “He is a horse that tries hard. We tried grass and it ran well, but it improved a lot on dirt. Then we hit a little plateau with him sprinting, so we stretched him and it went well, and that’s where we hit Charles Town.

Javier Castellano, the only driver to win the Charles Town Classic three times, will drive Officiating.

Charles Town’s home contingent are far from hopeless as West Virginia’s undefeated Muad’dib will put his perfect 10-to-10 record on the line in his first try at an open-ended society.

Sprung from the barn of Jeff Runco, who himself is a perfect 2-for-2 in the Classic sending a seeker to his wins in 2009 and 2010, Muad’dib is a full brother to multi-tiered winner Late Night Pow. Wow and has summarily knocked out virtually every opponent to date, but his coach certainly recognizes Friday will be a step up in class.

“It’s a big step forward for the horse,” said Runco – who currently ranks 12th among trainers on the all-time winning list in North American Thoroughbred racing history. . “He tries hard every time. Does what he has to do. But this race is a completely different dimension compared to the kind of horses he will have to face. But he is doing very well. This is his home track. If he takes a trip, anything can happen.

Runco is no stranger to success at the Charles Town Classic as he remains the only manager to have back-to-back wins, but he also accepts some differences between his former champion and his current prospect.

“The researcher won everywhere and he raced against real serious horses. It had therefore already been tested. This will be the test for Muad’dib. He has hometown advantage. He obviously loves the track and he’s undefeated. It’s a million dollar race in his backyard. You can’t get too caught up in being undefeated and focus too much on his record. Obviously it would be nice if he stayed undefeated, but it’s about doing what’s best for the horse and for [Owner] David [Raim], and so if he wins and remains undefeated, great. But if he gets beaten up and gives a good image of himself, that’s fine too.

Charles Town’s best rider, Arnaldo Bocachica – on board for all ten Muad’dib outings – will be in irons again.

Laurel Park-based Plot the Dots and a pair from the 2021 Normal Cash barn, DeFrancis Dash (G3) winner Jalen Journey and Treasure Trove round out the lineup.

The Charles Town Classic is scheduled as Race 12 on the map with a start time of 10:18 a.m. EST.

$1,000,000 CHARLES TOWN CLASSIC (G2)

August 26, 2022

Race 12 – Start Time 10:18 p.m. EST

3 and over, 1 1/8 miles

PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer

1. Plot the dots, Angel Cruz, 118, Claudio A. Gonzalez

2. Mind Control, John R. Velazquez, 120, Todd A. Pletcher

3. Last Samurai, Jon K. Court, 120, D. Wayne Lukas

4. Art collector, Luis Saez, 118, William I. Mott

5. Treasure Trove, JD Acosta, 118, Normal L. Cash

6. Officer, Javier Castellano, 120, Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.

7. Muad’dib, Arnaldo Bocachica, 118, Jeff C. Runco

8. Jalen Journey, Angel S. Arroyo, 118, Norman L. Cash

Norma D. Ross