Charles Town Picks & Betting Analysis for August 27: CT Classic Featured ...

Trainer Mike McCarthy celebrated a 'signature' victory back at the Preakness ... now, he sends Rushie into the CT Classic ... see what his chances look like, along with a full selection of races by our J.N. Campbell!
Trainer Mike McCarthy celebrated a "signature" victory back at the Preakness ... now, he sends Rushie into the CT Classic ... see what his chances look like, along with a full selection of races by our J.N. Campbell!

Charles Town's big Friday Night card arrives in fine style, with the Classic as the "Feature." I would expect some robust betting to be coming the track's way, and we at have you covered every step of the way!

Our senior turfwriter and handicapper is on the case with coverage of all 13 races, plus a select analysis of the major stake competition. It is sure to be a rousing good time!

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Friday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

Horse Racing Picks

Race 9: Dirt, 7F, Robert Hilton Memorial S., $150k, 3

Kicking off our analysis for the Charles Town Classic evening, we start by going 2-turns at 7F. Remember, CT is a smaller “bullring” type of racetrack, so to accommodate the distance, runners will have to deal with an extra movement to the left. Just another handicapping wrinkle that is good to know. There are plenty of directions you can go in here, but I see this developing as a race between Brad Cox’s unfortunately named Swill #1, and Mark Casse’s KYD147 alum Helium #6. This pair are clearly the class of the field, and I would expect both of them to be 1st and 2nd choice, or vice versa, when this deal gets ready to go off. With Florent Geroux up for Cox, he is looking to keep the gelding close, and hope that something opens up so he can utilize that late power. Meanwhile, Casse is turning to regional veteran rider Jose Ferrer, who comes over from Monmouth. It will be interesting to see how he handles this colt, after she tried and failed last out in a “Non-G” 150k contest at Churchill back before the close of the Meet. Casse clearly thinks he can head back up into a tougher G2 spot. For my money, I would back Cox’s charge because he is elevating nicely, and was pretty impressive at Ellis last time winning by a half dozen. His style should suit …

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Cold, 1 w 6


Race 10: Dirt, 7F, Russell Road S., $150k, 3+

With a similar distance test to the previous race, this “Non-G” courts older males, and out of this group of 10 there are 3 entries that I like. First up, is Peter Eurton’s Shooters Shoot #3, who is a 4-yr-old gelding out of Competitive Edge. He is primarily a sprinter who last ran in late July at Del Mar in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby. That might sound rather impressive, and it is, but he was a massive price at 42/1—finishing 6th. I still think he has ability, and if he can master quickly the 2-turns, then he has a legitimate shot with local superstar rider Arnaldo Bocachica in the irons. He has already ridden in almost 500 races this year, so he knows the layout in this spot. Going back a race to the Triple Bend (G2) at Santa Anita, he was a game 2nd coming in just behind Magic On Tap. Joining this one, I must include another “Bing” alum in the 4-yr-old colt Vertical Threat #6 for trainer Richard Baltas. The offspring of Tapiture did not have a positive effort for his 2021 debut. He faded back to last … 21 lengths off of it. So, Florent Geroux, the frequent flying jockey, is going to have his work cut out for him. Based on some of this one’s attempts last year, he does have the ability to rebound. As for a final runner to include, I like the look of Saffie Joseph’s Wind of Change #7. The 6-yr-old missed in the Tale of the Cat 120k at Saratoga last time, weakening to 4th in the end. But I think he needed a race after having a couple of months rest. After all, the son of Forestry joined Joseph’s outfit in April. The frontrunning score in the Mr. Prospector 100k going away at Monmouth in late May was stellar. If SPA jock Tyler Gaffalione can get that kind of output from his mount, this race may well be over shortly before it begins. Bet ‘em …

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 3/6/7


Race 11: Dirt, 7F, Charles Town Oaks (G3), $400k, 3F

As we get to the “meat” of the CT card, the Grade 3 Oaks is primed and ready to go for these 3-yr-old fillies. Already, most of them have some solid experiences. In fact, we even have one, R Adios Jersey #8 for trainer Georgina Baxter, that is a perfect 4-0. I am not sure this one out of Adios Charlie has what it takes to keep up with some of these others, but it is an intriguing storyline. As for a top selection … let’s not beat around the bush … I particularly like the back class and work ethic of Caramel Swirl #1. The filly out of Union Rags, a sire of major note on the dirt, had little chance 2-back in the Eight Belles (G2). She broke awkwardly, and never was able to get on track. This Godolphin homebred has major ability, and I fully expect her to win in this spot. Junior Alvarado is down from Saratoga, and he has just blistered the competition the past 2x he has ridden her. This is the perfect spot for him to do it again. Some others in here like Steve Asmussen’s Pauline’s Pearl #3 and Brad Cox’s Inject #6 warrant some consideration, but I would not put them over Mott’s well-bred entry. Too much to handle …

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Win #1


Race 12: Dirt, 1 1/8th, Charles Town Classic (G2), $800k, 3+

The “Feature” arrives, and a quick summation … it is much harder than it looks. With numerous directions to go in, it might seem simple … pick Bill Mott’s Art Collector #8, and take the ticket to the window. That might seem sane, and talking one off that would not be something I would relish. For the sake of variety, and possibly a better bet, consider Warrior’s Charge #1, Rushie #3, or even long shots like Bourbon Calling #4 or Informative #5. Let’s remember that this is going to be a 3-turn race, since the distance is 1 1/8th. That can throw a major wrench into any trip, and it is going to put increased pressure on the jockey’s ability to control his mount.

Out of these alternatives, my top selection is Mike McCarthy’s Rushie #3. I have been for this colt out of Liam’s Map for some time now, and he is the type that has the class to match wits with some of the best runners in the Dirt Mile Division. Of course, this race is longer, but has run at 1¼ and 1 1/16th. Stretching out might not be that difficult. McCarthy has proven he can condition with the best of them, and I fully expect that his instructions will be clear to Victor Espinoza. Having him come to ride is going to be a boon because there is no better jockey in the world, other than maybe Mike Smith, when it comes to “big race” experience. Maybe the price on this colt will hover around 5/1, and that suits me just fine.  

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #3 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)


Stay up Friday Night for Hollywood Casino’s Charles Town Classic!

Horse Racing Results