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Art Collector Looks to Repeat in Charles Town Classic

Charles Town Classic
A field of eight led by Art Collector go in Friday night's Charles Town Classic (Photo credit: Charles Town)

A field of eight go to the post with $1 million up for grabs in the Charles Town Classic (G2) at Charles Town Friday night led by defending champ Art Collector.

The biggest night of thoroughbred racing in West Virginia features six supporting stakes on the 13-race card including the $500,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3).

The Bill Mott trained Art Collector was installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite. The five-year-old won last year’s running as the favorite, paying $4.60 for a $2 win wager and may end up an even shorter price this year.

His main rival is the Todd Pletcher trained Mind Control, who won the Salvatore Mile (G3) by a head over Hot Rod Charlie in his last outing. John Velazquez has the call and is the 2-1 second choice on the morning line.

Trainer Jeff Runco, who won the first two editions of the Charles Town Classic, sends out the undefeated Muad’dib, who is perfect in 10 career starts. The gelding beat state breds off an eight-month layoff on July 15 going seven furlongs. He won the state bred West Virginia Breeders’ Classic at 1 1/8 miles here last October.

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The Steve Asmussen trained Society is the 3-1 morning line favorite for the Charles Town Oaks. The filly was fourth in the CCA Oaks (G1) at Saratoga in her last outing. Tyler Gaffalione is in to ride.

Midnight Stroll (7-2) ships in off a victory in the Delaware Oaks (G3) while Divine Mistress (4-1) wo the Miss Disco at Laurel Park in her last start. She was the runner up in the Acorn (G1) two back at Belmont Park.

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Let’s head out to Charles Town for Friday’s featured race of the day:

Charles Town Race 12 The Charles Town Classic (G2) Post time 10:18 ET

2 Mind Control   2-1

4 Art Collector   6-5

3 Last Samurai   8-1

6 Officiating   8-1

Mind Control

This six-year-old is sent out by Pletcher who won this race in 2016 with Stanford and in 2012 with Caixa Eletronica. This guy matched his career top speed figure last out winning the Salvatore Mile (G3) at Monmouth Park by a head over Hot Rod Charlie going a two-turn mile. He has done his best running at seven furlongs to a mile and this will be his first trip at 1 1/8 miles. He does have some early zip and should appreciate the tight turns here, as well as the short stretch. Johnny V is in to ride and his best shot of beating the chalk appears to be to shake loose early.

Art Collector

The Mott trainee is the defending champ, winning this race last year as the chalk and may be even a shorter price this year. Last out he came back off a 5 ½ month break after a trip to Saudi Arabia that did not go well and won the restricted Alydar at Saratoga. It was the same race he used last year as a prep to win this race. He looks capable of moving forward second off the bench for Bill Mott and has the advantage of a race over the track here. The main knock is going to be the light price, likely less than his 6-5 morning line.

Last Samurai

This colt appears to have the best shot of upsetting the top pair. He was a close up third last out at Ellis Park going a mile in the Cowboy Jones, beaten ¾ of a length. His best effort came three back winning the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) with a career top speed figure. The runner up in that race was Fearless who returned to win the Brooklyn (G2) and Birdstone in his next two starts. He has some tactical speed which should get him into a good position and can handle the added ground.


WIN: Mind Control to win at 2-1 or better.

EXACTA: 2 / 3,4,6

TRIFECTA: no play