Frank Carulli: Charles Town Pick 4 Analysis Friday, Aug. 26, 2022

Grade 1 winners Art Collector and Mind Control, multiple graded stakes winner Officiating and 1-1/8-mile Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap winner Last Samurai are among seven entrants in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic this Friday, Aug. 26, at the West Virginia oval. Figure out that $1 million race and you’ll have three accompanying 7F stakes to solve the 50-cent Late Pick 4 puzzle that carries a guaranteed $100,000 pool. Here’s a closer look at the action:

CT 10th race (9:11 EST) -- WONDRWHERECRAIGIS bounced back from an unsuccessful March trip to Dubai for the G-I Golden Shaheen with a runner-up finish in his DeFrancis Dash title defense behind six-time stakes winner Beren. He is reunited with jockey Luis Saez, who was aboard when the 5-year-old gelding went wire-to-wire and posted a lifetime-best 104 Beyer in the G-III Bold Ruler Handicap at Belmont Park. The probable odds-on favorite in the $250,000 Russell Road Stakes will be a popular solo play in the Pick 4 despite this being his first start around two turns. SIR ALFRED JAMES, one of three Norm Cash-trained entrants, lost his last four non-graded stakes by a combined 40 lengths, but he reawakened in a big way in a 5-1/2F added-money allowance last out. He powered away from slow-starting favorite Mojovation after the duo drew even for the stretch run and he continued strong on the gallop out, earning a spot on the ticket.    

CT 11th race (9:45 EST) -- SOCIETY was unsettled, rank, bumped and taken back when she suffered her first loss in the G-I Coaching Club American Oaks against Nest and Secret Oath, the stars of the sophomore fillies class with four G-I wins and $3.3 million in earnings between them. She raced in-hand on the lead in her win two back, repelled a strong challenge by next-out winner Miss Yearwood and appears well-suited for her first 7F test in the G-III Charles Town Oaks. Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s ties to the West Virginia Breeders Classics date back to the inaugural running in 1987, when he sent out 2-year-old Rock House to one of the first stakes victories of his long and illustrious career. STELLAR RIDE is worth using at 8-1 on the morning line. She chased the fleet-footed favorite in a triple-key allowance but raced evenly in the lane while Last Leaf rolled past for her fourth consecutive stakes win against fillies. MIDNIGHT STROLL got the jump on deep-closing Shotgun Hottie, a three-time G-III runner-up, and troubled odds-on favorite Morning Matcha in the G-III Delaware Oaks, for her third win at as many distances in four starts this year. DIVINE HUNTRESS, a distant second in a four-horse field against millionaire Matareya, got a break from graded stakes competition and beat an allowance-caliber field by a nose in a restricted stakes race last out.    

CT 12th race (10:18 EST) -- Defending champion ART COLLECTOR has won his last six starts in the U.S. at the 1-1/8-mile WV Breeders Classic distance for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. He followed a similar script heading into last year’s race, winning the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga in ‘handy’ fashion. MIND CONTROL won three stakes by a head in his last six starts, including the G-II Jan Nerud and a G-III upset over multiple G-I winner Hot Rod Charlie in the Salvator Mile. He goes 1-1/8 miles for the first time but Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, seeking his third Classic victory, said in published reports that he was encouraged by Mind Control’s longest distance efforts thus far. OFFICIATING sat a perfect trip in the G-III Cornhusker Handicap to win in his first try at this distance. He tracked dueling leaders Fleetridge and Flash of Mischief – who both came back to win – before making his move at the quarter pole. LAST SAMURAI is a proven marathoner but he didn’t fire in the G-II Steven Foster two back and ‘did not have enough in the final stages’ in a minor stakes last out after a long duel with the 2-1 winner.

CT 13th race (10:48 EST) – NO CHANGE is a neck short of a perfect season in six starts around two turns at Charles Town in 2022. But if he doesn’t handle the challenge of a difficult post 10 starting spot, it could be anyone’s race to win in the $75,000 Frank Gall Memorial Stakes. Go deep in the final leg of the Pick 4.  

Suggested 50-cent Ticket

CT 10th Race: 4, 6
CT 11th Race: 5, 6, 7
CT 12th Race: 2, 4
CT 13th Race: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10

COST: $54

continue reading