Happy Saver, Mind Control Top Nominees To Aug. 27 Charles Town Classic

A pair of Grade 1 winners from the barn of recent Hall of Fame inductee Todd Pletcher in 2020 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner Happy Saver and 2019 Allen Jerkens (G1) victor Mind Control as well as defending Charles Town Classic winner Sleepy Eyes Todd lead a list 108 nominations for both the Charles Town Classic and Charles Town Oaks, which closed this past Saturday. The Classic and Oaks will both be run on Charles Town’s biggest night of the year – Friday, Aug. 27 – a card that includes a total of nine stakes races with more than $2 million in purse money on the line.

In addition to his two Grade 1 winners, Pletcher also has multiple graded stakes winner Dr. Post and Moretti nominated to West Virginia’s richest race – an event he will try and win for the third time after taking it with Caixa Eletronica in 2012 and again with Stanford in 2016.

Thumbs Up Racing’s Sleepy Eyes Todd will attempt to buck recent history and do something the last seven horses to attempt the feat have failed to accomplish – win the Charles Town Classic in consecutive years, with Researcher still standing alone as the race’s lone back-to-back winner. The five-year-old son of Paddy O’Prado has banked over $1 million in 2021 despite not finding the winners’ circle by virtue of his fourth place effort in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) and fifth place finish in the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1).

Bill Mott, who would be sending out his first Classic starter since he saddled Ron the Greek to a third-place finish behind Game on Dude and Clubhouse Ride in the 2013 Classic, has a pair of possible runners in Bruce Lunsford’s talented homebred Art Collector as well as multiple graded stakes winner Modernist. Art Collector took the 2020 Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland and most recently led at every call to win the restricted Alydar Stakes at Saratoga in his first start for Mott.

Multiple graded stakes winner Warrior’s Charge headlines a trio of nominations from trainer Brad Cox, a list that also includes Plainsman and Night Ops, second to the aforementioned Art Collector in the Alydar. Owned by Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Stables, Warrior’s Charge was most recently seen finishing second to top older horse Maxfield in the Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Among the other noteworthy nominees for the Charles Town Classic include 2021 New Orleans Classic (G2) winner Chess Chief, 2020 Pimlico Special (G3) victor Harper’s First Ride, Tom Durant’s multiple graded stakes winner Silver Dust and a pair of west coast invaders in 2019 Nashua (G3) champ Independence Hall and American Stakes (G3) winner Restrainedvengence as well as 2020 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) runner-up Jesus’ Team and Ny Traffic, who came within a nose of upsetting eventual Horse of the Year Authentic in the 2020 Haskell (G1).

The Kentucky Oaks (G1) field is represented in the Charles Town Oaks nominations by three fillies who are possible for the race, including 2021 Fantasy (G3) winner Pauline’s Pearl, Honeybee (G3) heroine Will’s Secret and the Florida based Competitive Speed from the barn of trainer Javier Gonzalez.

Trained by the newly crowned all-time leading trainer in the history of North American thoroughbred racing, Steve Asmussen, Pauline’s Pearl would be Asmussen’s third ever starter in the Charles Town Oaks after winning the inaugural edition of the race with Four Gifts in 2009 and sending out runner-up Wicked Whisper in 2020.

The Monmouth Oaks (G3) is also well represented in the Charles Town Oaks nominations with the top five finishers under consideration for the Mountain State’s only graded race for fillies lead by the first three under the wire – SMD Limited’s Leader of the Band, lightly raced Edie Meeny Miny Mo and Midnight Obsession. Leader of the Band and Midnight Obsession are both trained by Charles Town native John Servis.

Entries for the August 27 Charles Town Classic card will be taken on Tuesday, August 24.

Nominations for three more unrestricted stakes all worth $150,000 and all run at seven furlongs – the Misty Bennett Pink Ribbon Stakes for older fillies and mares, the Russell Road for older horses and the Robert Hilton Memorial for three-year-olds – close this upcoming Friday, August 13.

The post Happy Saver, Mind Control Top Nominees To Aug. 27 Charles Town Classic appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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