Charles Town Classic Predictions, Expert Picks, Odds

Charles Town Classic Predictions

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Sleepy Eyes Todd (6/1)

Charles Town Classic Predictions Post Position and Odds

Check out our predictions and odds for the Charles Town Classic at Charles Races!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
F Geroux B Cox
A Cruz D Fawkes
3 RUSHIE 5/1
V Espinoza M McCarthy
B J Hernandez Jr I Wilkes
J C Ferrer U St Lewis
T Gaffalione S Joseph Jr
R Eikleberry M A Silva
L Saez W Mott
E Maldonado V Brinkerhoff
10 AIR TOKEN 30/1
J D Acosta J Corrales

Fresh off an impressive stakes win at Saratoga for new trainer Bill Mott, Art Collector has been named the 5/2 morning line favorite over nine other older males set to clash Friday night in the $800,000 Charles Town Classic at Hollywood Casino at Charles Races.

This time last year the son of Bernardini was one of the hottest 3-year-olds in the nation after back-to-back front-running victories in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and the Ellis Park Derby. A fourth-place finish in the Preakness and an eighth-place showing in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile ended 2020 in disappointment, but a 1 ½-length score in the Alydar Stakes for his new barn has his camp hopeful that he can return to his best form again.

Chief among his competition will be the 5-year-old millionaire, Warrior’s Charge. Despite not winning since the Grade 2 Razorback 18 months ago, the son of Munnings has accounted well for himself on numerous occasions. Most recently, he turned in a strong effort after a rough start to finish second behind Maxfield in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs.

Others who should get plenty of support in the 9 furlongs Charles Town Classic include Rushie, who won last year’s Grade 2 Pat Day Mile, and Sleepy Eyes Todd, the well-traveled millionaire who romped in this race last year.

Best Bets for the Charles Town Classic

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$5 Exacta Box – Sleepy Eyes Todd, Art Collector, Ny Traffic and Informative = $60

Top Pick:

Sleepy Eyes Todd (6/1)

How to Watch the Charles Town Classic

Charles Town Classic Race Information
What Charles Town Classic (Grade 2)
Location Hollywood Casino at Charles Races
Time Friday, August 27 — 10:18pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $800,000

Race Analysis

Art Collector

The winner of the Grade 2 Blue Grass looked poised for big things last summer, but could not get it done in his two big Grade 1 attempt. After an indifferent start to his season in a sprint stake at Churchill Downs, he looked like the same horse with so much talent last year, when winning nicely in Saratoga’s Curlin Stakes three weeks ago. Top rider Luis Saez will follow him out to West Virginia, and together they deserve favoritism. They will have to work from the outside post, but a good trip certainly puts him in with a big chance in this rich race.

Warrior’s Charge

It will be interesting to see what this classy son of Munnings does early after drawing the rail here. Once a real speed horse, he seems to be more comfortable coming from a little off the pace. If he goes right to the lead from the break, he could be tough, but if shuffled back on this track, his work may be cut out for him. His last was very good, although never threatening the top-class Maxfield. He is an obvious threat, but at the odds, and having not won in so long, I will try to beat him on Friday night.


This gray son of Liam’s Map has run against many top horses in his career but has only the one-stakes win last summer to show for it. Still, he must be respected in what could be one of the easier races he has seen of late. Having said that, this field is deep, despite lacking the nation’s biggest names. After a good second to By My Standards to begin the year, his two tries out in California were not as good as hoped for. He is capable of turning things around, but I do like a few others better.

Sleepy Eyes Todd

I can’t think of an American-based horse who racked up more frequent flyer miles than this son of Paddy O’Prado. Perhaps his connections pushed him a little too far with starts in both the Saudi Cup and the Dubai World Cup. He’s had some time to recover from the travel and with a prep under his belt, not to mention some solid workouts up in Minnesota, the hope is that he will be back to his old self. If so, the horse that won this race last year by better than 7 lengths, could be ready to get the job done again. It’s a tougher field this year, but he clearly likes the tight turns of Charles Town. He gets the top choice nod in a wide-open field.

Ny Traffic

A classy 3-year-old in 2020, this New York-bred came one jump short of beating Authentic in the Grade 1 Haskell. While that was his best career performance, there are several races in his past performance to believe he fits in at this level. He’s only won once in three starts this year, but both of his stakes tries were not bad. With good tactical speed, he could appreciate the tight turns he will see on Friday. The beaten favorite in the last two, he may be ready to finally live up to expectations, and this time with some odds. He is in with a chance.

Noble Drama

A winner of 4 of his last 7 races, this Florida-based gelding has put together a nice career in South Florida. He is consistent and well spotted in minor stakes races down there. Now he travels north for a difficult assignment and faces a deep field. It’s hard to ignore his nice record, but I have a feeling that his form against a little cheaper in Florida is not going to hold up as he makes the trip for this Grade 2 in West Virginia.


This West Coast runner has performed mostly on the turf of late, but when he does run on the dirt, he has found some success. The dirt races do seem to be against a little easier company than he has been facing on turf, but still they are good enough to consider him here. His last four races are all on the grass, but he has been competitive with some very good horses. The distance should suit him, if he takes to the travel and track, he is another horse to watch out for on Friday night.

Bourbon Calling

This Ian Wilkes trained runner has only won once in his last two seasons, but interestingly that win came in his only start at Charles Town. Clearly, this will be a tougher spot than the 7-furlong stakes race he won in 2020, but the fact that he has won over the track is a plus. On paper, he looks a cut below the bigger names in here, but the win over the strip and a decent third last out at Mountaineer give hope that he could sneak into the exotics.


The second-longest shot on the morning line is one that I think has a real shot to surprise in this Grade 2 affair. Two starts back, the Uriah St. Lewis-trainee turned in a career best performance to run down Ny Traffic and win the Grade 3 Salvator Mile. He’s certainly not the consistent runner, but even besides the big surprise at Monmouth Park, the 4-year-old son of Bodemeister has shown signs of improvement. With plenty of speed in here, I believe he should come running at attractive odds once again. He is a long-shot player.

Air Token

The good news is that this 4-year-old son gelding has finished first or second an impressive 13 times in 23 career races. This $800,000 feature looks to be his toughest test yet, however. Two weeks ago the son of Golden Lad finished a well beaten second in a four-horse allowance race at Pimlico. Anything better than a middle-of-the-pack finish in here would be a surprise.

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

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