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April 19, 2014 

2014 Charles Town Classic Winner Imperative

 On April 20, 2013, the Charles Town Classic jumped into rarified air as it joined the 2001 Haskell as the richest thoroughbred race contested in U.S. racing history outside of the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup World Championships.  The increase also moved the Charles Town Classic up on the global scale in the handicap division with the race held in West Virginia's eastern panhandle eclipsed by only the Dubai World Cup, Breeders' Cup Classic and a trio of races in Japan in terms of money offered to its participants. 

After only five runnings, the Charles Town Classic has already established itself as a prominent early season stop for the best handicap horses in training. As of May 2013, the 37 different horses to start in the Charles Town Classic had combined for 78 graded stakes wins – 19 of which were Grade I’s.  The fields assembled for the first five editions have proved popular with fans as well, as the five Charles Town Classic cards run to date have produced the five largest handles in track history, with a high of $4,398,984 in 2013.

Most recently, the 2013 Charles Town Classic produced a compact but star studded field that featured two-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude, multiple Grade 1 winner Ron The Greek, 2013 Big 'Cap runner-up Clubhouse Ride and defending race champion Caixa Eletronica.  Game On Dude - second in the race just two years earlier - turned back a challenge from California rival Clubhouse Ride and held off a late charge from the oncoming Ron The Greek, to pocket the $1 million winners share and give both Bob Baffert and Mike Smith their first wins in the Charles Town Classic. 

Just two years prior, the Grade 3 Charles Town Classic became the first graded stakes race held at Charles Town in the track’s 77 year history. The newly minted grade helped produce one of the year’s strongest races as the 2011 Charles Town Classic was the first non-Breeders’ Cup race in the United States to have 10 or more starters, 100% of which were graded stakes winners going into the gate since the 2006 Arlington Million. While Duke of Mischief came home the winner, the race produced the three finalists for the older male Eclipse Award in Acclamation, Game on Dude and Tizway. At the time, the $784,267, the handle for the 2011 Charles Town Classic represented the largest single race handle in track history. 

Following the 2011 running, the Charles Town Classic received an upgrade to Grade 2 status for 2012 and again produced a field of 10 comprised entirely of graded stakes winners.  Caixa Eletronica denied Duke of Mischief a repeat in West Virginia's richest race and gave trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Javier Castellano their first wins in the Charles Town Classic.

(click on the year below for more information about the race)

        2013           2012          2011           2010          20092014 CT Classic Winners Silks


Charles Town Classic Participants

Graded Stakes Winners in the Charles Town Classic

Charles Town Classic Earnings Leaders