Stanford Goes Gate to Wire to Win Charles Town Classic
Stanford added to his riches Saturday with a $700,000 score in winning the $1.25 million Charles Town Classic. Ridden to victory by Javier Castellano and trained by Todd Pletcher, Stanford now has career earnings over $1.15 million.
“Fantastic trip,” said Pletcher. “He broke very well and got to the position we hoped for going to the first turn. He was on cruise control from there.”
Stanford broke sharply from the #7 post in the field of 10 with Page McKenney at here hip. Those two would travel the three turns on the small West Virginia oval together, with Stanford maintaining at least a half-length lead through fractions of :24.75, :48.86, and 1:13.75. Stanford, the Bay colt by Malibu Moon, kicked clear near the eighth pole and widened under a drive to win by two lengths over Page McKenney. Donworth, the 2-1 favorite finished third and Imperative, the second choice finished fourth.
“He broke very sharp and there wasn’t that much speed in the race,” said Castellano. “He broke well and I just enjoyed the ride. I thought the fractions were pretty comfortable.”
With the Charles Town track favoring speed both Friday and Saturday, Stanford used his and showed his versatility and improvement to finish with a final time of 1:50.55. Stanford paid $9.40 to win, $5.00 to place and $3.80 to show as the 7-2 betting choice. Page McKenney paid $6.20 and $3.40 and a $2 exacta paid $66.40.
Following a layoff in the summer of 2015, Stanford has put together back-to-back graded stakes placings, most recently behind his stablemate Blofeld in the Gulfstream Park Handicap. Pletcher suggested that the next stop for the colt may be the $1.25 million Grade I Metropolitan Handicap (Met Mile) June 11 at Belmont Park.