Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Dueling Down The Stretch

Charles Town Clash of the Titans

Game On Dude 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
In recent years the Charles Town Classic has become one of the most anticipated races of the year for the Older Male Division. It has steadily attracted more and more attention, luring more quality horses into its gates, and this year is no exception. The 2013 Charles Town Classic has to be one of the best fields in recent memory. Even though there is a lack in quantity there is none in quality as the field drew the defending champion Caixa Eletronica, the first and second place finishers in this year’s Big Cap, Game on Dude and Clubhouse Ride; and the Sunshine Millions Classic winner Ron the Greek.
What makes this year so unique is that it offers a rubber match between Ron the Greek and Game on Dude, who last met in the Santa Anita Handicap. The Dude reversed his BC Classic loss and came home in the top spot that day as much the best, but that was over his home track, Santa Anita, which favors his running style over the late running style of Ron the Greek.
In the Santa Anita Handicap, Game on Dude was allowed a clear lead and was never really pressured. He is dangerous enough at Santa Anita, and when given a clear lead there are very few who can run him down. That race was also run around two turns, whereas this time he will have to negotiate three. That extra turn can catch many horses off guard, and easily become a favorite’s undoing. He will also have two Pletcher trainees who may try to entertain him up front. Percussion wired an allowance field two starts back, and has been up close in his other two starts this year, as has his stablemate, Mordi’s Miracle. A new track, a third turn, and a little more pace pressure could be what levels the playing field between Ron the Greek and Game on Dude.
While Ron the Greek and Game on Dude will probably garner most of the attention and the betting, Caixa Eletronica, the 2012 Charles Town Classic winner, may just go off unnoticed. That, however, seems to be when this sneaky little horse is at his best. This  horse can sprint, he can route, he can lead, he can close, put simply he can do it all….even win at a bullring track such as this.
It would not be a surprise to me to see this Repole warrior zip by both Ron the Greek and Game on Dude simply because of how versatile he is. He is ultra-consistent and has one thing both Ron the Greek and Game on Dude don’t have….a good experience over the course. Game on Dude has run over the track, and was second in the race two years ago, but was soundly beaten by longshot Duke of Mischief. If he couldn’t hold off a longshot then, what reason is there to think he will now? This will be Ron the Greek’s first time negotiating the Charles Town bullring, so he is still an unknown, where Caixa Eletronica has already demonstrated an affinity for the track.
So, while the race seems like a two horse race on paper, and could very well turn out that way, there is still a strong possibility that it could end up either a three way vie for the wire, or a one horse romp. Has Game on Dude improved enough to dominate in his second try? Will Ron the Greek run by them all in the stretch? Or, will Caixa Eletronica surprise them all, taking his second consecutive classic? Tomorrow, we will have our answer.


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Older Comments about Charles Town Clash of the Titans...

Since the 2009 CT Classic inception horses coming in first or second have returned the following year to win or place except for one 8 yr old Awesome Gem who ended up 6th, just some trivial info.
Game on Dude looks too strong. It seems like he's getting better with age.

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred Racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2001. After that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at the now closed Virginia Intermont College, then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010 Laura came to Horse Racing Nation, but soon branched out to other media outlets, such as Lady and the Track, TwinSpires.com, and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter, while making a return to Horse Racing Nation, where she will once again feature her opinionated columns on the latest in horse racing. 

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