Diamond King leads probable Charles Town Classic field

April 15, 2019 09:37am
Diamond King leads probable Charles Town Classic field
Photo: Lauren King/Gulfstream Park

Heading into race week, eight of 10 spots in the gate for Saturday’s Grade 2, $1 million Charles Town Classic appear accounted for, with a group of well-known older horses assembling for West Virginia’s spring feature at 1 1/18 miles.

The list begins with Diamond King, who contended in last year’s Preakness Stakes and returned to the races March 22 with an authoritative, 3 3/4-length victory in allowance optional claiming company at Gulfstream Park.

Trained by Jason Servis, Diamond King, a son of Quality Road, had jockey Jose Ortiz in the irons that day.

"The horse is doing great," Ortiz said back in March. "I was a great job by the Servis team. I think we have a good one here.”

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Last year’s 1-2 Charles Town Classic finishers, Something Awesome and War Story, are both expected to return along with Discreet Lover, the Grade 1 winner who contended in the 2018 running.

From the West Coast, the recent Santa Anita Handicap (G1) third-place finisher, Mongolian Groom — 3 3/4 lengths behind the dueling Gift Box and McKinzie — is expected to ship in along with the Todd Pletcher-trained stakes winner Rally Cry and Nanoosh, last year’s Zia Park Derby hero.

Representing the locals, West Virginia-bred Runnin’toluvya, a winner of eight straight at the bullring track, will take the big step up in class in the Charles Town Classic.

“I’m happy whenever you can fill the gate,” said Erich Zimny, Charles Town’s vice president of racing and sports operations. “There’s other spots for the division throughout the country. We’re pleased with how it came together, and we’re going to have a pretty good wagering card.”

Stakes purses will total nearly $1.3 million with first post time 12:30 p.m. ET and the Charles Town Classic at 5:37 p.m. A $100,000 guaranteed Pick 4 will encompass all the stakes — on the undercard are a trio of six-figure unrestricted events — while the jackpot Pick 6 on Races 6-12 will see a mandatory payout.

 

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