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Charles Town Classic Preview: Runnin’toluvya Ready for Title Defense
Runnin'toluvya winning the 2019 Charles Town Classic (Credit: Coady Photography)

Charles Town Classic Preview: Runnin’toluvya Ready for Title Defense

CHARLES TOWN, WV – Owner/trainer Tim Grams’ Runnin’toluvya appears ready to defend his title in Friday’s $600,000 Charles Town Classic Stakes (G2), the track’s biggest annual event.

“He’s doing really good,” Grams said. “I breezed him last week, and he did it handily. It’s going to be a tough race, but we’re going in without hesitation because of how well he’s doing.”

The Charles Town Classic is a 1 1/8-mile, three-turn route restricted to horses ages 3 and up. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 12-race card and has a local post time of 10:18 PM.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Charles Town Classic:

1. Forewarned 12/1 – He shows up here while still looking for his first victory since last October, when he defeated fellow state-breds in the 1 1/4-mile Ohio Endurance Stakes at Mahoning Valley. While he’s struggled to win lately, he’s always a threat to hit the board and offers good value here.

2. Tenfold 5/1 – The well-traveled multiple graded stakes winner makes his Charles Town debut seeking his first victory since the 2019 Pimlico Special (G3). By Curlin out of a Tapit mare, he’s bred to run all day and takes a class drop after competing in stakes on major circuits in his past several starts.

3. Mo Dont No 15/1 – He ships to Charles Town for the first time after he ran a career-best effort to win the 1 1/4-mile Governor’s Buckeye Cup Stakes against fellow Ohio-breds at Thistledown. Owner Ron Paolucci has never seen a graded stakes that he didn’t think he could win with a longshot.

4. Math Wizard 3/1 – He pulled off a 31/1 upset in last summer’s Pennsylvania Derby (G1) to earn a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), where he finished fifth. He was a strong-finishing second in the Monmouth Cup (G3) last time out and has been training well at Saratoga in preparation.

“He ran one of the best races of his life last time out according to the numbers, and he’s been training great coming out of it,” said Joseph, Jr. “I think he’s going to continue to progress and take another step forward.”

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5. Runnin’toluvya 12/1 – The local hero has won 14 of his 20 starts over this track, ranging from 4 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. He finished last as the favorite in May’s Confucius Say Stakes against fellow West Virginia-breds, but sharp bettors will take into account his distance record of 4-3-0-0.

6. Mr. Money 6/1 – He won 4 straight Grade 3 events in 2019 and was a neck away from making it 5 in the Pennsylvania Derby while earning over $1 million. He’s failed to hit the board in 3 starts in 2020, but perhaps stretching back out in distance will help him rediscover last year’s form.

“He had a great year last year and has had a rocky start to this year, but it’s not really his doing,” said trainer Bret Calhoun, who pointed to poor trips and off goings on his recent form. “He’s trained forwardly all along and we’re looking forward to getting him back on track.”

7. Sleepy Eyes Todd 10/1 – His lone prior attempt at this distance saw him finish second in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) behind eventual millionaire Owendale. He returns after finishing second (beaten a head) in June’s Lone Star Mile Stakes, where he earned a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure.

8. Plus Que Parfait 15/1 – A career-best effort pushed him to victory in the 2019 UAE Derby (G2) and earned a shot in the Kentucky Derby (G1), where he was placed eighth. Winless in his past 7 starts, trainer Brendan Walsh puts blinkers back on – last time he added them, he won the UAE Derby.

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9. War Story 4/1 – He’s finished second or third in each of the past three runnings, including missing by just a neck in 2018, and has 2 wins at this distance. Unraced since finishing third in January’s Pegasus World Cup (G1), he picked up the services of top local rider J. D. Acosta for his return.

10. Multiplier 9/2 – He makes his local debut while looking for his first victory in the past 27 months. He’s knocked heads with several top west coast runners on both dirt and turf and gets some class relief here, but he’ll need to rediscover the killer instinct that he hasn’t flashed since 2018.

11. Awesome D J 15/1 (Also Eligible) – Track officials announced Friday morning that he will not draw into the field because no other entries scratched out.

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