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We are now less than two weeks away from the Kentucky Derby (G1); however, last weekend we took a break from the Derby hype for the first time in months. The Charles Town Classic (G2) gave us something new to talk about, while Laurel Park ran a race that could be critical to the Preakness Stakes (G1). Let’s take a look at our Three Stars of the Week after an exciting weekend of action:
The West Virginia bred did it! Runnin’toluvya is a local legend at Charles Town, winning several small state bred stakes at the track by multiple lengths in his career, while compiling a (16) 12-2-0 overall record. However, he had never stepped up in competition like he did last Saturday in the Charles Town Classic (G2), which was cause for concern. Like normal, he broke sharply from the gate, putting pressure on the favored Diamond King right from the start. From there, the event turned into a match race between the two front runners, with them trading punches the whole way around the track. In the end, Runnin’toluvya took the lead in late stretch, pulling away to win by a half-length. This has to be the most popular win in the history of the race.
We’ve got a major Preakness Stakes (G1) contender after Alwaysmining took care of business last Saturday in the Frederico Tesio Stakes. Sent off as the 1/9 favorite, there was no doubt he was expected to win, which is exactly what he did. After sitting behind the front runners up the back stretch, he simply destroyed the field at the top of the stretch, taking command and running away to a 11 1/2 length triumph. The win was his sixth in a row, while he earned an automatic entry into the Preakness Stakes (G1) for this victory. The next challenge will obviously be the toughest of his career; however, he seems primed and ready to take on the big horses in this division.
Trainer Mike Maker had the three top choices in last Saturday’s Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes (G2), which ended up working out in his favor as Bigger Picture was able to pick up the victory. It was not easy, though, as the 8-year-old gelding needed the length of the stretch to catch Red Knight, winning the race by a half-length. Amazingly, the race was Bigger Picture’s 40th career start, as he has amassed a 13-7-5 record, with earnings of $1,646,635. He has proven that he can run in pretty much any spot and be competitive, which means his options are wide-open as we head into the summer months of racing, where the turf action really heats up.
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