February 21, 2024

Art Collector looks to repeat in Charles Town Classic

Art Collector winning the Charles Town Classic (G2) - Coady Photography
Art Collector winning the Charles Town Classic (G2) - Coady Photography

Charles Town Classic (G2) — Race 12 (10:18 p.m. ET)

Art Collector put together a three-race win streak in 2021, the second of which was the Charles Town Classic (G2). Friday evening at the West Virginia bullring, Art Collector will look to repeat in the 1 1/8-mile test, which carries a purse of $1 million.

As was the case last season, Art Collector precedes the Charles Town Classic following a win at Saratoga in the restricted Alydar S. Art Collector won the Aug. 4 renewal of that nine-furlong test in wire-to-wire fashion by two lengths

“The Alydar was a good comeback for him,” trainer Bill Mott said. “It looked like he did everything effortlessly. He came back out of it well. There’s no reason to think he’s not coming into the race as well this year as he was last year.”

The Alydar was Art Collector’s first outing since February, when he finished 12th of 14 in the Saudi Cup (G1). Art Collector followed up his Charles Town Classic win last year with a victory over Maxfield in the Woodward (G1).

Multiple Grade 1 winner Mind Control will attempt to stretch his speed after pulling off a minor upset in the Salvator Mile (G3) at Monmouth Park over odds-on favorite Hot Rod Charlie. Mind Control has won nine stakes during his fruitful career, though none have been beyond a mile.

Other graded winners in the lineup include Last Samurai, who has dropped two straight since upsetting the Oaklawn H. (G2) in April, and Officiating, who’s won the Tom Fool H. (G3) over six furlongs and the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H. (G3) over 1 1/8 miles this season.

The West Virginia-bred star Muad’dib enters the Charles Town Classic undefeated from 10 starts, all but two having come against state-bred foes.

The $500,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3), for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, has attracted a field of nine. Notables include Delaware Oaks (G3) heroine Midnight Stroll, Miss Preakness (G3) winner Lady Scarlet, and the stakes-winning Divine Huntress, runner-up in the Acorn (G1) two back. The once-beaten Society might also attract support after finishing up the track in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) last time following a stumble leaving the gate.