04/14/2009 11:00PM

Classic lures seven graded winners


Put up the money, they will come.

Led by Grade 1 winners Commentator and Mast Track, Saturday's Charles Town Classic - with a tiered purse structure that starts at $500,000 - drew a solid field of 10 older horses set to contest 1 1/8 miles.

As Grade 1 winners, Commentator and Mast Track are running for $1 million in purse money. Dry Martini, Magnum and Zappa - all Grade 2 winners - are running for $750,000. Researcher and Ah Day, both Grade 3 winners, are running for $600,000, while the rest of the field - No Advantage, Ea, and Delaware River - are running for $500,000.

The Charles Town Classic is one of five stakes races on an 11-race card that begins at 6 p.m. Eastern. The undercard is headed by the $250,000 Sugar Maple Stakes, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares that also drew a field of 10, led by the multiple stakes winner Weathered.

The other stakes are the $100,000 Blue and Gold Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs; the $100,000 Webb Snyder at 4 1/2 furlongs; and the $50,000 Salerno for West Virginia-breds at seven furlongs.

Commentator, who earlier this week was crowned New York-bred horse of the year, will be making his 8-year-old debut in the Charles Town Classic. Commentator, who won the Grade 1 Whitney last year as well as in 2005, has not raced since finishing third as the 2-5 favorite in the Clark Handicap last Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs. Trainer Nick Zito had tried to get a prep race into the gelding at Gulfstream Park, but could not get a race to fill.

Commentator, the 123-pound highweight, will break from post 6 under John Velazquez. He will concede three to nine pounds to his nine rivals. Mast Track, owned and trained by Bobby Frankel, won the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup last June. This will be Mast Track's first start on dirt after running eight times on turf and six on synthetics.

Julien Leparoux will ride Mast Track from post 10.

The local hopes will rest on Researcher, who won the allowance prep for this by 22 1/4 lengths while setting a track record of 1:49.76 for 1 1/8 miles. Kendrick Carmouche rides from post 3.

Cowgirls Don't Cry, who won the Grade 2 Shuvee at Belmont last year, and Weathered, who won the Grade 3 Next Move last time out, head the field of 10 fillies and mares entered in the Sugar Maple.

After an unsuccessful trip to New York where he finished fifth in the Grade 3 Gotham, Russell Road returns to Charles Town for the $100,000 Blue and Gold. Russell Road is 5 for 6 at Charles Town, including 3 for 3 at seven furlongs.

Place Your Bet and Trust or Bust top a 10-horse field entered in the $100,000 Webb Snyder at 4 1/2 furlongs.