03/18/2014 11:03AM

Dick Jerardi: All-stakes pick four adds intrigue to Charles Town Classic card

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Jockey William Otero, pictured here after securing his 2,000th career win in September 2013, currently leads the Penn National standings by a narrow margin with 22 wins.

Charles Town will not only offer six stakes worth almost $2 million in total on its April 19 Charles Town Classic card, but the track also will offer a $100,000-guaranteed all-stakes pick four on the final four races.

Those races are the $50,000 Webb Snyder Charles Town Dash, the $100,000 Robert Hilton Memorial, the $200,000 Sugar Maple, and the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic.

Even though Game On Dude ($2.60) looked like a free space in the Classic last year, the pick four, which had a $50,000 guarantee the last two years, returned $89.60 for $2. The other winners paid $3, $6.60, and $4.60, so a parlay would have paid just $29.60, one-third of the pick four.

It appears that Game On Dude, awesome when winning his record third Santa Anita Handicap on March 8, will be back to defend his Charles Town Classic crown. And if he runs anywhere close to his Big Cap form, the Dude once again will be a free space, turning a pick four into a pick three and making the bet almost irresistible if you have one more solid opinion in the other three races.

Close jockeys’ race at Penn National

We are almost one-quarter of the way through the Penn National season, and there is no separation in the jockeys’ race. Four riders have between 19 and 22 wins. William Otero (22) leads, followed by David Cora (21), Angel Rodriguez (20), and Dana Whitney (19).

There were so many weather-related cancellations at one point that it was difficult for any of the riders to get momentum. Now, with spring actually here, one of the riders should have a chance to get hot.

Hot horse at Parx

When Handsup Moneydown was claimed for $7,500 on Oct. 22, the horse had one win, six seconds, and two thirds in 12 starts, looking very much like a money burner at the windows but a check earner on the track.

Well, the horse is no longer burning money at the windows and is earning much bigger checks on the track for owner-trainer Ramon Preciado.

Handsup Moneydown won for $10,000 and $25,000, then won a starter allowance. Most recently, he won a first-level allowance March 4. All told, in seven starts for Preciado, Handsup Moneydown has four wins, two seconds, a third and earnings of $89,650.

Handsup Moneydown’s best Beyer Speed Figure before the claim was a 66. Since the claim, his Beyers have been 61, 65, 71, 78, 70, 82, and 81, suggesting that this horse, who needed to learn how to win, apparently likes it so much that he might keep winning for a while.