04/08/2014 11:47AM

Dick Jerardi: Charles Town Classic stacking up to be a good showdown

Coady Photography
Game On Dude, outside, won the 2013 Charles Town Classic and will return on April 19 to defend that win.

The $1.5 million Charles Town Classic on April 19 is coming up fast. And there are going to be some really fast horses in the gate, making for one of the best fields of older horses assembled in 2014.

Defending race winner Game On Dude proved with his sensational Santa Anita Handicap win that he has more to give and more major races to win. The horse has won 16 of 31 lifetime, with career earnings of $6.1 million. I’m not sure the Dude can put up one of his giant Beyer Speed Figures due to the tighter turns at Charles Town, but he is still the horse to beat. And it may very well take one of his big performances to win.

Unlike last year, this will not be a one-horse race. Game On Dude will be challenged by Lea, one of the hottest horses in the country. That matchup alone will be worth seeing – the horse proven over the years against the horse who might be in the process of proving that he is good enough to beat anybody’s horse anywhere.

Add in Clubhouse Ride, Imperative, and Suns Out Guns Out as likely starters at the moment, and you have a very serious horse race as the centerpiece of perhaps the best card in Charles Town history.

Remembering Dickie Small

They can call the track Keystone, Philadelphia Park, or Parx Racing. They can run races there for the next million years, and they won’t ever have a race like the one Broad Brush ran to win when survival seemed unlikely and winning impossible.

Find that 1986 Pennsylvania Derby on YouTube and watch it again. You won’t believe it, even now.

Broad Brush was not all that interested in being told what to do. So, even as the horse was on his way to dominating the race, he decided he wanted to go straight at the head of the stretch instead of turning left.

Angel Cordero considered jumping off. He stayed on. Eventually, Broad Brush was coaxed into making that left turn and started to run again. The horse went from first to nearly last to first in about 300 yards – and eventually became a star, a tribute to his trainer’s understanding of animals and his belief in the horse.

We lost one very unique trainer when Dickie Small died. His work will live on through the records of his horses and a moment in time that nobody who was at the track that day will ever forget.

Twenty stakes wins for Ben’s Cat

Horses don’t win 20 races anymore. And horses definitely do not win 20 stakes. But Ben’s Cat actually has won 25 races and 20 stakes after taking the Mister Diz at Pimlico for the fifth consecutive year last Saturday. Expect much more to come in 2014 for the 8-year-old gelding trained by King Leatherbury.

“This is the best he has ever been coming back off his winter layoff,” said Avon Thorpe, Leatherbury’s assistant. “He is training better than ever before. I am expecting a really big year.”

Wise Mac on a roll

Wise Mac is stabled at Penn National and has been very hot at Charles Town. The 4-year-old West Virginia-bred has won three straight races against statebreds, winning his maiden and getting two allowance victories this year.

Wise Mac won by seven lengths, 5 3/4 lengths, and 2 1/2 lengths for trainer Murray Rojas. He hasn’t exactly been a bargain at the windows during the streak, going off at 1-10, 4-5, and 1-10 again.

◗ Trainer Jamie Stokes came into 2014 with fewer than 50 career wins in limited chances over seven years. This year, he already has 17 wins from just 56 starts, along with six seconds and seven thirds. At his current rate, he is going to double his career win total in one year.

Louis Stokes More than 1 year ago
So if get in throb ill Can I get Mony
Louis Stokes More than 1 year ago
Jamie is not the trainer scooter is the trainer .he band from racesing lol
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
Broad brush's race does not even compare to Spicer Cub's run at pimlico last year. Not even close.
Mike More than 1 year ago
Incredible race; thanks for that footage, but maybe the absolute worst race caller I've ever heard (other than the guest announcers they had at Hollywood Park last fall). Zero imagination, just listed the horse and place over and over (X is in first, Y is in second, Z is in third and so on, through the field, then repeat). Broad Brush bolts and the caller dutifully keep going through the order as if nothing was happening until he listed the second through fifth horses, as if who was in third, fourth or fifth place at that moment was of more imporatnce than the leader bolting. Then when Broad Brush came back for this incredible win, he kept calling it as if nothing had happened - "and Broad Brush assumes command and wins the Pa Derby by a length and a quarter" - Hey, did something really amazing just happen? Yes, but you certainly wouldn't know it listening to that call.
Paul More than 1 year ago
Horrible and boring announcer.
Boyd Cord More than 1 year ago
from my untrained eye Game on Dude looked like he was slipping and sliding all over that course last year and still won. Smart move to send him to CT , seems like people are afraid to run their horses on the short track missing an opportunity for a big pay day.
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
He had a quarter crack - was wearing glue-on shoes. No mud caulks. Hope the track is dry this year.
T.W.SOCKS RACING More than 1 year ago
Jamie Stokes is a woman
Allen Payne More than 1 year ago
No Mention of "blueskiesrainbows"?....He must be on the sidelines (anybody know ?) I'm always the last to know anyway ...I thought he might have a chance in the CT Classic , W2W............
michael More than 1 year ago
Thanks for including this race in your column. I believe I only saw this race once before. So very interesting, and what a horse he was. I knew he liked to come from way back, like Concern generations after him. But this was nuts!
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
If Game on Dude goes off 8:5, what do you make Baffert to get off the couch?
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
What is your point. Oh nothing, I forgot. Needed to say something bad about BB. You do know he does not know you or care what you think. He is not reading this. Just saying.
Ron Rios More than 1 year ago
does anybody know who the track announcer was?
michael_alunni More than 1 year ago
Pretty sure Jack Lamar
Hail No More than 1 year ago
You're correct. his "sig" if you will, was when a horse drew off, he'd always say, 'and Devils Ticket', "He's ALLLLL ALONE" The crowd would always join in, con gusto :)