04/20/2016 3:52PM

Maker taking two shots at Classic; 11 entered, including one also eligible

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Donworth finishes third in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes in February.

A full field of 10, plus one also-eligible, has been entered for the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic on Saturday. There are six stakes on the Classic undercard.

Donworth, trained by Doug O’Neill, is expected to rule a slight favorite in the $1.25 million Classic from post 4. But the Todd Pletcher-trained Stanford (post 7) and Page McKenney (post 9), a winner of five of his last six starts for trainer Mary Eppler, also are sure to take money.

Imperative will have his share of supporters as two of his best races have come at Charles Town. Three for 30 in his career, Imperative defeated Game On Dude in the 2014 Classic at 26-1 and was second to Moreno last year at 31-1. Imperative’s training was taken over by Richard Baltas last summer. He will start from post 5.

Trainer Mike Maker will take two shots at the Charles Town Classic with S’maverlous and International Star. S’maverlous upset the New Orleans Handicap at 20-1 in his last start. International Star finished third at 2-1, beaten 2 1/2 lengths, but was elevated to second when runner-up Jessica’s Star was disqualified.

“S'maverlous was a pleasant surprise,” Maker said. “I thought he deserved a chance in the race, but I didn't think he could beat International Star.”

S’maverlous has improved markedly since Maker claimed him for $32,000 at Belmont Park last September. International Star ran hard in the New Orleans Handicap, but there was no catching S’maverlous, who opened up a clear lead in upper stretch of the 1 1/8-mile race. International Star was beaten a half-length for second.

Maker is pleased with how both horses came out of the race.

“They've both maintained their weight and are training forwardly,” he said.

Maker said International Star would be aided by a quick pace.

“His best races come when there is a pretty contested pace, and judging by the horses Charles Town is expecting, I would think it will be a lively pace this weekend,” Maker said.

The field for the 1 1/8-mile Classic also includes Santa Anita Handicap runner-up Hard Aces, who is trained by John Sadler. Hard Aces will start from post 10 in the three-turn race.

The other runners are Sonny Inspired, a winner of two Laurel Park Stakes in his last three starts, post 10; La Macchina, the winner of the Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park, post 8; and the locally based Charitable Annuity, post 2.

Otabek Umarov, the trainer of La Macchina, also entered Incremental, who is on the also-eligible list. Umarov had intended to enter Looks to Spare, but according to Charles Town officials, the horse came down with a fever in transit from Oaklawn.

Nationally prominent riders with mounts in the Classic include Javier Castellano (Stanford), Jose Ortiz (International Star), Mike Smith (Imperative), Mario Gutierrez (Donworth), and Jose Lezcano (S’maverlous).

The Charles Town Classic card will be streamed live on DRF.com. The Classic is the final race of a $100,000-guaranteed all-stakes pick four. The card will begin at 12:45 p.m. Eastern, with the Classic scheduled for 6:05.

The undercard includes the $150,000 Sugar Maple, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares; the $100,000 Robert Hilton Memorial, for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs; and four $50,000 stakes for West Virginia-breds.

Russell Road, who is closing in on $2 million in earnings, will make his 10-year-old debut in the $50,000 Confucius Say.

:: Charles Town Classic: Buy PPs, watch Saturday’s card live