04/15/2016 2:24PM

Nine probable for Charles Town Classic

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Maryland-based Page McKenney has won five of his last six starts, including the General George at Laurel Park.

As of Friday, a field of nine was expected for next Saturday’s Grade 2, $1.25 million Charles Town Classic, according to Erich Zimny, the track’s vice president of racing operations.

The favorites in the three-turn, 1 1/8-mile race figure to be Donworth, who is coming out of a troubled trip in the Santa Anita Handicap for trainer Doug O’Neill; Page McKenney, who has won five of his last six starts for Pimlico-based Mary Eppler; and Stanford, who finished second, beaten a head by his Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate Blofeld, in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap.

Imperative, who is 3 for 30 in his career but has earned more than $1.8 million, is expected to run as a longshot. Imperative’s victories have come in a 2012 Golden Gate Fields maiden race, a 2013 first-level optional claimer at Golden Gate, and a 26-1 upset in the 2014 Charles Town Classic. He returned to Charles Town last year and finished second in the Classic to Moreno at 31-1.

Based in California with trainer George Papaprodromou for both of his prior Charles Town starts, he was transferred to Richard Baltas last summer. Imperative has earned more than $1.2 million in his two Charles Town appearances.

Trainer Mike Maker will be sending both S’maverlous, the winner of the New Orleans Handicap at 20-1, and International Star, who finished third to his stablemate at Fair Grounds at 2-1.

Others expected for the Classic include Hard Aces, the runner-up in the March 12 Santa Anita Handicap for John Sadler; Sonny Inspired, who is in the best form of his career for Laurel Park-based Phil Schoenthal; and Looks to Spare, a $5,000 claim by Otabek Umarov who finished third in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs last November.