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Jeff Nations

Game On Dude aims for Charles Town payday

Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude headlines a loaded field for the third edition of the $1 million Charles Town Classic on Saturday night at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, but the talented California shipper faces much more than a gallop around the six-furlong bullring track to claim a hefty payday.

"I sent my horse up there, and I told my jockey [David Flores] to put two marbles in his mouth, and to spit a marble out every time he crosses the finish line to remind himself there's another lap to go around," Game On Dude trainer Bob Baffert said jokingly in a news release.

The 1 1/8-mile Charles Town Classic, which gained Grade III status for the first time (also the first graded stakes race for the track) has drawn likely its best field yet for Saturday's running. Included among the hopefuls are millionaire runners Gone Astray and Awesome Gem. All 10 entries are graded stakes winners, a first for any race in West Virginia. One horse who likely won't run is track favorite Researcher, the two-time defending race champion. Researcher, which was put back into flat-track training after a foray into jumping specifically to run in the Classic, is a third alternate to run.

The Classic caps a tremendous race card which also features the $250,000 TVG Sugar Maple Stakes (seven furlongs for fillies ages 4 and up) and the $100,000 Blue & Gold Stakes (seven furlongs for 3-year-olds).

Here's a look at the fields for the top races Saturday night:

$100,000 Blue & Gold Stakes

Race 8 - Post time 9:15 p.m.

3YO, 7 furlongs

PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer

1. Gator's Choice, Oliver Castillo, 116, John J. Robb

2. Black N Beauty, Rajiv Maragh, 116, Dale L. Romans

3. Rush Now, Travis Dunkelberger, 114, Anthony W. Dutrow

4. Pick Four, Gerald Almodovar, 114, Ernest M. Oare

5. Diski Dance, Kendrick Carmouche, 114, Cathal A. Lynch

6. Go Maire Tu, Gustavo Larrosa, 114, Ashlie Howell

7. Loranger Native, John Velasquez, 114, Michael Stidham

$250,000 TVG Sugar Maple Stakes

Race 9 - Post time 9:45 p.m.

Fillies & Mares, 4&up, 7 furlongs

PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer

1. Five Diamonds, Harry Vega, 118, John E. Salzman, Jr.

2. Bwana Babe, Michael J. Luzzi, 120, Rudy R. Rodriguez

3. Sweet Goodbye, J.D. Acosta, 118, Christopher W. Grove

4. Carolina Tapper, Wesley Ho, 116, Donald W. Shuler

5. Belle of Camden, Angel Serpa, 116, Alejandro Maymo

6. Choragus, Leandro R. Goncalves, 123, Anthony L. Reinstedler

7. C C's Pal, Kendrick Carmouche, 116, Derek S. Ryan

8. Hyperlink, Alan Garcia, 123, Kenneth G. McPeek

9. Shefoggedmyglasses, Katie Reynolds, 116, Larry M. Myers

10. Holly's Way, Gustavo Larrosa, 116, Keturah Obed-Letts

$1,000,000 Charles Town Classic (G3)

Race 10 - Post time 10:30 p.m.

4&up, 1 1/8 miles

PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer

1. No Advantage, Manual Chaves, 120, Stephanie S. Beattie

2. Tackleberry, Javier Santiago, 120, Luis Olivares

3. Tizway, Rajiv Maragh, 114, H. James Bond

4. Acclamation, Christian Santiago Reyes, 114, Donald Warren

5. Rule, John Velasquez, 114, Todd A. Pletcher

6. Inherit the Gold, Eddie Castro, 120, James Hooper

7. Gone Astray, Cornelio Velasquez, 114, Claude R. McGaughey, III

8. Duke of Mischief, Joe Bravo, 114, David Fawkes

9. Awesome Gem, Travis Dunkelberger, 114, Craig Dollase

10. Game on Dude, David R. Flores, 123, Bob Baffert

11(AE) - Quindici Man, Martin Pedroza, 114, Craig A. Lewis

12(AE) - Schoolyard Dreams, Kendrick Carmouche, 114, Derek S. Ryan

13(AE) - Researcher, J.D. Acosta, 114, Neil R. Morris

14(AE) - Icabad Crane, Alan Garcia, 118, H. Graham Motion

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