Kiaran McLaughlin - NOT FOR RP USEPICTURE: www.godolphin.com/Bill Selwyn
Long River To Charles Town
Time/Date - 22.30hrs local time/Saturday, April 19, 2014
Racecourse/Country - Charles Town/USA
Surface/Distance - Dirt/1m 1f
Long River takes on one of North America's top dirt horses, Game On Dude, in the US$1.5-million Grade Two Charles Town Classic over nine furlongs at Charles Town, West Virginia, on Saturday, April 19.
The four-year-old colt, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, was headed near the line when beaten a neck by another Godolphin runner Romansh in the Grade Three Excelsior Stakes over the same distance at Aqueduct on March 22, with the pair finishing clear of the rest of the field.
He posted a pair of non-graded victories at Aqueduct, comfortably taking the Evening Attire Stakes over an extended mile on January 18 and gaining a smooth two-length success in the mile Time For A Change Stakes in December.
Long River captured an allowance optional claimer at Belmont Park in October over a mile and half a furlong and was fourth in the Grade Two Jerome Stakes over an extended mile at Aqueduct in January, 2013.
Irad Ortiz Jr, who has ridden Long River on all of his starts, is in the saddle again.
Kiaran McLaughlin said: "Long River has been improving with every race this year and we think that he has a good chance in this race.
"We are getting 5lb from Game On Dude, who is a tough horse but is a seven-year-old now.
"Moreno is also running and he's a horse with a lot of speed, which could set the race up for us.
"Long River is powerfully-built horse and we think that he will handle a tight course like Charles Town. It's a tough race but he deserves his place in the field."
Apart from eight-time Grade One winner and last year's victor Game On Dude, Long River also opposes Travers Stakes runner-up Moreno, Grade Two California Stakes scorer Clubhouse Ride, course specialist Lucy's Bob Boy, Ruler Of Love and Imperative.