Imperative regains title in Charles Town Classic
Report: USA, Saturday
Charles Town: Charles Town Classic (Grade 2) 1m1f | dirt | 4yo+
Running in the Charles Town Classic for the fourth time, veteran gelding Imperative (Bob Hess/Javier Castellano) got up in the final stride to regain his crown in a finish of necks for the $1.25 million event at the West Virginia 'bull-ring' venue.
The seven-year-old had won the race in 2014 before coming second in 2015 and fourth last year; he had also won the Poseidon Stakes, the Pegasus World Cup consolation event, in January at Gulfstream Park before finishing last in the Santa Anita Handicap.
Sent off a 5-1 shot, the seven-year-old rallied from mid-division on a sloppy surface at Charles Town and still had plenty of ground to make up as he entered the short stretch six wide before closing in determined fashion to beat Matt King Coal in a time of 1m53.05s.
In a desperate finish – hardly surprising given the riches on offer – War Story was the same distance away in third.
The result was a triumph - and a lucrative one at that – for Ron Paolucci's Loooch Stables, who owned both first and third, plus Cautious Giant. That 84-1 shot may have come home a distant last of eight the eight runners but he had already done his job by that stage after taking on front-running favourite Stanford for the first six furlongs and softening him up for his stablemates. Stanford, who had won the 2016 edition, faded into fifth.
Also on Saturday
Santa Anita: Californian Stakes (Grade 2) 1m1f | dirt | 3yo+
Grade 1 company beckons for Collected (Bob Baffert/Martin Garcia) after the odds-on favourite kicks away in the stretch for an easy 3¾-length victory.