Two years after finishing second to Duke of Mischief, leading thoroughbred Game On Dude returns for the fifth running of the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic. The 1 1/8-mile stakes has attracted a field of seven older horses over Charles Town's six-furlong track.
The Classic received a purse boost of $500,000 over last year to make it one of the richest thoroughbred races in North America.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Game On Dude will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith from post 3.
This will be the 6-year-old gelding's first start since claiming the Santa Anita Handicap on March 2. Game On Dude, owned by a partnership that includes Joe Torre, began 2013 with his second straight win of the San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita.
Last year, the gelding followed his San Antonio victory with a 12th-place finish in the Dubai World Cup. He returned to California to post wins in the Californian and Hollywood Gold Cup before being caught at the wire in the Pacific Classic by Dullahan.
Game On Dude concluded 2012 by winning the Awesome Again Stakes, named for his sire, a seventh as the favorite in the Breeders' Cup Classic and a victory in the Native Diver Stakes
He comes into the Charles Town Classic with wins in half of his 24 career starts and more than $3.7 million.
Taking another crack at Game On Dude is 2012 Santa Anita Handicap champ Ron the Greek. The 6-year-old, trained by Bill Mott, will break from post 5 with Jose Lezcano riding.
Ron the Greek was fourth in this year's Big 'Cap behind Game On Dude after beginning the year with a victory in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park.
Owned by Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable and Jack Hammer, the horse has earned $1,851,597 with eight wins in 24 lifetime starts.
Back to defend last year's Classic win is Caixa Eletronica, trained by Todd Pletcher. Co-owned by Mike Repole, the chestnut 6-year-old will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post 6.
Caixa Eletronica won last year's Charles Town Classic by three lengths over 2011 winner Duke of Mischief. The horse is working on a two race win streak which includes last November's Fall Highweight at Aqueduct and last month's Uncle Mo Stakes.
With 20 wins in 61 career starts, Caixa Eletronica has earned $1,643,205.
From the rail out here is the field for the Charles Town Classic: Mordi's Miracle, Chris DeCarlo; Percussion, Kendrick Carmouche; Game On Dude, Mike Smith; Clubhouse Ride, Garrett Gomez; Ron the Greek, Jose Lezcano; Caixa Eletronica, Javier Castellano and Isn't He Perfect, Kent Desormeaux.
The Classic has an approximate post-time of 10:30 p.m. (ET).