Charles Town, WV (SportsNetwork.com) - Longshot Imperative caught and passed defending winner Game On Dude to pull the upset in winning Saturday night's $1.5 million Charles Town Classic.
Game On Dude was sent off as the 3-5 favorite in the seven-horse field and Imperative, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, was 26-1 and started from the outside post in the three-turn, 1 1/8-mile race. This was the third meeting between the two geldings.
Game On Dude, with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith riding, dueled with Moreno in the early going and then took over the lead entering the backstretch. The favorite continued on the lead with Imperative sitting third on the outside as the field went around the final turn.
Imperative advanced into second behind Game On Dude coming off the turn and drew away from the 7-year-old down the stretch. Imperative, trained by George Papaprodromou, went on to post a 1 1/2-length victory over Game On Dude.
Moreno held on for third followed by Clubhouse Ride, Long River, Ruler of Love and Lucy's Bob Boy.
The time for the Classic was 1:50.56 on a fast track.
Owned by KM Racing Enterprise Inc., Imperative won his first stakes and pocketed $1 million. The 4-year-old has banked $1,134,620 with three wins in 15 career starts.
Imperative and Game On Dude were both in this year's San Antonio Stakes and Santa Anita Handicap. Imperative, at 26-1, was second to Blingo in the San Antonio when Game On Dude finished fifth as the 3-10 favorite, but Game On Dude handily won the Big 'Cap at 7-2 with Imperative finishing seventh as a 35-1 longshot.
Imperative returned $55.00, $7.40 and $3.60. Game On Dude paid $2.40 and $2.20, and Moreno paid $4.20 to show.