(By Nick Hahn)


 In a bit of a bitter twist, Virginia-bred Researcher is entered the tonight’s $1 million Charles Town Classic in hopes of repeating last April’s triumph.  However, because the field is limited to 10 starters with preference given to “North American, European and Asian graded or group stakes winners since April 16, 2009 in order, then to highest earners in North American, European and Asian graded or group stakes since April 16, 2009, then highest stakes earnings since April 16, 2009,” the defending champ only made it to the AE list.

I’m not only suggesting this only because he’s a Virginia bred, but shouldn’t the champ have a shot to defend his title?  It make make stakes races for older horses a little more familiar and therefore a little more interesting for newer fans of racing. There is an exemption in golf for past victors of The Masters.  Perhaps racing needs to take a closer look at this one.  In defense of the status quo, Researcher’s only start since winning the Classic was a 4th place finish in an Charles Town allowance in March.

Dance City (inside) wins an allowance at Gulfstream

Also today as posted earlier in the week, Dance City is a 15-1 shot in the 13-horse field of the $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby (G1). Bred by Edward P. Evans and owned by his estate, Dance City is the best shot for having a Virginia-bred in the Kentucky Derby starting gate on the first Saturday in May. Javier Castellano gets the mount for Todd Pletcher. Post time for the Arkansas Derby is scheduled for 6:58 pm.