A bold, front-running gambit reaped great dividends for Sleepy Eyes Todd and jockey Carlos Delgado on Friday night at Charles Town, as horse and rider left their pursuers far behind in the $600,000 Charles Town Classic (G2).
Sleepy Eyes Todd was a popular choice in the 1 1/8-mile race. Runner-up in the 2019 Oklahoma Derby (G3), Sleepy Eyes Todd received an impressive volume of wagering support in the Charles Town Classic, dropping from 10-1 on the morning line to 28-10 by the time betting closed.
The “smart money” was clearly correct as Sleepy Eyes Todd dominated his nine rivals in resounding fashion. An alert break saw the 4-year-old son of Paddy O’Prado sprint easily to the front through comfortable fractions of :24.64, :49.14, and 1:13.59. Multiplier and Mr. Money were in close pursuit on the outside, while longshot Mo Dont Know saved ground at the fence in fourth position.
Sleepy Eyes Todd maintained a cozy advantage around the first two turns, and on the final bend he began to extend his lead. Asked for his best run turning into the homestretch, Sleepy Eyes Todd responded with a fresh burst of acceleration, drawing clear steadily to score by 7 1/2 lengths in 1:50.82. His margin of victory obliterated the previous Charles Town Classic record of three lengths set by Caixa Eletronica in 2013.
Longshot Plus Que Parfait rallied from mid-pack to finish clearly second-best over defending Charles Town Classic winner Runnin’toluvya, who edged out Tenfold, Math Wizard, and Mo Dont No in a four-way battle for third place. Forewarned, War Story, Multiplier, and Mr. Money completed the order of finish.
Trained by Miguel Silva for Thumbs Up Racing, Sleepy Eyes Todd was bred in Kentucky by Two Hearts Farm and Kristen Goncharoff. Produced by the Wild Rush mare Pledge Mom, Sleepy Eyes Todd earned $336,000 for his first graded stakes triumph, which more than doubled his career earnings to $591,165. Considering he sold for just $9,000 as a weanling, it’s safe to say Sleepy Eyes Todd has exceeded all early expectations.
Sleepy Eyes Todd wasn’t the horse to parlay front-running tactics into a major victory at Charles Town on Friday. The previously unheralded 3-year-old filly Fly On Angel utilized an identical trip to secure a gutsy victory in the $200,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3) dashing 7 furlongs around two turns.
Ridden to victory by Fredy Peitroche, Fly On Angel was more aggressive in her pacesetting mission, opening a daylight advantage through testing splits of :22.81 and :46.25. Clear by three lengths at the eighth pole, Fly On Angel grew leg-weary down the homestretch, but nevertheless dug deep to turn back a bid from Frizette (G1) winner Wicked Whisper and prevail by half a length in 1:26.15.
Longshot Princess Cadey gained seven lengths in the final furlong to miss the runner-up spot by a nose, while Ankle Monitor, Tonalist’s Shape, Turtle Trax, Boerne, Lenzi’s Lucky, and Gifted Heart completed the order of finish. In a testament to the intensity of Fly On Angel’s front-running performance, her three closest pace pursuers weakened to trail the field.
Bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall & Haymarket Farm, Fly On Angel campaigns for owner Joseph E. Besecker and trainer Claudio Gonzalez A daughter of Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Palace Malice out of the Posse mare Runge, Fly On Angel sold for just $23,000 as a 2-year-old but has earned $225,160 to emerge as fast female sprinter with a bright future.