Keeneland November Grad Sleepy Eyes Todd Dominates

When the entries were drawn for the $600,000 Charles Town Classic Stakes (G2) at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, only one horse in the field was without a rider.

Thumbs Up Racing’s Sleepy Eyes Todd rewarded the faith of Carlos Delgado, who jumped aboard for the 11th-hour assignment, with a front-running victory Aug. 28 in the 1 1/8-mile test. The 4-year-old Paddy O’Prado colt came ready to rumble, leading nine rivals through fractions of :24.64, :49.14, 1:13.59, and 1:38.13 before galloping clear to a 7 1/2-length score.

Bred in Kentucky by Two Hearts Farm and Kristen Goncharoff, Sleepy Eyes Todd was a $9,000 weanling purchase by Jonathan Wong from Legacy Bloodstock’s consignment to the 2016 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. He is the ninth foal and first graded winner out of the Wild Rush mare Pledge Mom, a useful producer who is also the dam of black-type winner Wildeydsouthernboy. From her nine starters, eight have been winners.

“It’s so exciting for me. I’m really so excited, I can’t just explain,” Delgado said. “I didn’t even know how far in front I was at the wire, I was so excited.”

The final time was 1:50.82 on a fast track. Sent off as the slight second choice at odds of 5-2, Sleepy Eyes Todd returned $7.60 on a $2 win ticket.

2019 UAE Derby (G2) winner Plus Que Parfait was second at odds of 25-1, and defending Charles Town Classic winner Runnin’toluvya was three lengths back in third.

Sleepy Eyes Todd came into the Charles Town Classic off a runner-up finish, a head behind the winner, in the June 28 Lone Star Mile Stakes. One start earlier for trainer Miguel Angel Silva, he won the April 29 Bosselman Pump and Pantry/Gus Fonner Stakes at Fonner Park by 6 1/2 lengths. He stepped into grade 2 company for the first time Friday and improved his record to six wins and two seconds from 12 starts, with earnings of $591,165.

“This is the biggest win of my career and hopefully the first of many,” Silva said. “This is the nicest horse I’ve ever had, and there are no words. We always were really high on him, we’ve run in some big races, and we’re so proud of him. He actually threw a front right shoe tonight and won like that.”

“What a great racetrack,” added David Cobb of Thumbs Up Racing. “Everybody is so nice in West Virginia. We really appreciate it. From the hotel workers to the staff here, they made us feel very comfortable.”

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