Piassek's Plays: Heading Down Country Roads to Charles Town

Horses turn for home at Charles Town. (Coady Photography)

In his regular gambling blog, John Piassek presents his top picks for the upcoming weekend in horse racing, offering betting options at different budget levels. Piassek’s Plays is brought to you by Horseplayers.com, the official online qualifying site of the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). Horseplayers.com offers low-cost feeders every day and BCBC and NHC qualifiers every weekend, and it’s the only site where you can qualify for the $1 million BCBC. It’s free to sign up – click here to get information about registering and how to enter contests.

Piassek has contributed to the horse racing sites The Racing Biz and Danonymous Racing and worked at Tioga Downs, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga Race Course. He joined America’s Best Racing in January 2021.

Saturday, Oct. 9

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Race 6, West Virginia Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Onion Juice Breeders' Classic Stakes,  9:32 p.m. ET

weekend TV schedule

Friday, Oct. 8: 12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; 5 p.m.-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Oct. 9: 12:30 p.m.-4 p.m. on FS2; 5 p.m.-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Oct. 10: 12:30 p.m.-1 p.m. on FS2; 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. on FS1; 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS2; 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

#4 Boaster: This race is one of nine stakes races for West Virginia-breds on the Saturday night card at Charles Town. The morning-line favorite at 9-5 is #10 Penguin Power for the powerhouse trainer-jockey combination of Jeff Runco and Arnaldo Bocachica. He won this race by 14 lengths last year, his 13th win at Charles Town. Since that race, he has not recaptured his best form, finishing no better than third in his four starts since. He made his first start in almost four months last out and stopped after setting the pace. Despite his declining form, he's very likely go off at low odds, which means the odds on everyone else will be inflated. He has a less-than-ideal draw for a speed horse, with the extreme outside post position. He's going to have to work hard to get to the lead, and with the tight turns on the six-furlong Charles Town main track, he's going to have a hard time if he gets hung wide.

I'll take a shot with his stablemate. Boaster has won two of his last three starts on this track, taking allowance races with sharp closing rallies each time. His most recent race was a career-best performance. He showed more early speed than usual. He sat right off the early leader then drew off in the stretch to win. His Equibase Speed Figure of 95 matched his career-best. In contrast to his stablemate, he's in peak form at the right time, and should go off at a great price relative to his chances.


$5 to win on 4

$5 exacta: 4 with 7


$9 to win on 4

$8 exacta: 4 with 7, 9 ($16 total)


$20 to win on 4

$10 exacta: 4 with 7, 9 ($20 total)

$5 exacta: 7, 9 with 4 ($10 total)

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Race 9, West Virginia Roger Ramey Breeders' Classic Distaff Stakes Presented by Beau Ridge Farm, post time 11:02 p.m.

#5 Stowe Angel: The final stakes on the card spotlights West Virginia-bred fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles. Runco and Bocachica will team up once again in this race, and this time, I'll take them on top. Stowe Angel has been in good form all year. Although she's won just once from six starts, she's hit the board in five of six. She has good tactical speed and tends to make strong closing rallies. Most of her prior races were at 6 1/2 furlongs and seven furlongs, but based on her running style I can't imagine her having much trouble with today's longer distance. She didn't run well in her last start, the Sadie Hawkins Stakes, which inspires a bit of concern. However, she's had a good workout since then, gets Bocachica back in the saddle, and is unlikely to get hung as wide as she did last time. 


$8 to win on 5

$2 exacta: 5 with 10


$15 to win on 5

$7 exacta: 5 with 10

$3 exacta: 10 with 5


$30 to win on 5

$15 exacta: 5 with 10

$5 exacta: 10 with 5

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