Owner Ellen Charles Enjoying Ride with Post Time

Met Mile (G1) Contender Honoring Family Legacy

BALTIMORE – Of all the things that go into buying racehorses, sometimes it just comes down to intuition. Or luck. Sometimes both.

Such is the case with Hillwood Stable’s Post Time, a Maryland-bred son of Frosted that Saturday at Saratoga Race Course will attempt to follow his sire’s lead and win one of horse racing’s most prestigious events, the $1 million Metropolitan Handicap (G1), more commonly known as the Met Mile.

It wouldn’t be the first graded-stakes win for octogenarian owner Ellen Charles, but it would be her first Grade 1. She also campaigned Grade 3 winners Bandbox and Cordmaker, her first millionaire, and Maryland turf champion Phlash Phelps and bred filly Hello Beautiful, another state champion that is one of just seven horses in 38 years to win three Maryland Million races.

“I’m proud of all my horses, but I’ve never quite had one do what he does,” Charles said. “It’s been a dream come true.”

Already Post Time has banked $617,910 in purse earnings having run third or better in all 10 of his starts, eight of them wins, including this year’s General George (G3) at Laurel Park – where his trainer, Brittany Russell, is based – and the Carter (G2) at Aqueduct.

And, no matter where he goes, Post Time brings a cool story. Charles is the granddaughter of Marjorie Merriweather Post, one of the most influential business leaders in the 20th century that transformed her father C.W. Post’s Postum Cereal Co. into General Foods. Charles’ stable name is also a tribute to her grandmother, whose Long Island estate was called Hillwood.

“His granddam’s name was Merriweather and that was my grandmother’s middle name. I had wanted to buy one of them for years,” Charles said of Post Time. “Rodney [Jenkins], he was training for me and when we would buy horses he’d say, ‘Let’s keep going. We’ll look at those later,’ and we never did. But this one I did on my own. I got very lucky, but I’ve had lots of help.”

Post Time was purchased by Cary Frommer for $85,000 during Fasig-Tipton’s 2021 Midlantic Eastern Fall Yearling sale at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. The original intention was to resell the colt bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Dr. Brooke Bowman and Milton Higgins III, until Charles dug deeper into the breeding.

“Cary and I were going to do some pinhooking, and one of the first ones I looked at was Post Time. And, after I looked at him, I said, ‘I’m sorry. I’m keeping him,’” Charles said. “Every few weeks she’d call me up and say, ‘Did you change your mind yet?’ And the answer was always the same: ‘No.’”

Ironically, Charles’ original choice for a name was turned down by The Jockey Club despite the family connection.

“I wanted to name him Postum, which was the cereal that dates back to my great-grandfather,” Charles said, “but they wouldn’t let me have it because they said it was trademarked.”

Post Time won each of his first three of his starts capped by the 2022 Maryland Juvenile in his stakes debut at Laurel, and was named Maryland’s champion 2-year-old male. A setback pushed his 3-year-old debut to late September 2023, romping by 4 ½ lengths at historic Pimlico Race Course, before losing for the first time in the Perryville at Keeneland.

Back home at Laurel, Post Time kicked off a four-stakes win streak in the November 2023 City of Laurel and captured the Jennings against fellow Maryland-bred/sired horses, General George and Carter over the winter and spring before finishing second by less than a length as the favorite in the one-mile Westchester (G3) May 3 at Aqueduct.

“A lot went into the last race. Maybe I was a little too confident. I’ll definitely try and get him going a little bit sooner,” regular rider Sheldon Russell said. “These better horses, they don’t really slow down. They just keep running. I’ll be sure on my end to get him revved up turning for home and hopefully if he has that grinding run, we can wear them down.”

Russell is the champion jockey and husband of trainer Brittany Russell, who is attempting to become the first woman to win the Met Mile since it was inaugurated in 1891. Sheldon Russell’s mother is watching their two children while Maryland’s first couple of racing and Charles enjoy a few days in Saratoga. The Met Mile for 3-year-olds and up comes on the undercard of the Belmont Stakes (G1), both being run at the Spa for the first time.

“Saratoga, the prestigious racetrack, on Belmont Day. Apart from having one ride in the Kentucky Derby [G1], this will be the second-biggest race of my career,” said Russell, who finished 14th on Done Talking in the 2012 Derby. “And, to have a live horse, especially, it’s very exciting. I can’t wait.”

Post Time is third choice on the morning line at odds of 7-2 for the Met Mile behind millionaires White Abarrio (6-5), the 2023 Whitney (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner and Horse of the Year finalist, and 2023 Preakness (G1) and Jan. 27 Pegasus World Cup (G1) winner National Treasure.

“Obviously the two other horses have stamped that they’re very good and they’ve traveled around and been at this level every race,” Russell said. “We’ll be following them. I can’t really do anything different. His style will always be the same. You can’t put him in the race early; he sort of has to take his time.”

Post Time has done the majority of his preparation under assistant trainer Emma Wolfe at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. Wolfe has been with Post Time since he arrived in Saratoga, joined by the Russells and Charles Thursday. For all the connections it has been, and continues to be, a great ride.

“You always sort of dream of finding that one horse that can take you to the big races. He’s definitely a special horse to us. Ellen Charles is obviously very special to us. She’s trusted Brittany with the training and she’s trusted me with the riding. He’s sort of taken us to the big races and hasn’t run a bad one,” Sheldon Russell said. “We’re very lucky that we’re here and [one day] away from a huge, huge race. We couldn’t be happier. He’s trained really well. Emma’s done a great job training and galloping and working him. We’re just hoping he shows up on Saturday.”


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