UPDATE: As of Friday, August 5th, both Mo Tom and Economic Model have been reportedly scratched. Reports suggest Economic Model will now be aimed at the 7 furlong King’s Bishop at Saratoga on August 27th.
A full field of 10 is set for Saturday’s running of the Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby. The 1 1/8-mile race at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack is part of a nine-race card comprised entirely of stakes. Post time for the first race will be 2 p.m. EDT.
Pace Scenario – Moderate
Speed: #1 Cupid, #2 No Distortion
Stalkers: #4 Pinson, #6 Name Changer, #8 Adventist,
#9 Economic Model, #10 Anaximandros
Closers: #5 Whateverybodywants, #7 Van Damme, #11 Forevamo, #12 Suddenbreakingnews
There are a tremendous amount of stalkers in this race which in the end could dictate how the pace scenario plays out. Notice that Cupid and No Distortion are the only two that show true speed in the race. If someone from the stalkers category jumps up and joins them it could be very swift. If they don’t then Cupid and No Distortion could get away with some soft fractions. If backing a closer I wouldn’t be totally scared, but make sure to have one of those two speed horses on your ticket as well depending on which one you like more.
#9 Economic Model
My original top pick in this race was Mo Tom, but with him being scratched I had to call an audible. There is a lot to like with Economic Model lately, and even though he finished second in the Dwyer Stakes last time out he still ran a solid race. His race two back in the Easy Goer was insanely good, and that type of race will win this one today. Hoping he sits just off the pace and pounces on the turn.
Other Likely Winners: #1 Cupid
If he can get an easy lead he will be very tough to beat. The key will be No Distortion…will he push Cupid or will the big gray colt by Tapit be out on his own? If he’s pressured I think the distance will be a little too much for him. Wouldn’t put him in a “make or break” situation on any of your tickets, but must include on your multi race wagers.
Exotic Plays: #12 Suddeningbreakingnews, #8 Adventist, and #11 Forevamo
No confidence in any of these to win, but can hit the board. Suddenbreakingnews was disappointing in the Belmont Stakes and has me questioning if he’ll always fall victim to his running style. Adventist is a classic grind it out type that always sticks around, and Forevamo may or may not like this distance. He has a hot rider and does have solid form coming into this one though.
Party Crashers: #2 No Distortion
Has really woke up the last couple of races, and if his price can stay around his morning line price he’s worth a small wager. The main reason for his turn around has been his ability to show early speed, but he will have company in this race with Cupid drawn right next to him. At least he’s drawn outside of him though which might give him a tactical advantage. Logical horse to upset.
Throw Outs: #4 Pinson, #5 Whateverybodywants, #6 Name Changer, #7 Van Damme, and #10 Anaximandros
Most of the throw outs are just simply out classed in this race. The one horse that could be mildly interesting out of this group is Name Changer who did win by eleven lengths last time out. That race was at Parx though in an allowance so this will be a big step up.
Cupid, winner of the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park and the Grade 2 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand Race Course – will be the West Virginia Derby morning line favorite.
The colt is trained by Bob Baffert, who won the 2010-11 editions of the West Virginia Derby with Concord Point and Prayer for Relief. Cupid will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, who was successful on the colt last time out in the before mentioned Indiana Derby.
Suddenbreakingnews, who won the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in February and finished second in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby in April, will be ridden in the West Virginia Derby by the Oklahoma-based jockey Luis S. Quinonez. Suddenbreakingnews is trained by Donnie K. Von Hemel.
Rounding out the race will be No Distortion, Pinson, Whateverybodywants, Name Changer, Van Damme, Adventist, Economic Model, Anaximandros, and Forevamo.