The $750,000 Grade II West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park is limited to twelve entries and the upcoming race was oversubscribed. The field this year offers spectators and bettors alike a very competitive group of horses, ranging from the morning-line favorite Cupid—owned by the famous Ireland-based Coolmore Stud and partners and trained by Bob Baffert–to the stretch-running Mo Tom. These colts are the 2016 winners of the Indiana Derby and the Ohio Derby, respectively.
The race should be interesting to watch and handicap. It is run on dirt over 1 1/8 miles and is scheduled to go off at 5:21 PM eastern time on Saturday, August 6. In fact, the entire card is a bettor’s delight with six $100,000 races, one $200,000 race, plus the West Virginia Derby.
The colts entered in the West Virginia Derby are, from the rail out: Cupid, No Distortion, Mo Tom, Pinson, Whateverybodywants, Name Changer, Van Damme, Adventist, Economic Model, Anaximandros, Forevamo, and Suddenbreakingnews.
It will be intriguing to see if Mo Tom can avoid getting blocked in traffic as has been his bad luck, including in the Kentucky Derby and two other races, and be running hard and clear in the stretch. Under Javier Castellano, the colt easily won the $500,000 Ohio Derby in June, but his rider Saturday is Joe Bravo.
West Virginia Derby Day is quite an experience. Mountaineer Park is located near the tiny Appalachian town of Chester on a curvy two-lane road. The modern hotel and casino on the property will be overflowing with people Saturday and so will the old racetrack on the backside of the property, situated on the eastern bank of the Ohio River opposite the state of Ohio.
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