Mountaineer Park Picks for August 7: West Virginia Derby a tough race to handicap

Florent Geroux gets the ride on Warrant in the Grade III West Virginia Derby
Florent Geroux gets the ride on Warrant in the Grade III West Virginia Derby

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After a fallow year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the $500,000 West Virginia Derby returns this Saturday as Race 8 on the card at Mountaineer Park.

Neil Monnery has his thoughts on the race along with Free Selections of the full card…

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I don’t think there is much doubt that three horses have the pedigree and recent history to have pulled themselves clear in the betting. That is reflected by the Morning Line odds where they range from 9-5 to 3-1.

Top of the M/L odds is Bret Colhoun’s Mr. Wireless (#4) who comes into the race off the back of winning the Grade III Indiana Derby over at Indiana Grand. Regular rider Ramon Vazquez gets the ride and recent training drills at Colonial Downs have impressed his trainer. He has confidence that the favorite can win and remember - last time this race was held - it was the Bret Colhoun trained Mr. Money who won - as a 9-5 favorite on the Morning Line.

Brad Cox sends out two but his best chance will be with Warrant (#5) who has a win over Mr. Wireless on his resume - having bested him in the Texas Derby back in May. Having not been seen in competition since, there is some concern as to how the Constitution colt is doing. Cox is a mighty fine trainer so no doubt he will have this three-year-old ready.

Wood Memorial winner Bourbonic (#1) has drawn the inside post and has been freshened up after finishing fifth in the Grade I Belmont Stakes back in June. That 72-1 victory in the Wood Memorial slingshot the Todd Pletcher trained son of Bernardini into the mix for the Triple Crown races but this feels more like his level. He’s a step behind the top three-year-olds in the country.

Betting wise this is a horrible race for single tickets as all three could feasibly win and you wouldn’t be shocked. I suspect the other four horses will drift significantly in the pool, leaving very little value for the top three. I’d play all of them on multi-race tickets but if I have to make a selection, I’d just about agree with the linemaker at Mountaineer and go with Mr. Wireless but I do so very tepidly.

Main: 1, 4, 5

Backup: None

Order of Preference: 4-5-1-2

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