2011 West Virginia Derby Field Set

West Virginia Derby Press Release By Bill Mooney
Updated: August 4, 2011 -- 6:00 PM ET

Las Vegas, NV -- Post positions have been drawn for the 42nd running of the Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby. The 1 1/8-mile race for three-year-olds highlights a nine-race card (comprised entirely of open company stakes) to be run this Saturday, August 6, at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort.

The ten horse field includes Dreamy Kid, a photo-finish winner of the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 9; and Prayer for Relief, a two-length winner of the Grade 3 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows on June 25.

Among the horses Dreamy Kid defeated in the Swaps was Coil, who in turn beat Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford and Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice in last Sunday's Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park. Dreamy Kid is trained by Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale and will be ridden by Joesph Talamo, who was also aboard in the Swaps.

Bet on the West Virginia Derby, Grade 2 Stakes Race from Mountaineer Casino Racetrack at Off Track Betting OTB

Prayer for Relief is trained by another Hall of Famer, Bob Baffert, who's trying for his second consecutive West Virginia Derby victory. Concord Point registered a front- running, one-length score in the 2010 edition of the race. Prayer for Relief will be piloted by Rafael Bejarano, who also has a prior West Virginia Derby win on his resume, aboard Sir Shackleton in 2005.

Sherriff Cogburn, who finished second in the Iowa Derby, has also drawn in; as has Infrattini, who finished second in the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 18. Sherriff Cogburn will be ridden by the Prairie Meadows-based jockey Perry Compton. Three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin H. Borel will be aboard Infrattini.

Little Drama, a half-brother to the 2009 West Virginia Derby runner-up (and 2010 North American male sprint champion) Big Drama, will be ridden in the West Virginia Derby by Philadelphia-based Kendrick Carmouche.

Trained by David Fawkes, Little Drama has twice placed in graded company this year, and most recently finished third in the $153,000 Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth. Little Drama also won last year's Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes at Calder Race Course and this year's Philmont Stakes at Parx Racing (formerly known as Philadelphia Park).

Trainer Steve Asmussen has sent horses postward in five of the last six renewals of the West Virginia Derby, and has thrice won the race - with Real Dandy in 2005, Zanjero in 2007 and Soul Warrior (who upset Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird) in 2009. Asmussen's stable will be represented in this year's West Virginia Derby by Awesome Bet, who won the $100,000 Barbaro Stakes at Delaware Park on July 9. Alan Garcia, considered one of the ascending stars in the sport, will ride Awesome Bet.

The West Virginia Derby field further includes Loranger Native, the winner of the $100,000 Blue and Gold Stakes at Charles Town on April 16, trained by Michael Stidham. James Graham, who finished unplaced aboard co-favored Recapturetheglory in the 2008 West Virginia Derby, has the mount.

Rush Now will also go postward. He was a wire-to-wire, 4 1/4-length winner of the Spend a Buck Stakes at Monmouth May 22. Trainer Anthony Dutrow has named Cornelio Velasquez, a two-time winner of Breeders' Cup events, to ride him.

DeShawn Parker, who led all North American jockeys in victories last year, leads the standings again this year and is Mountaineer's all-time leading rider, had been named aboard his first West Virginia Derby mount. He will be on Fred High, who is trained by Tim Tullock, Jr., and has placed in a quartet of allowance races this year.

Completing the field is Skipping the Score, who broke his maiden (in his 11th try) at Indiana Downs on July 12. Skipping the Score is trained by Troy Rankin, and Victor Lebron, who has won multiple riding titles at Kentucky tracks, will be the jockey.

Purses for the whole of the West Virginia Derby card will total $1.47 million. The first post will be 2 p.m. EDT, and the West Virginia Derby will be run as the eighth race, with an approximate post of 5:35 p.m. EDT. Admission and general parking will be free. The race will not be network telecast, but can be seen and wagered on at simulcast sites throughout the U.S.

Here is the full field for Saturday's West Virginia Derby:






Prayer for Relief

Rafael Bejarano

Bob Baffert



Calvin H. Borel

Paul J. McGee


Little Drama

Kendrick Carmouche

David Fawkes


Awesome Bet

Alan Garcia

Steven M. Asmussen


Rush Now

Cornelio H. Velasquez

Anthony W. Dutrow


Sherriff Cogburn

Perry Compton

Don Von Hemel


Skipping the Score

Victor Lebron

Troy Rankin


Dreamy Kid

Joseph Talamo

Neil D. Drysdale


Loranger Native

James Graham

Michael Stidham


Fred High

DeShawn Parker

Timothy J. Tullock, Jr

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