2022 West Virginia Derby Contenders at Mountaineer Park
HOME BREW IN TOP FORM FOR WEST VIRGINIA DERBY
The aptly named Home Brew, owned and bred by Gary and Mary West, is making up for lost time, and his recent efforts have established him as one of the favorites for the $500,000 Grade III West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park on Saturday, August 6.
The 3-year-old colt by Street Sense was on the Triple Crown trail at the beginning of this year but ended up on the shelf for several months in Arkansas, where he was stabled this past winter and spring.
The Brad Cox trainee returned to the races in late April to win the Oaklawn Stakes at the West Virginia Derby distance of 1 1/8 miles and followed up with a strong score in the Pegasus Stakes June 18 at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
2022 West Virginia Derby Field & Odds
Race 8 at Mountaineer Park on Saturday, August 6 - Post 5:35 PM
|1||Jr's Gift||30-1||Thiago Canuto
|3||Home Brew||3-1||Paco Lopez
|4||King Ottoman||6-1||Brian Hernandez, Jr.
|6||We the People||2-1||Ricardo Santana, Jr.
|Saffie Joseph, Jr.|
The Pegasus is the local prep for the Grade I Haskell Stakes, which was raced July 23. Cox, a two-time Eclipse Award winner as top trainer, opted not to enter Home Brew in the Grade I event, which he ended up winning with Cyberknife. Home Brew was reserved for the West Virginia Derby.
With four wins and a second in six starts, Home Brew is the 3-1 third choice in the morning-line odds-a testament to the depth of this year'sDerby field. The 2-1 favorite is We the People, followed by Simplification(5-2), Home Brew, Skippylongstocking (5-1), King Ottoman (6-1), Courvoisier (15-1) and Jr's Gift (30-1).
Home Brew broke his maiden in his first start as a 2-year-old at LaurelPark in Maryland last year with a solid off-the-pace run. One of his victories at Oaklawn Park came on the front-end, but in his last two outings he rated in fourth just off the pace and took over turning for home. His versatility should prove an asset in the West Virginia Derby.
Cox is in search of his first West Virginia Derby victory. In the 2021 edition he trained Warrant to a second-place finish behind Mr. Wireless, and he has won multiple stakes on the Derby program over the years. Cox has horses entered in four other stakes on the Aug. 6 program atMountaineer including multiple graded-stakes winner Fulsome in the$200,000 Grade III West Virginia Governor's Stakes, which Cox won in 2018 and 2014.
Mountaineer is offering ticket options for the West Virginia Derby program. First post time Saturday will be 2 p.m.
ASMUSSEN SEEKS ANOTHER WV DERBY VICTORY
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen is no stranger to the West Virginia Derby, which will be run Aug. 6 at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort. In fact, he holds the record for number of wins by a trainer in the $500,000 Grade III event at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds.
Asmussen first won the Mountaineer fixture in 2005 with Real Dandy, who was followed by Zanjero (2007), Soul Warrior (2009), Macho Macho (2012) and Tapiture (2014). The previous record for West Virginia Derby victories was held by trainer Patsy Santo, who won the race four times consecutively from 1963-66 when Mountaineer was known as Waterford Park.
This year, Asmussen will be represented by Three Chimneys Farm's King Ottoman, a homebred colt by Curlin who won the Texas Derby in late May at Lone Star Park. He is a product of the Asmussen Horse Center in Texas which is operated by the trainer's parents, Keith and Marilyn Asmussen.
King Ottoman in five starts has never raced shorter than one mile. After a third-place finish in a $120,000 maiden race at Churchill Downs in early May, the colt was entered in the $300,000 Texas Derby at Lone Star Park May 30. Off at 10-1 odds, the maiden won the 1 1/16-mile race by a head, which justified Asmussen's faith in the homebred.
"He's obviously a very talented horse with a great pedigree," Asmussen said after the Texas Derby and before the colt finished third in the Grade III Indiana Derby July 9. "It was great to see him put it all together in a race that means so much to me. He handles himself extremely well and has a good level of ability. We expect him to finish off his 3-year-old year impressively and expect him to be better as an older horse."
The Texas Derby was a key race in 2021 as it produced the one-two finishers in the West Virginia Derby. Mr. Wireless finished second in the race and then won the Indiana Derby before capturing the West Virginia Derby. Warrant won the Texas Derby by three-quarters of a length and then finished second, 1 ¼ lengths behind Mr. Wireless at Mountaineer.
Asmussen also has won his share of undercard stakes on the West Virginia Derby program. This year he has Macron in the $75,000 Senator Robert Byrd Memorial Stakes and Silver Prospector in the $200,000 Grade III West Virginia Governor's Stakes.
Asmussen was not represented on West Virginia Derby day in 2021. That same afternoon at Saratoga Race Course in New York, Asmussen won the 9,446th race of his career to pass the previous North American record of 9,445 that had been held by the late Mountaineer-based trainer Dale Baird.
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