Graded stakes glory and a $750,000 purse are on the line in Saturday’s West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer. A full field of 12 will line up at the gate for Race 8 on the all-stakes program, with an estimated post time of 5:21 p.m. EST. This race offers extra points in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game, be sure to get involved.
#1 CUPID is the 3-1 morning-line favorite on the strength of his impressive win in the Indiana Derby last month. He was able to go to the front from post 11 and establish command up the backstretch before winning the race under confident handling by Rafael Bejarano, who will once again have the call aboard the Bob Baffert trainee. CUPID should have no problem getting the rail and the lead from post 1 on Saturday, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of early speed types to challenge him (perhaps only #2 NO DISTORTION will give CUPID a hard time). The West Virginia Derby is his to lose.
#9 ECONOMIC MODEL, the second-choice on the morning-line at 4-1, is a logical candidate to round out the exacta. ECONOMIC MODEL beat CUPID in the Easy Goer Stakes two starts back, but CUPID clearly wasn’t at his best that day as he tired late and finished last. ECONOMIC MODEL’s last start came in the Dwyer Stakes, in which he finished second while saving ground nearly the whole way, but his rail trip was not ideal that day. The inside lanes of the dirt course at Belmont Park were considerably slower upon examination of the replays and charts, so ECONOMIC MODEL’s inability to win last time can be forgiven. If he runs back to his Easy Goer performance under new rider Kendrick Carmouche he should be able to land a major share of the purse.
#12 SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS (9-2) reunites with Luis Quinonez, who was aboard for his score in the Southwest Stakes and runner-up finish in the Arkansas Derby; he fired a bullet work at Churchill for this as he cuts back from the 1.5 mile distance of the Belmont Stakes.
The play: $10 exacta 1/9, $5 exacta 1/12 ($15)
DFJ analysis: Robby Albarado ($8,000) rides four horses below 5-1, including two favorites, on this stakes-laden Saturday at Mountaineer. If you’re struggling to round out your stable with a good low-cost option, look no further than Albarado.
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