Let's analyze the field for the Grade 3 West Virginia Derby that takes place this Saturday August 7th, 2021.
It's the biggest day of racing at Mountaineer every year. The West Virginia Derby will be the eighth race of Mountaineer's nine-race program. Special Post Time is 2 p.m. Eastern.
Who else better to get opinions from than Mountaineer's Assistant Racing Secretary and Simulcast Host, Mark Patterson. Let's go horse by horse and see if Mark and I can help find you a winner.
#1 Bourbonic 3/1
Jockey: Eric Cancel
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Mark Patterson: Most West Virginia (WV) Derby winners possess tactical speed and have avoided the rigors of Triple Crown competition. As a deep closer who competed in both the KY Derby and Belmont Stakes, BOURBONIC might be over-bet, based on G2 win and vaunted trainer. Pletcher has won our race before, and sends out the only entrant to have scored at the distance. This horse's brief turn in the spotlight, however, came when winning a slow edition of the Wood Memorial that played in favor of kickers.
Shawn: You won't get any value here for a horse that will be up against it, pace wise. Will get played because of being in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont. Just closes from too far back, would only use in a trifecta or superfecta.
#2 Kinetic Sky 6/1:
Jockey: Joe Talamo
Trainer: Brad Cox
Mark Patterson: Required four attempts to notch the entry-level allowance condition. Pace-stalkers' speed numbers don't quite qualify him as a legitimate win candidate. Needs break-out effort, but it seems more likely that the lesser of Cox duo was entered in hopes the race came up soft.
Shawn: Brad Cox got two entered and usually the angle is to take the higher priced horse which is what this horse will be. Should be close to the pace and have a chance. Will step up in class and Joe Talamo is struggling this year.
#3 Bourbon Thunder 8/1
Jockey: Deshawn Parker
Trainer: Ian Wilkes
Mark Patterson: Conditioner shows weak record in graded-stakes category, while charge has yet to garner even an allowance win. Latest beyer moved sharply in the right direction, which advances this one to the fringes. Rider tees up return-of prodigal angle having once ruled the roost here, knows every inch of Mountaineer and has led the nation in wins.
Shawn: There would only be one reason I would play this horse to win and that's Deshawn Parker's return to Mountaineer. I couldn't do it however, as I don't think this horse fits here class wise.
#4 Mr. Wireless 9/5
Jockey: Ramon Vasquez
Trainer: W. Bret Calhoun
Mark Patterson: Solid profile match with Calhoun-conditioned Mr. Money, who likewise sported aggressive style and used emphatic Indy Derby win as springboard to roll 2019 edition of this race. Short comment in form spot on as "Wireless" did indeed bobble at outset, not to mention hustling 3-wide into first turn. A :24 1/5 segment from pace-call to mile-marker stamps ML favorite as more than formidable with splits here projecting modest. Appears to have moved forward since the Cox runner decisioned him in Lone Star country two back.
Shawn: ML favorite who is going to be ultra tough here. The horse has traveled well and the jockey Ramon Vasquez does as well. This horse should be right off the pace and has a good closing kick.
#5 Warrant 5/2
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Trainer: Brad Cox
Mark Patterson: Trainer filthy rich in three-year-old talent sends hard-knocking second-teamer in pursuit of initial graded score. Has finished first or second in each outing since debut. Normally plays from easy striking-distance, but charged from back-half to take Texas Derby. That strategy may have helped because the loose leader hit the wall for home and the final segment of that 300k affair was not at all fast. Trainer on record that this one needed the five-week interim leading up to this. Quick move at Elp two-weeks out might allay attendant concerns?
Shawn: Did beat Mr. Wireless last time out but that was on a sloppy track at Lone Star. This combo of Geroux/Cox wins a lot together but they also travel, get bet down heavily and finish out of the money a lot as well. I don't like that this is Florent's first time aboard.
#6 Channel Fury 10/1
Jockey: Malcolm Franklin
Trainer: James Jackson
Mark Patterson: Would not hasten to dismiss apparent longshot as mere minor track timber. Met Waterloo in the neighboring derby after cruising through conditions. On closer inspection, that 88 Beyer speed figure earned despite first-turn trouble, could signal that this quick sprinter has stakes potential and distance aptitude to pull off an upset. Beaten chalk in latest, but stakes-placed winner of that brought veteran grit and 15 scores to table. Only pure front-runner in the field.
Shawn: Looks overmatched and up against it, however the one wild card would be his speed. If he can get clear, who knows? I don't think he does, but at least he has a path to the winner's circle.
#7 Americainaed 50/1
Jockey: Joe Musarro
Trainer: Darrell Thompson
Mark Patterson: Only positive is that the local maiden is drawn outside, which lessens chances of habitual trailer hindering legit entrants at break.
Shawn: This horse shouldn't be in this race but is. I would bet on this horse finishing last if I could.
I'm going to go with #4 Mr. Wireless on top as I think he is the class and will get a nice trip behind one or two horses.
Then I'll go with #2 Kinetic Sky and #3 Bourbon Thunder underneath as I think both have potential at a price and should get a nice trip. #3 is intriguing with Deshawn Parker returning to town and who knows Mountaineer better than him? #1 Bourbonic will close to get into the superfecta. My picks are 4-2-3-1.
To see Mark's picks tune into the Mountaineer live feed and he will break down the race and give his predictions before the race. We thank Mark for his time and thoughts on Saturday's Grade 3 West Virginia Derby. There will be a lot of big names in town so tune in to the track feed or go to the races for the day.