31 July 2007

On the West Virginia Derby Trail

From last year's experience, I know it's silly to speculate on just who of the 70 nominees for the WV Derby will actually go the post, as someone always chooses to go to the Haskell instead. Still, I've been piecing together a list of the likely runners for the benefit of the King*, and here's what we know so far:


  • Bwana Bull - Jockey will be Dana Whitney, winner of the 2001 WV Derby. Shipped in from California on Sunday and has already jogged on the track.
  • Chelokee - Considered definite as recently as 7/26.
  • Delightful Kiss - Slated to arrive in West Virginia on Thursday.
  • Moyer's Pond - Jockey will be Mark Guidry, who's won the last 2 WV Derbies.
  • Slew's Tizzy - Is considered definite.
  • Song of Navarone - Shipped in on Sunday.
  • Try to Fly - Was slated to ship in to Mountaineer on Sunday.
  • Brownie Points (DRF, 7/10)
  • Nobiz like Shobiz (DRF, 7/19)
  • Xchanger - Last year, Flashy Bull was the gray who was pointed to either the Haskell or the WV Derby. This year, it's Xchanger. Looks to me like he'll go to the Haskell (DRF, 7/25).
  • Zanjero (Review, 7/26)
  • Most of the rest of the 70 nominations (PPs, pdf format)
I've gathered much of this list from articles by Bill Mooney, who writes for the Wheeling Intelligencer and the East Liverpool Review -- and is seemingly the only journalist on earth interested in the race. Of course, he's probably the only journalist in the area, what with all of the racing media off covering Saratoga, Del Mar, and that $1 million dollar race somewhere in New Jersey. I've enjoyed reading Mooney's pre-Derby coverage for two years now, and I really appreciate his entertaining features that provide well-written summaries sprinkled with interesting background facts that humanize the entrants without being sentimental. (Not surprising, perhaps, as he won an Eclipse for his magazine writing in 1985.)

Mooney can also be pretty insightful, as when he notes in the East Liverpool Review article cited above that the WV Derby might be a perfect fit for Zanjero's "late foot." Or as in his most recent feature, where he notes:
"The North American Graded Stakes Committee designated the West Virginia Derby a Grade 3 stakes in 2002, and it has retained that status ever since. According to the committee’s own point system, the West Virginia Derby now ranks higher than the Ohio Derby at Thistledown, the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park and the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, all of which retain a Grade 2 ranking. Logic would seem to dictate that the West Virginia Derby also should be accorded a Grade 2 ranking following this year’s running, which is luring the best field in the race’s history. "(Wheeling Intelligencer, July 31)

A Grade 2 at Mountaineer?!! I agree with Mooney, that it seems logical, but I think it's highly unlikely. Still, a girl can dream, can't she?

* The King would like me to make mention of the fact that with his $284 trifecta in Saturday's 8th at Mountaineer, he is now at the top of the Quinella leader board by more than $200 -- and is truly King of the Castle.


Anonymous said...

Hi QQ,

I didn't realize that Mooney wrote for the E. Liverpool paper too. Have been reading him in the Wheeling paper.

A friend of mine who gets both the P-G and the Tribune Review daily (not to mention USA Today and anything else she finds with racing news) says The Whg. paper has much better racing coverage, at least in regard to Mountaineer.

Do you know what time they enter today?


Tote Board Brad said...

I had no idea jerry sent Bwana Bull east. I didn't see it reported anywhere out here, but great to get word from you. b'danks.

Anonymous said...

Just read on the drf website that Chelokee will not be running on Sat. Bummer! Matz says he hasn't worked well in his last two works since he won the Northern Dancer Stakes at Churchill on 6/16.

Anonymous said...

How disappointing that there will only be a 10 horse field and about half of them are not even the "B" team.

QQ said...

Yes, it is a bummer that Chelokee isn't coming, but hey, we get Dominican, winner of the Blue Grass! OK, it was an odd Blue Grass, but still -- he beat Street Sense. How many can say that.

Yeah, I 'm trying to look on the bright side, though with horses like Dr. Googles Boogles entered in the same race, it's a bit hard.