Saturday, Aug. 1, Mountaineer Park
The Low-Down: For the first time ever a Kentucky Derby winner will race in West Virginia. On Saturday, MINE THAT BIRD will face a small field of six in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby. The Birdstone colt arrived to the Chester, W.Va., oval last Saturday morning and had a workout on Monday. All systems are go!
Our Eyes: I'm here at Mountaineer on a working assignment and was at the track early Thursday morning to observe the training of Mine That Bird. The little gelding took to the track around 7 a.m. and looked very good in the flesh. He's never been all that much of a looker, but he's very athletic and just skips over the ground. The connections have made a very shrewd management move by choosing this race, because there's not much to beat, other than maybe BIG DRAMA. The Kentucky Derby winner couldn't have landed a softer spot for a Grade 2, $750,000 race. The only question will be if there is enough pace to set up for MINE THAT BIRD's late run.
The Bottom Line: Because of the lack of pace, I think BIG DRAMA has the edge and will win this race. The only other speed is SOUL WARRIOR, who pressed the pace in the Iowa Derby before wilting in the stretch to finish second for trainer Steve Asmussen, who has a busy weekend saddling Kensei in the Jim Dandy and then Rachel Alexandra in the Haskell on Sunday. My play is BIG DRAMA at 2-1 or higher. Good luck in the West Virginia Derby! For more information on this weekend's huge racing action, visit Horseplayerpro.com.
Horseplayer PRO Alerts - live "horses to watch" e-mailed to your inbox every morning. This service is a simulcast player's dream. For a free one-week trial, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get more handicapping picks, analysis and tools at Horseplayerpro.com!