By Rick Francis —-
A pair of 2017 Triple Crown players Lookin At Lee and Calumet Farms one-eyed wonder Patch headline the Grade 3 West Virginia Derby from Mountaineer Race Course; let’s take a look at the starting field.
Race 8) 1„ Mile. West Virginia Derby Grade III. Purse $750,000 FOR THREE YEAR OLDS.
Post Time: ( 5:21)/ 4:21/ 3:21/ 2:21
Game Over (1), Navarro/Parker; came up empty last out in the Ohio Derby, his try routing; he’ll improve here off that effort, consider in exotics.
Phat Man (2), Sharp/Santana; last five starts have been solid, placing in three straight and winning his last two. His consistent speed figures are proof he’ll be in this to the wire.
Patch (3), Pletcher/Gaffalione; makes first start since finishing up a solid third in the Belmont Stakes. Union Rags colt also stayed on to place in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby last April; rested and ready.
B Squared (4), O’Neill/Gutierrez; showed in the G3 Los Al Derby last month and is always forwardly placed, just feel he maybe a notch below and better in California.
Impressive Edge (5), Romans/Albarado; finished third in his last two, both Grade 3 contests, the Peter Pan and in the Iowa Derby; he’ll continue to improve; Albarado stays.
Watch Me Whip (6), Romans/Lezcano; won and placed in his two Kentucky starts; stepping outside of the Blue Grass state, no such luck.
Colonelsdarktemper (7), Fires/Court; strong last three, including a pair of place finishes in the G3 Winn and Indiana Derby; you’re going to have to account for this colt.
Lookin At Lee (8), Asmussen/Lanerie; field’s only starter to have gone to post in all three Triple Crown races, finishing second in the Derby and off the board in both the Preakness and Belmont. Asmussen would never start him if he wasn’t ready; however it’s those three starts that cost him here.
Silver Dust (9), Morse/Hernandez; maiden winner hasn’t fared well at this level; I look for that trend to continue here.
Heartwood (10), Chapman/Goodwin; Tapit colt is also a maiden winner, and as with the aforementioned half-brother, lesser competition is where he needs to be now.
McCormick (11), Wilkes/Leparoux; took the Iowa Derby well into the stretch before being caught and finishing second; that was a solid try, his third straight such effort; dangerous here.
Selections: 11, 3, 2, 5