West Virginia Derby 2019: Odds and analysis for Saturday's race

July 29, 2019 04:59pm

Mr. Money’s connections decided to skip Saratoga's Travers Stakes (G1) and continue their Midwest tour in Saturday's Grade 3, $500,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer.

While that's not the most exciting choice from a racing fan standpoint, it gives their horse the best chance to win and earn another big paycheck. 
The field, drawn Monday, includes some worthwhile challengers, plus Mr. Money will have to prove himself at nine furlongs.

The West Virginia Derby is carded as Race 8 with post time set for 5:30 ET. Here's a look at contenders and a prospective morning line from Horse Racing Nation:

1. Chess Chief, 15-1 (Into Mischief – Dallas Stewart/Miguel Mena – 9: 1-0-1): While not a serious win contender, his ability to clunk into the superfecta at long odds is evident after finishing fourth in the Indiana Derby (G3) at 46-1. Dallas Stewart often fools bettors with big longshots. Getting those same mega-odds again is not probable, but he remains useful at 12-1 or higher. Use underneath.

2. Grumps Little Tots, 12-1 (Sky Mesa – Jason Servis/Unknown) – 6: 1-3-1): The Easy Goer Stakes proved a weak race in the aftermath, as Majid finished a distant fifth in the Dwyer Stakes (G3) and Alwaysmining ran a disappointing ninth in the Indiana Derby. I'm inclined to pass on the Easy Goer runner-up in this spot. Toss.

3. Conative, 50-1 (Noble Mission – Marat Kozhomzharov/Luis Quinones – 8: 1-1-0): Why is this horse entered? In his two dirt starts, he finished seventh in a Keeneland optional claimer and a distant fourth by 16 ¼ lengths in a Fair Grounds optional claimer. His turf races are not any good, either. It will take a miracle for him. Toss.

4. Plus Que Parfait, 6-1 (Point of Entry – Brendan Walsh/Corey Lanerie – 9: 2-1-2): This ridgling ran an OK sixth in the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1). He was one-paced around the course, staying fifth or sixth for the most part. Prior to the race, he finished a decent eighth in the Kentucky Derby and won the UAE Derby (G2) on dirt, albeit against a weaker field for the most part. Then again, the West Virginia Derby is not the strongest test, either. Win contender.

5. Cornstarch, 30-1 (Awesome Again – Marat Kozhomzharov/Charle Oliveros – 7: 1-0-2): This Conative stablemate started his career in four dirt races and never finished better than third, which came in a weaker Fair Grounds maiden race. He did improve on synthetic at Arlington, as he broke his maiden with a 104 on TimeformUS and finished third in an optional claimer. He should return there. Toss.

6. Fluminense, 12-1 (More Than Ready – Steve Asmussen/Joe Bravo – 7: 2-0-2): A troubled start cost him in the Iowa Derby, but he did well to rally wide on the far turn and close for a strong fourth, right with Top Line Growth and Shang. Perhaps he can do the same in this spot and surprise some bettors with a late run. Live longshot.

7. Top Line Growth, 9-2 (Tapizar – Kelly Rubley/Julian Pimentel – 4: 3-0-0): Via disqualification, he won the Iowa Derby. The troubling part about his run, though, is that he had dead aim at the top of the stretch and failed to close the gap on Winning Number. Horses with big wins at Laurel tend to underperform elsewhere as stablemate Alwaysmining showed in recent months. But despite some concerns, he remains part of the mix. Use underneath.

8. Math Wizard, 7-2 (Algorithms – Saffie Joseph Jr./Florent Geroux – 11: 2-2-3): After a strong runner-up effort to Owendale in the Ohio Derby (G3), this one seemed poised to move forward in the Indiana Derby (G3). But a loose horse cost him at a critical point on the far turn, as his path got blocked. In fact, the loose horse stayed in his path for most of the stretch run and cost him second at least. He deserves another chance in this spot at longer odds than Mr. Money. The top pick.

9. Mr. Money, 2-1 (Goldencents – Bret Calhoun/Gabriel Saez – 9: 4-2-0): Without a doubt, Mr. Money enters as the deserving favorite. After some failed attempts on the Derby trail, he blossomed in the Pat Day Mile (G3) and Matt Winn Stakes (G3) with strong-looking wins, and then won the Indiana Derby by a shorter margin. The nine-furlong distance is a slight concern. Taking a short price on a horse without a proven record at the distance is not profitable. Win contender.

10. Chilly in Charge, 20-1 (Take Charge Indy – Miguel Vera/Horacio Karamanos – 5: 2-1-0): His recent 12-length win came at Parx against Pennsylvania-breds. He only earned a 96 TimeformUS Speed Figure in that romp, although two races back he did earn a high 110 on the synthetic surface at Woodbine. He needs to prove the 110 is repeatable on dirt though before trusting him in a Grade 3. Toss.

Conclusion:
Math Wizard enters this race with proven form at nine furlongs. Even though he does show a slight hanging problem, if he repeats the 122 TimeformUS Speed Figure from the Ohio Derby (G3), it will take an outstanding effort to beat him.

Mr. Money is on quite the winning streak, but the Indiana Derby came at 1 1/16 miles, and he ended up winning by a smaller margin as in his Matt Winn and Pat Day Mile victories. His talent is respectable, but it is worth taking a shot against him. 

Win: 8
Trifecta wheel: 8 / 4,6,7,9 / 1,4,6,7,9

 

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