Excitement is building in the countdown to New Cumberland. And racehorse Home Brew became the latest news item for the $500,000 West Virginia Derby on Aug. 6 at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort.
Trainer Brad Cox likes Home Brew for the West Virginia Derby and says he expects the horse to run on Mountaineer’s biggest stage next weekend.
Cox looks like a genius at the moment. He held Home Brew out of the $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park in New Jersey and then won that race Saturday with Cyberknife.
Home Brew joins a list of potentials that includes Skippylongstocking, third in the Belmont Stakes, and Simplification, fourth in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Preakness.
The 52nd running of the derby caps a card that starts at a unique time, 2 p.m. It is Mountaineer’s only afternoon card of the season.
Two additional horse races and the West Virginia Derby in August
August is indeed a blockbuster bookends month for West Virginia gamblers. The West Virginia Derby unfolds the first week of the month.
Charles Town Classic
Then, the $1 million Charles Town Classic occurs on the last weekend, Aug. 26, at Hollywood Casino.
What a coup for the Mountain State to have two high-profile events so close together.
The West Virginia Derby field will soon become official. It will fill out after trainers view the final workout patterns of their prospective horses and consider their chances in the field.
The $1 million Whitney Stakes at Saratoga occurs the same day. Owners will put their horses where they think they can win, either seeking the bigger money at Saratoga or perhaps the better matchup at Mountaineer.
Home Brew made an emphatic statement, winning the Pegasus at Monmouth Park. He was ridden by the meet’s leading jockey, Paco Lopez. Home Brew was guided patiently on the rail behind the front-runners, swung wide around the turn, and clobbered the field in the home stretch.
Home Brew was hand-ridden by Lopez. The manner of victory bodes well for him coming here.
The upcoming race may spur interest in overall live attendance, as Mountaineer runs Sunday-Wednesday at 7 p.m. For those who are going, here’s a quick look at some names they may recognize:
Mountaineer leading jockeys
- Luis Alberto Batista (48)
- Charle Oliveros (45)
- Angel Diaz (29)
- Alex Gonzalez (27)
- Fausto Henrique Da Silva (25)
Mountaineer leading trainers
Juan Pablo Silva has been the king so far. He leads the way with 32 victories in just 95 mounts. His horses finish in the money two out of every three times.
That’s a legitimate focus for bettors who want to take his horses on the win line, or perhaps even in trifecta key wagers.
Jay Bernardini held second place with 26 triumphs, while Eddie Clouston was next with 16 winners.
At fourth was a tie between Shane Spiess and Dave Treharne at 13. But Treharne has far fewer entries. His mounts have finished in the money 33 of 46 times.
That’s an outstanding rate above 70%. That’s especially interesting if his horse is a good price.
Recent racing form at Mountaineer Racetrack
It’s a treat to watch turf events, which bring a unique dynamic to racing. Horses can make up chunks of ground in the homestretch if they have momentum, perhaps even more so than on dirt surfaces.
Mountaineer proved that concept last Wednesday with a pattern worth noting for handicappers. In three successive races, the winners came from well off the pace to circle the field. In two cases, they came from dead last.
Political Riot‘s backers were rewarded when he had to overcome the entire field coming for home after being stuck behind a wall of horses.
Russian Tank employed a similar maneuver in the next race. Pioneer Dancer made it three straight for the closers with a monstrous late run.
What the pattern revealed is that you can trust a deep closer on the grass at Mountaineer. And bettors can triumph, with the right tweak.
Pioneer Dancer’s victory, coupled with the second-place finish by 1-2 chalk Living Vicariously, may also have rewarded key bettors in the trifecta ticket.
We often talk about key betting, putting your favorite horse in the first and second position with three others in a $1 trifecta wager, for $12. If your horse is in the second position, for example, he must run exactly second and the others must occupy first and third.
Anyone who put Living Vicariously first and second, in addition to picking the right long shots in Pioneer Dancer at 13-1 and Mr. Magico at 14-1, got back $118 for the $1 trifecta.
That’s a good way to get around the fact that you can’t make money on a 1-2 shot on the win line.