Edgewood Farm's Pollard's Vision, winner of the Illinois Derby (gr. II) in early April, heads a well-matched field of nine 3-year-olds entered for the Aug. 7 West Virginia Derby (gr. III) at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort.
The $600,000 Derby at 1 1/8 miles headlines a nine-race, seven-stakes program with total purses of $1,205,200. Post time for the Derby, which will be televised on ESPN2, is set for 5:25 p.m. EDT.
Pollard's Vision, trained by Todd Pletcher, finished 17th in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) after his Illinois Derby victory at Hawthorne Race Course, but he came back to finish second in the Ohio Derby (gr. II) at Thistledown and win the Leonard Richards Stakes (gr. III) at Delaware Park in his most recent start July 18. By Carson City
, Pollard's Vision has finished worse than third only three times in 13 starts and has excellent tactical speed.
Under the allowance conditions of the West Virginia Derby, Pollard's Vision will carry high weight of 119 pounds. Eibar Coa, who rode him in the Illinois and Ohio Derbies, is named at Mountaineer.
Tracy Farmer's Sir Shackleton, who held well for third behind Medallist and The Cliff's Edge in the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park July 11, is entered in the Derby at 117 pounds with Rafael Bejarano named to ride. Trained by Nick Zito, Sir Shackleton chased a scalding pace (1:07.96 for six furlongs) in the Dwyer and only fell a half-length behind his stablemate for second in a quality effort.
Speed has done very well in recent editions of the Derby. Sir Shackleton, by Miswaki
, has drawn outside of the speedy Avid Skier, who's won two of three Mountaineer starts, and Britt's Jules, who finished second to Pollard's Vision in the Leonard Richards after having led for about a mile in the 1 1/16-mile event.
Joseph Allen's Ecclesiastic, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, adds blinkers for his Derby appearance. The son of Pulpit
finished fourth behind Lion Heart in the Long Branch Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Monmouth Park July 17.
Alago Inc.'s Mister Fotis, by Diligence
, shipped all the way from South Florida for the Derby off a victory in the Unbrilded Stakes at Calder Race Course June 19. Trained by Marty Wolfson, the colt will try graded-stakes company for the first time.
An in-form longshot in the Derby is Mast Thoroughbreds' Rockem Sockem, who has won six times and finished second five times in 12 starts. The son of Ulises has won five Michigan-bred stakes at Great Lakes Downs, including the 1 1/16-mile (around three turns) Michigan Breeders' Handicap by 11 3/4 lengths July 17. Though he defeated open allowance company in April in Michigan, Rockem Sockem will face by far his toughest test to date.
The smallest purse on the Mountaineer program is $32,400 for an allowance test. There is one $100,000 stakes and six $85,000 stakes on the card.
Here's the Derby field, in post-position order, with jockeys and weights:
1 Rockem Sockem T.D. Houghton 113 pounds
2 Avid Skier Robert Lester 111
3 Pollard's Vision Eibar Coa 119
4 Line Of Scrimmage Oswald Pereira 111
5 Mister Fotis Eddie Castro 111
6 Britt's Jules Corey Lanerie 113
7 Sir Shackleton Rafael Bejarano 117
8 Ecclesiastic Herberto Castillo 111
9 Fantasticat Calvin Borel 111