Candy Boy Among 47 West Virginia Derby Noms

Candy Boy Among 47 West Virginia Derby Noms
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Forty-seven 3-year-olds have been nominated for the $750,000 West Virginia Derby presented by Xpressbet (gr. II), to be run Aug. 2 at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort.

Nominations closed July 24 for the the 1 1/8-mile event, which will again highlight a nine-race card comprised entirely of open stakes.

Among them are Candy Boy, winner of the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park; Tapiture, a multiple graded winner from Steve Asmussen's stable; and a record seven horses from the stable of the six-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher.
    
The nomination list also includes Vicar's in Trouble, who won the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in March; Jessica's Star, winner of the Iowa Derby (gr. III) at Prairie Meadows in June; and Kid Cruz, who was victorious in the Dwyer Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont Park and is entered in the Jim Dandy (gr. II) July 26.

Mountaineer's racing office considers Candy Boy to be a definite West Virginia Derby starter. The colt, trained by John Sadler, has a career record that includes nine starts with two victories and four placings, and purse earnings of $525,600. Candy Boy has twice placed in grade I company.
    
Tapiture is viewed as a West Virginia Derby "probable." Asmussen has won the race four times, an unmatched record for a trainer. Last November, Tapiture was a 4 1/4-length winner of the Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. He was also victorious in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park in February, and was a two-length winner of his most recent effort, the Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill June 14.
    
The multiple Eclipse Award-winning Pletcher has never won the West Virginia Derby; he is 0-for-8 in the race, including a trio of second-place finishes. Pletcher's nominees this year include a pair of allowance winners, All Tied Up and Mr. Viber, at two-turn distances. But none of his nominees have won or placed in stakes, graded or otherwise.

"The West Virginia Derby is our anchoring block, it's the pride of our entire race season," said Rose Mary Williams, director of racing at Mountaineer. "We get national notice during the days leading up to our Derby. And Derby Day itself is a representation of West Virginia racing at its very, very best."
    
This year's West Virginia Derby, for the first time in the race's history, has a title sponsor in Xpressbet, a leading internet and account betting service.
 

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