The West Virginia Derby, a 1 1/8 miles, lured 38 nominees before late mail. Among them are Team Valor's Battler Bob and Tom and Debra Shapiro's Calkins Road, who have been chasing top 3-year-old Came Home in California; Cassells and Zollars' Easyfromthegitgo, winner of the Iowa Derby, and Private Emblem, the Arkansas Derby winner; Dorsey and Christine Brown's Running Tide, undefeated in five career starts and winner of the grade III Leonard Richard Stakes at Delaware Park; and Team Valor's Windward Passage, winner of the grade III Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Fink, Sacks, and Swifty Farm's Wiseman's Ferry, second by a neck to Magic Weisner in the grade II Ohio Derby at Thistledown July 20, is among the nominees for the $600,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort on Aug. 10.The West Virginia Derby, now a grade III event, is the centerpiece of a nine-race evening program that will include six $85,000 stakes. Last year's Derby, the richest race in West Virginia, was won wire to wire by Western Pride.Wiseman's Ferry, trained by Niall O'Callaghan, won the grade III Lone Star Derby in wire-to-wire fashion in May, then returned to finish ninth in the grade I Belmont Stakes in June. In his last start at Thistledown, Wiseman's Ferry had the lead for most of the 1 1/8 miles but just got nipped by Magic Weisner.