Full Boat in Wide-Open West Virginia Derby

Twelve 3-year-olds will square off Sunday afternoon in what appears to be a wide-open renewal of the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. III) at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort.

The 1 1/8-mile test lured 13 entries, but one is on the also-eligible list. The Derby is the eighth race on an all-stakes nine-race program that gets under way at 2 p.m. Purses total about $1.5 million.

Mountaineer limits fields for overnight races to 10 horses, but up to 12 are permitted in stakes. Here's the field, in post-position order with jockeys:

Bright One (Mark Guidry)
Flashy Bull (Jose Santos)
Circle the World (Chris DeCarlo)
Regent Spirit (Jeremy Rose)
Ah Day (Jonathan Joyce)
Cielo Gold (Brian Hernandez Jr.)
Wanna Runner (Mike Smith)
High Blues (Eusebio Razo Jr.)
High Finance (Dana Whitney)
Crocodile Tears (Rex Stokes III)
Luxembourg (Robby Albarado)
More Than Regal (Shaun Bridgmohan)
Like an Eagle (Carlos Marquez Jr.) is also eligible.

Flashy Bull, owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, is cross-entered in the $1-million Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park the same day and is expected to race there. His trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, attended the Haskell post-position draw Thursday.

High Finance, winner of back-to-back races before a 10th-place finish in the Belmont Stakes for trainer Rick Violette, also is owned by West Point Thoroughbreds.

Much attention in the West Virginia Derby field could be given to Carolyn Sue Bruder and Delmar Daubs' Bright One, a Dale Romans trainee who impressively won the Forestry Handicap at Churchill Downs in his third career start. In his second start, he crushed a maiden field at Churchill by 9 1/2 lengths in one of the most talked-about maiden races in Kentucky.

Bright One will make his first start around two turns. In the one-mile Forestry around one turn, Bright One's natural speed carried him into contention from the rail. Guidry pulled him back a bit and the Dance Brightly colt surrendered the lead, only to move off the rail, retake the lead on the far turn, and run away to a 7 1/4-length win.

Another colt making his first start around two turns is Will Farish's Luxembourg. The Wild Rush colt finished third in the Withers Stakes (gr. III) behind victorious Bernardini, currently the hottest 3-year-old in training. Richard Dutrow Jr. trains Luxembourg.

Hillcrest Farms Racing's Cielo Gold, trained by Hal Wiggins, is a regular around two turns, though he'll make his first start beyond 1 1/16 miles. By Conquistador Cielo, Cielo Gold won a Churchill allowance event in his last start in early July and appears to be one that could benefit from a hot early pace.

Trainer Bob Baffert entered Mike Pegram's Wanna Runner, who won the Lone Star Derby (gr. III) and WinStar Derby with ease this spring. In his last start, the son of El Corredor   finished a well-beaten 10th in an uncharacteristic performance in the restricted Queen's Plate at Woodbine in Canada.

Other stakes on the Mountaineer card, in program order, are the $85,000 Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies Stakes at six furlongs; the $85,000 West Virginia Legislature Chairman's Cup Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 4 1/2 furlongs; the $85,000 West Virginia Secretary of State Stakes for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, at six furlongs; the $85,000 Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes at six furlongs; the $125,000 West Virginia Senate President's Breeders' Cup Stakes for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, at one mile on the turf; the $125,000 Harvey Arneault Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs; the $125,000 West Virginia Governor's Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles; and the $85,000 West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker's Cup Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on the turf.

Nine-year-old Caller One, a multi-millionaire who last raced July 22 in the two-furlong Rocket Man Stakes on "Extreme Day" at Calder Race Course, is among those entered in the Chairman's Cup.

The Derby will be telecast live on ESPN along with the Haskell beginning at 5 p.m. EDT.

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