07/28/2014 1:23PM

Candy Boy, Tapiture meet in West Virginia Derby

Barbara D. Livingston
Candy Boy will be trainer John Sadler's first starter at Mountaineer when he runs in Saturday's West Virginia Derby.

The Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby, the headliner on a nine-stakes card Saturday at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort near Chester, has drawn a field of nine, including Candy Boy, who will ship in from Southern California for trainer John Sadler, and Tapiture, who is based at Saratoga with Steve Asmussen.

West Virginia Derby Day is the highlight of the racing year at Mountaineer and has a special 2 p.m. Eastern first post, rather than the usual 7 p.m. start time.

Candy Boy will be Sadler’s first starter at Mountaineer. On Monday, Sadler said Candy Boy would be flown from Southern California to Louisville, Ky., and then make the 370-mile van ride to Mountaineer. Sadler will be on hand for the race.

Candy Boy, who drew post 9, is coming off a second to Shared Belief in the $500,000 Los Alamitos Derby on July 5. That was his first start since a troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby, where he was bumped several times nearing and entering the first turn.

Sadler said the timing of this race was better for Candy Boy than last week’s Haskell Invitational.

“The West Virginia Derby had more appeal for us than the Haskell, which would have only given us three weeks between races,” he said. “Monmouth can be a speed-favoring track, too, and my horse has a lot of stamina.”

:: West Virginia Derby: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live

Corey Nakatani will come in to ride Candy Boy. The only time Nakatani has ridden at Mountaineer was on West Virginia Derby Day in 2012. In three mounts that day, he won the Derby and the West Virginia Governor’s Cup for Asmussen and was second in the West Virginia Senate President’s Cup for Todd Pletcher.

Asmussen will be shooting for his fifth West Virginia Derby win. His previous winners were Macho Macho (2012), Soul Warrior (2009), Zanjero (2007), and Real Dandy (2005).

Tapiture, post 5, is a two-time stakes winner this year. He won the Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn in February and in his last start drew off to win the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs.

The other West Virginia Derby entrants are Louisiana Derby winner Vicar’s in Trouble (post 4, trainer Mike Maker), Divine View (Larry Jones, post 7), For Goodness Sake (Mike Tomlinson, post 2), Classic Giacnroll (Lisa Guerrero, post 3), Gold Appointment (Robert Rockwell, post 6), Only I Know (Debra Rombis, post 8), and Key for Success (Tommy Shorter, post 1).

Two of the entrants are a bit unusual. Only I Know is a West Virginia-bred who is winless in his last five starts, the last four in allowance company, and Key for Success is a maiden.

The eight stakes on the West Virginia Derby undercard are topped by the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up. The other seven stakes are each worth $100,000 and include a pair of 2-year-old stakes, a pair of turf stakes, and three sprints.