07/27/2015 3:23PM

Pletcher enters trio for West Virginia Derby

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Barbara Livingston
Madefromlucky, outside, is a likely favorite in Saturday's West Virginia Derby.

The Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, which will be run Saturday, drew a field of 11 when entries were taken Monday.

The likely favorites are Madefromlucky, who is one of three Todd Pletcher entrants; Tale of Verve, who races for Dallas Stewart; Bent on Bourbon, who is trained by Eddie Kenneally; and Tekton, who is conditioned by Tony Dutrow.

Tekton is cross-entered in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga on Friday, as are the two other Pletcher entrants, Stanford and Tommy Macho. Of the two, Tommy Macho is most likely for the Curlin.

The nine-race card at Mountaineer on Saturday will offer total purses of $1.65 million. The entire card will be streamed live on DRF.com.

Madefromlucky and Tale of Verve finished sixth and seventh in the Belmont Stakes in their most recent starts. Prior to that, Madefromlucky won the Peter Pan and Tale of Verve was second to American Pharoah in the Preakness, which was run in trying conditions over an extremely sloppy track.

Bent on Bourbon has won three races in a row, including the Grade 3 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows in his most recent start.

Tekton missed by a head to Mr. Jordan in the Grade 3 Pegasus at Monmouth Park on June 21 while making his stakes debut.

Other contenders include Stanford and Souper Colossal, who finished first and second in the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth; and Iron Fist, who is coming off a first-level optional-claiming win at Santa Anita for Jerry Hollendorfer.

The other West Virginia Derby entrants are War Story and Thirtysilverpieces, fourth and fifth most recently in the Ohio Derby; and Alliseeisgold, who has won three straight races in Ohio-bred company.

More cross-entries are possible as the week progresses, as the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational - which will include Triple Crown winner American Pharoah – is Sunday, and the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy will be run Saturday. The Jim Dandy will be drawn Wednesday and entries for the Haskell will be taken Thursday.

All four stakes are at 1 1/8 miles.

West Virginia Governor’s tops undercard

The West Virginia Derby undercard is topped by the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up. The 12-horse field includes such well-known runner as Albano, Carve, East Hall, and Page McKenney.

There are also seven $100,000 stakes. The Sen. Robert C. Byrd Memorial, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up, has lured Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Work All Week, who won the Eclipse Award for champion male sprinter of 2014.

Work All Week finished second in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park on July 5. He was second in the Grade 3 Aristedes in his seasonal debut at Churchill Downs on May 30.

- Additional reporting by David Grening

Jay More than 1 year ago
Hope everyone enjoys this years West Virginia Derby...it may be the last time this track hosts this event.
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
The WV Derby appears wide open with a juicy $750k pot. The Haskell appears to be already official with AP getting his picture taken as I type. So the math for the contenders is you run in WV for a $450k winners share or try to run behind AP at MTH for $200k. I do hope a hope a couple of legit horses go to the Haskell. The race will be most likely be un-playable so at least give us 107 seconds of semi-real racing while the tote blinks 1-9. From a gambling perspective only the Jim Dandy should be a solid race to play.
TRacingLifeMore More than 1 year ago
You could hope there's a bridge jumper or two on American Pharoah and play a Show bet on a different horse.
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
And if the best finish of the three is second, can he rely on Mountaineer stewards?
TRacingLifeMore More than 1 year ago
Madefromlucky's Peter Pan win was visually unappealing with the entire field clumped together. Without going through everything, Stanford sticks out.
David Robinson More than 1 year ago
completely agree