07/31/2014 10:52AM

Sassy Kitten adds blinkers for President's Cup


Of the eight stakes on the West Virginia Derby undercard, two are on turf – one for males and one for fillies and mares. Both offer $100,000 purses and are contested at a mile and 70 yards, beginning at the top of the Mountaineer Racing and Casino stretch.

President’s Cup (Race 5)

The West Virginia Senate President’s Cup, for fillies and mares, has a full field of 12 and is carded as the first leg of a 50-cent pick five.

Key contenders

Sassy Kitten (Last 3 Beyers: 88-66-86)

** Shipped to Mountaineer for the $75,000 Firecracker Stakes on July 2, Sassy Kitten made what appeared to be a winning move on the far turn before being nailed on the wire by the late-running La Malaguena, who also returns in this race.

** Sassy Kitten, now 3 for 7 in her career, is trained by Mike Maker, who will add blinkers to her equipment for this race.

“The rider may have moved a little too early last time,” Maker said. “Once on the lead, she may have been wandering a little, so we are adding the blinkers.”

** Alan Garcia, who will ride all five of Maker’s starters Saturday at Mountaineer, picks up the mount. According to DRF Formulator, Maker and Garcia have won 34 of 156 races (22 percent) together and have had a positive $2.65 return on investment when they have teamed up over the last five years.

:: DRF Live: Get real-time updates and insights from DRF reporters and handicappers starting at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday

Surtsey (Last 3 Beyers: 84-84-84)

** Exits two graded turf stakes at Woodbine – the Nassau and the Dance Smartly – for trainer Kevin Attard. Surtsey went evenly in both races while facing tougher company than she will here.

Moment in Dixie (Last 3 Beyers: 76-96-80)

** Has raced in seven straight stakes in New York, Florida, Kentucky, and Illinois for trainer Jimmy Toner but has not won in more than a year.

Speaker’s Cup (Race 9)

The West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker’s Cup is the final race of the day at Mountaineer. It has drawn a competitive field of 12.

Key contenders

Regally Ready (Last 3 Beyers: 84-93-100)

** Now 7, he won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint for trainer Steve Asmussen.

** In his most recent start, he was reserved off the pace in the Grade 2 Firecracker Stakes, lodged a mild bid after the front-running winner, Silver Max, and tired in the stretch to finish seventh.

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

Greengrassofyoming (Last 3 Beyers: 86-48-87)

** As wide-open as the nightcap appears, maybe this is the right time to swing for the fences. Greengrassofyoming is coming out of a good effort in a third-level, $100,000 optional-claiming race at Arlington Park. He raced down along the inside throughout that day but tried hard and finished fourth, beaten three-quarters of a length.

** Greengrassofyoming is trained by Michael Tomlinson, who has For Goodness Sake in the West Virginia Derby.