07/30/2013 2:19PM

West Virginia Derby: Departing, Overanalyze head nine-horse field at Mountaineer


Departing was assigned post 5 and Overanalyze got the outside post as the top contenders in a field of nine 3-year-olds in the Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby, the annual showcase event at Mountaineer Racetrack.

The 1 1/8-mile West Virginia Derby, to be run Saturday, also got Say Ow (post 3), in off back-to-back wins at Betfair Hollywood Park, and an improving Steve Asmussen colt, Betweenhereandcool (post 4).

Departing, who had his final workout Monday at Saratoga, will be ridden by Robby Albarado. Depart will be making his first start since finishing sixth in the May 18 Preakness. His regular rider, Brian Hernandez Jr., is otherwise occupied Saturday with Fort Larned in the Whitney at Saratoga.

Overanalyze, most recently seventh in the June 8 Belmont Stakes for owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher, will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik and equipped with blinkers for the first time.

From the rail, this is the field for the 44th West Virginia Derby: Shaler, DeShawn Parker; Ruler of Love, Calvin Borel; Say Ow, Saul Arias; Betweenhereandcool, Ricardo Santana Jr.; Departing, Albarado; Mi Sto Divertendo, Marco Ccmaque; Ledokol, no rider; Stratocruiser, Alex Cintron; and Overanalyze, Napravnik.

Mountaineer normally runs evenings except for its biggest program, when first post is 2 p.m. Eastern. The feature goes as the eighth of nine races, all of them unrestricted stakes, with post time set for 5:45. Purses for the entire day will total $1.65 million.

The West Virginia Derby will be televised live on several Fox Sports Network affiliates, with Chris Lincoln hosting the one-hour show.

Departing was an impressive winner of the Grade 3 Illinois Derby two starts back, while Overanalyze can claim victories in the Grade  2 Remsen and Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.

Betweenhereandcool, by the recently deceased Unbridled’s Song, most recently was second by a neck to Looking Cool in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby. Asmussen has won the West Virginia Derby four times, including the 2012 running with Macho Macho.

Say Ow, by Langfuhr, has been based in California with Julio Canani but since has been transferred by his owner, the Premae Company LLC, to Chuck Kieser, a 59-year-old former jockey who oversees a small stable at Mountaineer.

One of the longshots in the field, Stratocruiser, is a homebred Langfuhr colt owned by the Dream Walkin Farms of country music superstar Toby Keith. He will be shipping in from Delaware Park for Kenny Smith.

The undercard races are comprised of seven $100,000 stakes and the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes (race 7), a 1 1/16-mile race that drew eight older horses, including the uncoupled Pletcher duo of Percussion and Mordi’s Miracle. Napravnik is named on both.