08/01/2013 1:14PM

West Virginia Derby: Overanalyze part of Pletcher's bottomless pit of talent

Barbara D. Livingston
Overanalyze will try to give Todd Pletcher his third major stakes win for 3-year-olds since last weekend when he runs as the favorite in the West Virginia Derby.

CHESTER, W.Va. – There’s gold in these here hills, if only you run fast enough to get it. The embarrassment of 3-year-old riches in the Todd Pletcher stable could be further highlighted Saturday in the mountains of West Virginia, where yet another Pletcher runner, Overanalyze, could earn a tidy bundle by capturing the signature race at Mountaineer Racetrack, the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby.

The West Virginia Derby purse is $750,000, with at least $451,000 of that going to the winner. In addition, Overanalyze, as the lone Grade 1 winner in the field, would earn an additional $150,000 bonus for owner Mike Repole.

But that’s not all. As the 7-5 program favorite in a field of nine, Overanalyze can add to the considerable Pletcher haul from last weekend, when Palace Malice won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga and Verrazano captured the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park, giving the 46-year-old trainer the two probable favorites for the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

Pletcher said this week from Saratoga that a big effort from Overanalyze could yield a berth in the Aug. 24 Travers, although “that’d be something for Mike Repole to decide. Anything is possible, I guess.”

Neither Repole nor Pletcher will be here Saturday to watch when Rosie Napravnik guides Overanalyze away from the outside post in the 1 1/8-mile West Virginia Derby, which will be televised live on a one-hour (5-6 p.m. Eastern) show on Fox Sports Network affiliates. Post time for the race is 5:45. Stable assistant Cesar Estevez will be on hand to saddle Overanalyze, whose arrival here from Saratoga was scheduled for Friday.

Mountaineer has pegged co-second choices on its morning line in Betweenhereandcool (post 4, Ricardo Santana Jr.) and Departing (post 5, Robby Albarado), while the other six horses are listed at double-digit odds, some as high as 50-1.

Overanalyze won the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby in April before becoming one of five Pletcher starters in the Kentucky Derby. Overanalyze finished 11th in the Churchill Downs mud, but only after encountering what Pletcher called “sneaky trouble.” The official chart for the race says the colt “altered course,” but Pletcher, in slight exaggeration, recalled that “around the three-eighths pole, he went from like sixth to 18th.”

In his only subsequent start, Overanalyze was a no-threat seventh in the Belmont Stakes, won by Palace Malice, but “he never got into a position where he could get into a great rhythm,” said Pletcher.

“He didn’t embarrass himself that day, and neither race was as bad as it looks on paper. But having said all that, yes, we would really like him to show major improvement there in West Virginia. He is getting what you’d say is class relief. It’d be nice to see him show what he’s capable of doing.”

Besides Napravnik riding him for the first time – the jockey initially committed this day to ride Power Broker here, before Bob Baffert decided instead to run the colt in the Haskell – Overanalyze also will be equipped with blinkers for the first time Saturday.

“He worked well in them [Sunday at Saratoga] and seemed to get his attention a little bit,” said Pletcher.

The allowance conditions of the West Virginia Derby dictate that Overanalyze carry high weight of 124 pounds, while the others tote 116 to 120.

Departing, as winner of the Illinois Derby, clearly looks like the top threat to Overanalyze, while Betweenhereandcool also would not qualify as a major surprise. Steve Asmussen, trainer of Betweenhereandcool, has won 4 of the last 8 runnings of the race, including last year with Macho Macho.

One of the outsiders is a homebred named Say Ow (post 3, Saul Arias), whose owner, Jeffrey DeHaven of The Premae Company LLC, sent him to local trainer Chuck Kieser on July 13, a couple of weeks after the gelding won his second straight race over the synthetic surface at Betfair Hollywood Park when still under the care of Julio Canani.

“I’ve always wanted an opportunity like this,” said Kieser, 59, a former jockey who trains eight horses here in Barn J and lives right across the Ohio River in Rogers, Ohio.

Assuming he can hold his form from California, where he earned Beyer Speed Figures of 97 and 95, Say Ow would have to be considered the top long-priced threat in the group. Rounding out the field are Shaler, Ruler of Love, Mi Sto Divertendo, Ledokol, and Stratocruiser.

This will be the 44th running of the West Virginia Derby, which goes as the eighth of nine races on a terrific all-stakes program worth $1.65 million, a sum even higher than the $1.53 million being paid out Saturday at Saratoga. First post is 2 p.m. Racing normally is conducted in the evenings here except for this biggest day of the meet.

The weather forecast for Saturday is a good one, with high temperatures in the mid-70s and only an outside chance of rain. There is no admission charge at Mountaineer, which has a casino.

Lisa More than 1 year ago
If the races run put you in the limelight then Orb is still definitely in the running. 6 starts, 4 firsts, 2 G1 wins, and 4th in the Preakness and 3rd in the Belmont, and a G2 win. Palace Malice 7 starts 2 firsts, 2 seconds, 1 third, won the Belmont and G2 JD. So 1 G1 win. 7th in LA Derby and 3 in the Risen Star G2. Verrazano 7 starts 6 firsts, 2 of those in MSW and AOC, 2 G1 wins Haskell and Wood. Won G3 and G2. 14th in the Derby. I bet Orb comes back rested and ready. I wouldn't count him out yet. The questions begs who did Verrazano beat with Oxbox hurt?, and who did he beat in the Pegasus? Palace Malice won the Belmont and thena G2. Maybe he is on the improve.
Robynrokn More than 1 year ago
What the what why are the post times for WVA donkey run, and the Whitney so close?
Marc Ferrell More than 1 year ago
Surprised nobody has talked about the horses that have no business being in this race, the least of which is the Maiden "Ledokol" who had a stable mate "Hero of Order" muck up the race last year. Yes I know its their right to pay the fees and run but it would be sad to see a horse who deserves a good run to get a bad trip because someone is still chasing their Louisiana Derby fluke. I wouldn't be surprised to see the former California runner or Asmussen give overanalyze a run for his money.
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
Watch out for "Bridge Jumpers" West Virginia is a $ 2.20 minimum state !
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
"Pletcher said this week from Saratoga that a big effort from Overanalyze could yield a berth in the Aug. 24 Travers, although “that’d be something for Mike Repole to decide. Anything is possible, I guess.”"......I'm laughing at this, Repole will want to run in the Travers if he finishes last.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
'Pit' - an interesting choice of words.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Arkansas derby , Wood , Woody Stephens , Amsterdam , Belmont , Jim Dandy , Louisiana Derby , Haskell , Tampa Bay Derby , Derby Trial , Withers etc etc etc
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Awe look
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Bud Light, Jeff
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Mark.....Forty Tales is nice as a sprinter. Look for him in Vosburg. But you know my feelings on Verrazano(one dimensional), Revolutionary is about retired at Winstar, Palace Malice I have always liked as Dogwood fan, Overanalyze is over hyped. And still none are standouts IMO. TRAVERS KEY RACE. and Orb just breezed at Fairhill like never before. 5/8 easily looking like the champ I think he is.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Verrazano just worked out for $1 million in the grade 1 Haskell. And all those races tap already won. His horses beat who ever else showed up. I think you are knocking the wrong horses/ trainer. Guy owns the 3 year old division .
Mark More than 1 year ago
One demesional freak in a class all his own .
Michael Castellano More than 1 year ago
Seems like every place but New York has a racing association that knows how to handle business. Not charging an admission is not rocket science. I'm fairly certain fans will make that up by betting the same three dollars. It's penny wise and pound foolish of NYRA, par for the course for them I guess.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
steppng over a dollar to pick up a dime?
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
You do realize monies collected from parking, admissions and such go directly into NYRA and can be used at their discretion, unlike wagered dollars that have to go through the state. It's a greedy NY Politian problem, not a NYRA problem.
The Truth More than 1 year ago
Here's the bet if you want the trifecta score. 1. Departing, 2. ALL, 3. Overanalyze Departing is the class of the field...one of the field horses will out run Overanalyze for second.. Overanalyze will hold for 3rd. $2 trifecta will pay around $250
Albert More than 1 year ago
You're really threading the needle on that one. I agree that Departing is the best in here if he runs his race. Go ALL, ALL in the other spots and hope Overanalyze shows up flat. That will be the payoff you're looking for.
Richard Kennedy More than 1 year ago
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I believe this colt belongs on turf. He has shown ability I agree but not against top dirt horses. Pedigree indicates turf to me. Maybe that will bring out his obvious talent. Blinkers maybe angling at putting speed into the colt as Mountaineer usually has a speed bias. I will watch Departing. Todd seems to be picking soft spots with his "talent". We'll see when he faces Orb. Palace Malice is his best 3 year old and another 1/16 of a mile Will Take Charge would have beaten him in Jim Dandy. Verrazano hasn't beaten much all year except a lame Oxbow in The Haskell.
Electrocutionst More than 1 year ago
Will Take Charge wouldn't of gotten by Palace Malice in the Jim Dandy if they went around again. He got within a length and stopped advancing. So no, he wouldn't of beat him.
Frank Petro More than 1 year ago
Why wouldn't he pick his spots.Money is money.He is being smart for his owners.Again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
stop pushing ORB...he had his 15 min of fame already...yesterday's news
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Would ALL you anomypottamusses please sign your name. You take your potshots from the dark then run and hide. Cheap, at best.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Thanks Chad.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
That was for ALL of us Thomas. You still at Fair Hill?
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Or he peaked in The Derby. The premier race in the world for 3 year olds. And now, smartly, Shug, Janney and Phipps realize that winning Travers, Jockey Club Gold Cup, and or BC CLASSIC wins the 3 year old Eclipse and tremendously adds to the breeding class of their stable. So that's maybe the agenda?
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
They are not gonna rush this Colt - ever - no agenda Tom. Shug listens to the horse.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Any horseman and or handicapper knows that the kd is a toss of a race with those suicidal fractions and sloppy surface when it comes to judging the top 3 year old colts . The # of graded stakes run since prove it. Glad to hear you and others are going to be giving back some of $ from the derby pools .
Jimmy Powell More than 1 year ago
I agree with you for the most part but, I disagree with you the part about Will take charge would have beaten Palace Malice with another 16th. You need to know that Mike Smith stopped riding because he knew he had won. Smith said after the race he had plenty of horse left. jlp
Mark More than 1 year ago
Arkansas derby , Wood , Woody Stephens , Amsterdam , Belmont , Jim Dandy , Louisiana Derby , Haskell , Tampa Bay Derby , Derby Trial , Withers etc etc etc Soft Spots ? lmao !
edb More than 1 year ago
Didn't win derby with 5, didn't run one in a very soft Preakness and probably would have guessed wrong on which one of his horses would win the Belmont. Not the fair haired trainer he used to be. He did wonderful job on Shanghai Bobby. Maybe he was too busy. PS, Orb will win again and you will bet against him again. Einstein
Mark More than 1 year ago
Orb wont win one of those races you listed . Not 1 .
Mike Bilinskas More than 1 year ago
Pletcher with 10 top 3 year olds year after year, 2 of them will run at 4, 0 at 5...
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
By Haskell time last year he was down to Gemologist. Is he changing his ways?
Mark More than 1 year ago
How many you running ?