08/04/2003 11:00PM

W.Va. Derby to air live


Saturday's $600,000 West Virginia Derby will be the state's first race to be shown live on ESPN, and the race is drawing its strongest lineup ever.

As of Tuesday, the racing office at Mountaineer Race Track had nine definites, including several graded winners, for the 1 1/8-mile West Virginia Derby, which was run as a Grade 3 for the first time last year. Entries will close on Wednesday and post positions will be drawn on Thursday.

The field, with riders, is expected to include Domestic Dispute (Alex Solis), Soto (Ramon Dominguez), Dynever (Edgar Prado), Mobil (Jorge Chavez), Outta Here (Kent Desormeaux), Supah Blitz (Cornelio Velasquez), Cat Singer (Hector Rosario), Lone Star Sky (John McKee), and Coax Kid (Jason Lumpkins). Trainer Todd Pletcher said Tuesday from Saratoga that Colita is also a starter for the race.

In addition to the West Virginia Derby, six other stakes will be run on Saturday's card. Total purses for the program will be in excess of $1.2 million.

The West Virginia Derby will be shown during a one-hour telecast to begin at 5 p.m. Eastern. It also features the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap at Saratoga. Previously, the West Virginia Derby was shown on tape-delay on ESPN2, a few days after the race was run.