Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - October 14, 2022

West Virginia Derby: Skippylongstocking Will Be Ready to Run Well at Some Decent Odds

West Virginia Derby Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer!

PP Horse TwinSpires Odds Jockey Trainer
1 JR’S GIFT 30/1
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T Canuto H Andrade
2 SIMPLIFICATION 3/1
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J Lezcano A Sano
3 HOME BREW 2/1
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P Lopez B Cox
4 KING OTTOMAN 6/1
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B J Hernandez Jr S Asmussen
5 COURVOISIER 15/1
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D Parker K Breen
6 WE THE PEOPLE 3/1
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R Santana Jr R Brisset
7 SKIPPYLONGSTOCKING 5/1
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E Gonzalez S Joseph Jr

West Virginia Derby Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$10 Exacta Part Wheel – Skippylongstocking over We the People, Simplification, Home Brew and King Ottoman  = $40

$5 Exacta Part Wheel – We the People, Simplification, Home Brew and King Ottoman over Skippylongstocking  = $20

Top pick: Skippylongstocking (5/1).

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West Virginia Derby Skippylongstocking

A solid fourth in the Kentucky Derby two starts back, Simplification will look to add another feather in his cap when he tops a competitive field of seven set for the $500,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort on Saturday.

Trained by Antonio Sano, the two-time stakes winning son of Not This Time accounted for the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park earlier this year before finishing third in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and then heading to Kentucky.

Chief among his rivals in the Grade 3 affair could be the improving Home Brew. A Brad Cox-trainee, the son of Street Sense has won 4-of-6 overall, including consecutive stakes at Oaklawn Park in April and Monmouth Park in June.

Skippylongstocking and We the People finished third and fourth in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes respectively, and will both be making their first start since the June 11 classic in Saturday’s 9-furlong West Virginia Derby.

Skippylongstocking, from the barn of Saffie Joseph, Jr., ran a career best race last time in the final leg of the Triple Crown. Stalking the early pace, he held well to finish third, matching his placing in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial back in April.

We the People, a son of Constitution, rolled home in a wet edition of the Grade 3 Peter Pan at Belmont Park before setting the pace and weakening late to finish fourth in the Belmont.

West Virginia Derby Predictions and Race Analysis

Home Brew

Trained by Brad Cox and riding a two-race winning streak, I believe this son of Street Sense is the one bettors will end up selecting as the race favorite.

He looked good in winning those two stakes races at Oaklawn Park and Monmouth, but will now take a step up in class as no horse he beat so far is of graded stakes material. With Paco Lopez in the saddle again, I expect him to close early, chasing the speedy We the People.

He certainly is eligible to win his third straight stakes race, but I am not crazy about jumping on the bandwagon against this level of competition.

Simplification

You could argue that this son of Not This Time is the classiest horse in the field. He ran five strong stakes races in a row to begin the year, including two stakes wins and a good fourth in the Kentucky Derby.

His sixth-place finish last time in the Preakness was disappointing, but it was reported that he bled during that race. Freshened since that race, he has been working solidly down in South Florida for his return.

Off the layoff, I would expect him to show a little more speed than he showed in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. At his best, he can win this. He might be the biggest threat to my top choice and must be respected.

We the People

This son of Constitution has the most natural speed in the race and that is always dangerous. An easy winner of three of his five lifetime races, he took a lot of money in the Belmont Stakes, but had no answers for Mo Donegal at the top of the stretch.

There is no horse as good as Mo Donegal here, but this is by no means an easy spot, and I do believe he will be pressured a bit here early. It’s also a little concerning that in his two tries against top company, he really didn’t put up much of a fight.

He is talented and dangerous on the front end for trainer Rodolphe Brisset, but there are a couple of others that I like better.

Skippylongstocking

His third in the Belmont was a nice performance for this runner who has been let go at double digit odds in three straight races. While he ran well in all three, he never really looked to threaten the winners in the Wood Memorial, Preakness or Belmont.

Having said that, he was pretty competitive against the top 3-year-olds in the nation and now he actually finds a little class relief here. In the start before those three, he was an impressive off the pace winner of a 9-furlong allowance race.

With a good pace likely here, he should have every opportunity to rally once again. Working well for a hot trainer since the Belmont, I think he will be ready to run well at some decent odds. He is the top pick.

King Ottoman

After running solid efforts against some good maiden company in his first three starts, this nicely bred son of Curlin stepped up sharply to score in the Texas Derby at Lone Star Park. Off that maiden-breaking stakes victory, he moved into graded company in the Indiana Derby.

He could do no better than third, but it was a good effort for the Steve Asmussen-trained gray (G3). This test looks even tougher, but another move forward would certainly put him in with a chance. As the likely fifth choice, I do believe he offers some value in the West Virginia Derby.

Courvoisier

This very well-bred son of Tapit won two in a row over the winter at Aqueduct, including the listed Jerome Stakes. He looked headed in the right direction after the stakes win on a sloppy track, but was unable to move forward in his next two starts.

Given a freshening after those disappointments, he returns off a five month layoff to a difficult spot. With the flashes of potential, and the pedigree, it’s reasonable to believe he still might have a nice future, but I like others better in this spot.

Jr’s Gift

A winner of only one race out of 13 tries, this son of Karun earned that victory in a maiden race at Hawthorne three starts back. With those credentials, it’s difficult to make a case for his chances on Saturday. He finished sixth last time in his first stakes try, which came at Churchill Downs.

While he has been relatively consistent since stretching out to two turns, he just lacks the class needed to make much noise here.

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How to Watch the West Virginia Derby

What West Virginia Derby (Grade 3)
Location Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort
Time Saturday, August 6 — 5:35pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $500,000
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AUTHOR

Brian Zipse

219 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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