West Virginia Derby Take Me Home!

Mountaineer Momma Take Me Home

Country Roads Take Me HomeWhat’s up with my assignments? I was assigned last week to do an article about the Jim Dandy and of course it reminded me of Black Oak Arkansas (and I guess I am the only old codger around here ’cause none of you commented that you had heard of Jim Dandy) 😥 . Now my project this week is the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes and the West Virginia Derby. Well that reminds me of another old time favorite singer of mine. Can you guess who it is? A line from one of his songs is “West Virginia, mountain mamma, take me home country roads.” If you know who I’m talking about leave a comment in the box below. Surely you know the answer to this one… but don’t call me Shirley.

West Virginia Governor’s Stakes

TaptowneFirst on tap will be the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes. This race is for 3 year olds and upward going a 11/16 mile with a purse of  $200,000. The morning line favorite is Todd Pletcher’s Percussion. I mean to tell you that Mr. Pletcher gets around. Percussion is coming off of a 5th place finish in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap and before that a heart breaking second in the Brooklyn Handicap to the hard charging, come from behind closer, Calidoscopio. Pletcher is removing the blinkers for today’s event and will have the services of jockey Christian Pilares.

The second choice in the morning line is Taptowne. Taptowne is coming off 2 second place finishes, one in the Grade 2 Cornhusker and the other a high optional claiming race. He will be ridden by the great Calvin Borel.

I can see why Pletcher took the blinkers off of Percussion here. He will try to temper his speed, because he doesn’t want a suicide duel with any of the several speedsters in the race. I look for him to rate the horse just a little here.

So who am I picking? I’m going to say that Percussion will be in the mix, but I believe that Taptowne will be there at the wire along with Son of a General.

The West Virginia Derby

Departing Wins Illinois DerbyNow let’s get to the 3 year olds and the West Virginia Derby. This race will be contested at 11/8 miles with a purse of  $750,000.  The morning line favorite is…you guessed it Todd Pletcher’s Overanalyze with Rosie Napravnik up at 7-5.  The two second choices are Betweenhereandcool and Departing both at 5-2 in the morning line.

Overanalyze is coming off dismal finishes in the Belmont and Kentucky Derby. His last win was at Oaklawn Park in the Arkansas Derby and it really wasn’t that impressive. Betweenhereandcool finished a fast closing second in the Iowa Derby, missing just by a neck. Departing won the Grade 3 Illinois Derby and then was sixth in the Preakness.

So here is what I think will happen. Departing will win the race with Overanalyze second and Betweenhereandcool third.

I just love West Virginia!  Almost heaven, West Virginia… Don’t forget to tell me who sang “West Virginia, mountain mamma take me home country roads”. Good luck guys and gals!




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Handicap Horses

Co-lead Author & Admin at Handicap Horse Racing
Mike Lane, Sr is co-lead author and administrator of With over 38 years of experience and a degree in the "School of Hard Knocks" for handicapping, Mike has seen it all when it comes to thoroughbred racing and wants to help other horse players learn how to handicap and avoid the mistakes he has made in the past.

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2 Responses to “West Virginia Derby Take Me Home!”

  1. Stephen Logan says:

    I loved Black Oak Arkansas–I bought their albumn in a small town near the campus of Alabama, I was stationed at Columbus AFB at the time…and everyone will know John Denver, but if they don’t it’s their loss! Good luck at the track.

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