The Bob Baffert trained Cupid is the 3-1 morning line favorite and looks vulnerable facing 10 foes in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (G2) at Mountaineer Park on Saturday.
The colt missed the Triple Crown races after fading to 10th in the Arkansas Derby (G1) and did not look much better with a disappointing fifth in the Easy Goer at Belmont Park in June.
He did bounce back with a sharp win in his most recent outing, taking the Indiana Derby (G2) on July 16 at Indiana Grand, but could end up an underlay on Saturday.
Baffert is no stranger at The Mountain, winning the premier race of the meeting in back-to-back years with Concord Point in 2010 and Prayer for Relief in 2011. Baffert has not started a runner at Mountaineer Park since that win in 2011.
With the scratch of Mo Tom, his main threats appear to be Economical Model and Suddenbreakingnews, both off the pace types.
Economical Model was a good runner up in the Dwyer (G3) in his last outing. The Chad Brown trainee won the Easy Goer in his previous outing.
Suddenbreakingnews has lost four in a row since taking the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park back in February. He makes his first start since running ninth in the Belmont Stakes (G1).
It is a big day at Saratoga on Saturday with five stakes featuring the $1.25 million Whitney (G1), a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
Frosted is the 3-5 morning line favorite and makes his first start since earning a 123 Beyer Speed Figure winning the Met Mile (G1) at Belmont Park on June 11. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee ran second in the Jim Dandy (G2) and third in the Travers (G1) at the Spa last summer.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes all of the stakes action from Del Mar and Saratoga.
Let’s head out to Mountaineer Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Mountaineer Park Race 8 The West Virginia Derby G2 (Post time 5:21 ET)
#9 Economic Model 4-1
#12 Suddenbreakingnews 9-2
#1 Cupid 3-1
#8 Adventist 8-1
Analysis: Economic Model was the beaten favorite in the Dwyer last out where the colt tracked the early pace form the three or four path and then angled down to the rail for the stretch drive in a runner up finish. The inside was not the place to be that day at Belmont Park. The fifth place finisher Laoban came back to win the Jim Dandy (G2) here in his next outing on July 30. Two back our top pick was a sharp winner of the Easy Goer. Blinkers are added today and he should get a good tracking trip here with Carmouche aboard, who should keep this colt in good position for the Chad Brown barn.
Suddenbreakingnews was ninth in the Belmont (G1) last out at 5-1, not getting much pace to run at. His fifth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) was a decent effort and his fast closing second to Creator in the Arkansas Derby (G1) three back was solid. He should get some pace to run at here and he put in a couple of sharp works at Churchill Downs.
Cupid is stuck down on the rail which often is not the place to be over this surface. He bounced back from a real dud in the Easy Goer by winning the Indiana Derby (G2) last out. He owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and figures to be the one to catch but likely is going to be a light price. Baffert has won this race twice, with Prayer for Relief in 2011 and Concord Point in 2010.
WIN: #9 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 9,12 / 1,8,9,12
TRI: 9,12 / 1,8,9,12 / 1,8,9,11,12
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