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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mountaineer Park – West Virginia Derby

Baffert Looks to Remain Hot

Trainer Bob Baffert has been on a roll lately. Last Sunday he won the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth and the Grade 1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar. He will try to continue that streak on Saturday at Mountaineer Park with Prayer for Relief in the West Virginia Derby.

Prayer for Relief comes off a win in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby and the Jump Start-colt is one of only two horses in the WV Derby with a graded stakes win. After the Iowa Derby, Baffert shipped Prayer for Relief back to California and he has had five fast works including a bullet five-furlong drill in his last.

The other graded stakes winner, Dreamy Kid, is also from California. Who did Dreamy Kid beat in the Grade 2 Swaps? Coil, who came back to win the Grade 1 Haskell last weekend. Based on that Dreamy Kid is the one to beat on Saturday.

After the two California horses, contention runs deep.

Infrattini exits a good second place finish in the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs in mid-June. The horses he split in that race were Scotus and Joe Vann. Scotus came back and finished last in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga and Joe Vann finished sixth in the Haskell after setting the early pace.

Little Drama comes off a third place finish in the Long Branch and Monmouth and may be closer to the pace on Saturday. Two back Little Drama ran in the Red Legend and finished behind Loranger Native, who is also entered here. Loranger Native has been off since that race and could be another vying for the front end.

Awesome Bet and Rush Now are the others with a change coming in off of runs in the Barbaro and Delaware Park. Awesome Bet put in a huge late run to win by a neck in the $103K race as Rush Now was fading to fourth. That was the first start for Rush Now off a two month layoff so he is eligible to improve.

Sherriff Cogburn, second in the Iowa Derby, Skipping Score and Fred High complete the field.

The West Virginia Derby goes to post at 5:35 ET and is part of a nine-race card made up of all stakes races.

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