Simplification, Skippylongstocking Top Seven Entrants In West Virginia Derby - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Simplification, Skippylongstocking Top Seven Entrants In West Virginia Derby

Simplification at Pimlico

Simplification, winner of the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes, and Skippylongstocking, third in the G1 Belmont Stakes in his last start, are among the seven 3-year-olds entered in Saturday's Grade 3, $500,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort.

The 1 1/8-mile Derby for 3-year-olds is one of seven stakes on a nine-race Saturday program that begins at the special post time of 2 p.m.

Owned by Tami Bobo and Tristan De Meric, Simplification has had a productive 3-year-old campaign dating back to Jan. 1. After the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park, he finished third in the G1 Florida Derby and a closing fourth in the G1 Kentucky Derby. In his most recent start, the Not This Time colt was sixth in the G1 Preakness Stakes and received a short rest before a series of workouts to prepare for the remainder of 2022.

Trained by Antonio Sano, who is based in Florida, Simplification has been stabled at Mountaineer since July 30 to get acclimated and the early arrival has been positive, according to Alessandro “Alex” Sano, the trainer's son and assistant who is overseeing the horse at Mountaineer.

“He got here Saturday around noon,” Alex Sano said. “He has been doing well on the track and he likes the environment—it has been in the mid-60s in the morning. He's comfortable. (Aug. 1) was his first day on the track and the exercise rider said the horse was very happy. He has always done well when he ships, and so far he is checking all the boxes.”

Simplification had a bullet work at Gulfstream a week before the journey to West Virginia. Sano said the stable is taking one race at a time but the Grade 1, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing on Sept. 24 remains a goal after the West Virginia Derby.

Simplification drew post position 2 and will be ridden by Jose Lezcano for the first time.

Daniel Alonso's Skippylongstocking, trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., has performed well in top company since arriving in New York after wintering in Florida. The Exaggerator colt finished third in the G2 Wood Memorial Stakes before a fifth-place finish in the Preakness, and then finished a solid third in the Belmont in his most recent start.

“He has been training well (since the Belmont),” Joseph said. “This race has been the main target.”

Skippylongstocking, expected to ship to Mountaineer two days before the Derby, will start from post position 7 with Edwin Gonzalez aboard.

We the People, owned by WinStar Farm, CMNWLTH and Siena Farm, ran fourth in the Belmont after leading for more than a mile in the 1 ½-mile third leg of the Triple Crown. Trained by Rodolphe Brisset, the colt by Constitution won the G3 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont by more than 10 lengths at the West Virginia Derby distance.

Trainer Brad Cox nominated five to the Mountaineer fixture and opted to enter Gary and Mary West's Home Brew, a winner of his last two starts: the Oaklawn Stakes at Oaklawn Park and the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. The Street Sense colt is four-for-six so far in his career.

Steve Asmussen, who has won five editions of the West Virginia Derby—the most of any trainer—entered Three Chimney Farm's King Ottoman, who won the Texas Derby at Lone Star Park before finishing third in the G3 Indiana Derby.

The Aug. 6 card also includes the $200,000, Grade 3 West Virginia Governor's Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. The 10-horse field is headlined by Jon Lapczenski and JIL Stable's Mr. Wireless, who won the 2021 West Virginia Derby.

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