Cupid, Mo Tom top draws in West Virginia Derby

Profile Picture: James Scully

August 2nd, 2016

Last-out stakes winners Cupid and Mo Tom highlight a nine-horse field in Saturday’s $750,000 West Virginia Derby (G2). The 1 1/8-mile race drew a field of 12 and serves as the centerpiece of a nine-race, all-stakes program at Mountaineer.

Winner of the Rebel (G2) in March, Cupid underwent surgery afterward to remove an entrapped epiglottis after fading to 10th in the Arkansas Derby (G2) but failed to fire when returning with a well-beaten fifth in the Easy Goer on the Belmont Stakes undercard. The Tapit colt rebounded last time for Bob Baffert, determinedly capturing the July 16 Indiana Derby (G2) by three-quarters of a length, and the gray will retain the services of Rafael Bejarano. Cupid figures to show speed from his innermost post position.

Mo Tom opened the year with a convincing score in the Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds but little went right for the son of Uncle Mo in his next two starts, recording a troubled third in the Risen Star (G2) and a troubled fourth in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at the New Orleans track. The late-running colt proceeded to the Kentucky Derby for Tom Amoss and once again experienced traffic woes in an eighth-place effort, but Mo Tom put it all together last time, rolling to a three-length decision in the June 25 Ohio Derby. He’ll try to carry his momentum forward with new rider Joe Bravo.

Cupid was installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite and Mo Tom is listed at 5-1.

Economic Model, who rallied to win the Easy Goer going away by 1 ¼ lengths, will add blinkers for Chad Brown after finishing second as the prohibitive favorite in the July 9 Dwyer (G3). Kendrick Carmouche takes over the reins and the Flatter colt rates as the 4-1 second choice on the morning line.

Grade 3 winner and Arkansas Derby runner-up Suddenbreakingnews will attempt to get back on track following a pair of unplaced efforts in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. Luis Quinonez retakes the assignment and the confirmed closer will break from the far outside post. The Minsehaft ridgling is an early 9-2.

Second in the Risen Star and Pat Day Mile (G3), Forevamo returns to stakes competition off a good-looking allowance tally at Churchill Downs. Florent Geroux will be in to ride the Al Stall Jr. trainee. No Distortion, an easy scorer in the July 9 Long Branch, will make his first attempt versus graded foes with a two-race win streak. Adventist possesses only a maiden victory, but the Ohio Derby runner-up has placed in a total of four stakes.

Rounding out the field are Name Changer, who exits an 11-length allowance win at Parx; Pinson, second last time to Forevamo; Prairie Mile winner and Indiana Derby fourth-placer Whateverybodywants; and 50-1 outsiders Anaximandros and Van Damme.

Cupid photo courtesy of Bob Newell/