West Virginia Derby
I'm afraid I don't see many opportunities this weekend. Not that it's a poor weekend in any way. I'm just not that confident about any horse aside from Indian Blessing in the Test who will likely pay 20 cents on the dollar. I will, for the sake of filling space, try to make a little play out of this race. I think there are a couple of interesting looking horses who might be decent prices, perhaps something like 5/1. The horse I like most is My Pal Charlie. He had all the promise in the world this spring but his record looks a bit sullied. His off the board finishes in Arkansas and Texas might scare some people away but I think with the benefit of some rest and a reasonable pace scenario he is going to be a tough horse to beat. He's got great tactical speed and is capable of wiring the field but the key with him to be ridden right on the pace. In his two worst efforts he failed to get close to the pace because it was so fast. I think things will be more deliberate here. The form from the Northern Dancer has been working out pretty well and he could easily add another notch in that belt. There aren't any killers in here. Cherokee Artist is another horse I liked. He's pretty inexperienced but he has a ton of upside. He has never run a bad race and if he steps forward here he will be very tough. He is one horse I fear will simply freak out and develop to a level beyond the rest of the field. He also has good tactical speed but he shouldn't be as close to the pace as he was in his last. It was very slow that day and he prefers to stalk from a bit further back. I'm sure most people who look at this race will take a wary glance at Marble Cliff. It's hard to ignore a horse who is undefeated on the dirt. In fact no one has ever gotten near him, albeit in strictly Ohio bred races. I think he's likely a fraud but I think you might have to hedge with him. Either use him for first or not at all.
My Pal Charlie