2023 West Virginia Derby Recap

Two exciting races closed out a super racing weekend at Mountaineer Park, the 2023 West Virginia Derby and West Virginia Governor’s.

The West Virginia Derby was the race of the day, and it was Red Route One who showed that he had stamina to burn as he came from way off the pace to land yet another big race for legendary trainer Steve Asmussen.

In the West Virginia Governor’s, Duke of Love pulled off the stunning upset when edging out Surly Furious in a tremendous battle.

West Virginia Derby

Grade 3, 1 mile and an eighth, dirt, open to three-year-old horses. Total prize pool: $500,000

  1. Red Route One +350
  2. West Coast Cowboy +1000
  3. One in Vermillion +400

Winning time: 1:49.49

Red Route One emerged from the clouds to clinch the 2023 West Virginia Derby in stunning fashion. A slow and cumbersome start saw him trail the early leader One in Vermillion by twelve lengths.

With One in Vermillion setting a blistering early pace, Red Route One’s chances looked dead and buried. However, with stamina clearly in abundance, Red Route One started picking off horses and closed the gap up to those at the front.

West Virginia Derby Race Video

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Red Route One wins the 2023 West Virginia Derby

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Rounding the home turn just a couple of lengths behind the front pair of West Coast Cowboy and One in Vermillion, it was clear that he had all the momentum. With the front pair starting to flag, Red Route One was able to keep up the relentless pace and swooped to the front with just a furlong left to run.

With nothing threatening from the back of the pack, Red Route One was able to hold on and win by three widening lengths.

2023 West Virginia Derby Race Payouts

PositionHorseWinPlaceShow
1Red Route One$9.80$6.40$4.00
2West Coast Cowboys $8.40$4.60
3One in Vermillion  $3.20

West Virginia Governor’s

Grade 3, 1 mile and a sixteenth, dirt, open to horses aged three and over. Total prize pool: $200,000

  1. Duke of Love +1200
  2. Surly Furious +600
  3. O’Connor +300

Winning time: 1:42.39

Duke of Love defied his large odds to emerge victorious in this year’s West Virginia Governor’s.

Immediately sent to the front, this would be his first win in his last four starts, but none of his previous wins would have been as dramatic.

Taking the lead up the back straight, he was joined by another outsider, Surly Furious, with the two going at it hammer and tongs until the finish line.

With the duo setting a frenetic pace, it was clear that this race would be a match as none of the rest of the field had the legs to keep up.

West Virginia Governor’s Race Video

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Duke of Love takes the 2023 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes

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Despite all his early exerts, it was Duke of Love who was able to maintain his slim advantage – however at the furlong pole Surly Furious came back for more and looked to be coming out on top.

Unable to break clear from his rival, Duke of Love fought back once again and with just 100 meters left to run edged back to the front. Keen to not let this lead slip again, he dug deep and powered to the line to win the biggest race of his career by a length.

Surly Furious had to settle for second, with O’Connor finishing the best of the rest in third.

2023 West Virginia Governor’s Race Payouts

PositionHorseWinPlaceShow
1Duke of Love$19.00$8.60$4.60
2Surly Furious $9.80$5.60
3O’Connor  $2.60

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