Skippylongstocking, the three-year-old colt owned by Daniel Alonso, finished first at the $500,000 Grade 3 West Virginia Derby held at the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort last Saturday. The recent finish doubled the horse’s earnings bringing it to a total of $672,600.
Skippylongstocking performed exactly how trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. intended. Before Saturday’s race, Joseph expressed how the West Virginia Derby was the main target this year for the colt.
Heading into the Grade III West Virginia Derby, Skippylongstocking recent placed in the following events:
- 3rd place finish at the Grade I Belmont Stakes on June 11th, 2022
- 5th place finish at the Grade I Preakness Stakes on May 21st, 2022
- 3rd place finish at the Grade II Wood Memorial Stakes on April 9th, 2022
Skippylongstocking was ridden by Edwin Gonzalez for the first time this weekend. The winner was close behind pacesetter We the People, leading into the last turn of the 1 1/8 mile track. We the People is owned by WinStar Farm, Bobby Flay, Siena Farm, and CMNWLTH, and trained by Rodolphe Brisset. Skippylongstocking continued to push and gained a lead on We the People to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:48.11. We the People finished 4 3/4 lengths ahead of Simplification. Simplification maintained the third place position throughout the race.
“He tried hard. It was a breakthrough. To win one like that is rewarding for the horse. He’s been one of those horses that ran hard as a 2-year-old and ran hard as a 3-year-old. He hardened. When they harden, they’re able to sustain that kind of campaign,” said trainer, Saffie Joseph Jr.
“The plan was always to go back in class and find an easier spot,” said Joseph. “It wasn’t an easy spot but we were hoping it would be. We were trying to give him a chance to win a stake, which, thankfully, he has now done. Maybe, now we’ll jump back into deeper waters, maybe the Travers or the Pennsylvania Derby.”
Skippylongstocking was purchased for $37,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. 2-year-olds in training sale. The West Virginia Derby marked Alonso’s first win since becoming a Thoroughbred owner in 2015. Skippylongstocking now has a 29% win average for races in 2022. The colt has placed in 4 out of 7 starts this year. Last year, Skippylongstocking placed in 7 out of 12 starts.
“This is huge,” said owner Daniel Alonso while celebrating in the winner’s circle, “It’s our first graded-stakes win, and we’re looking forward, and we’ll see what happens. Maybe we’ll take a shot at the big boys.”
On Sunday, Skippylongstocking was shipped back to Saratoga from Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort. The 3-year-old colt is now a candidate at the Grade 1 $1.25 million Runhappy Travers Stakes scheduled later this month.
“He’s definitely a horse that’s gotten progressively better going around two turns. Junior Alvarado is a credit to the horse. We were running him at one turn and he was stopping. We didn’t know where to go with him, and he said, ‘Definitely two turns’.” Joseph said. “That was the turnaround for the horse.”
The 1 1/4 mile Travers Stakes is held at the Saratoga Race Course on August 27th, 2022, in Saratoga Springs, NY. The Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby is held at Parx Racing and Casino on September 24th, 2022.
Mac Daniel is a South Carolina-based freelance writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit www.playonlinecasinomi.com or www.playonlinesportsbetting.com